How to make dark brown leather shoes lighter?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Sixers_610, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. Sixers_610

    Sixers_610 Senior member

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    Hi everyone,

    I have a pair of brown Santoni Elliston oxfords that I really love. I do wish they were a lighter brown, how do I go about that? Do I just start using a mid brown shoe polish? Any other ideas?

    Thanks!
     


  2. MalfordOfLondon

    MalfordOfLondon Senior member

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    Impossible.
     


  3. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    Malford is right - nothing you can do will lighten them.

    I do find that the following can add a wee bit of extra vibrancy to very dark brown shoes:

    1 coat of red CREME polish - put on heavily - let dry - do not buff.

    1 light coat of neutral wax (I like Saphir for this because it is really clear) apply with light pressure so you don't disrupt the creme underneath - let dry - buff lightly

    1 coat of tan CREME polish - put on heavily - let dry - do not buff

    1 light coat of neutral wax as above.

    The alternating coats of pigment in the creme polish separated by the clear wax add a dimensional sheen which doesn't actually lighten the shoe much but adds vibrancy.

    As this is quite a few coats of polish you want to maintain it by only occasionally adding a coat of neutral wax or conditioner.
     


  4. braised

    braised Senior member

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    Leave them by a window to get exposure to light. Over the course of a year or so they will lighten a touch. You won't go from dark oak to a mid brown, but they will get a little more life.

    The alternative is to strip them all the way down with acetone or stronger.
     


  5. well-kept

    well-kept Senior member

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    Direct sunlight will lighten anything.

    I don't think you'll need to wait a year to see results. You will need to turn the shoes so that exposure is relatively even. It's a safer method than acetone or bleach. Be sure to condition periodically.
     


  6. Sixers_610

    Sixers_610 Senior member

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    I will try the natural light thing. Thanks!
     


  7. Sixers_610

    Sixers_610 Senior member

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    what kind of conditioner should I be using? one with a specific color? or neutral?
     


  8. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    Conditioners generally have no color - that is their point.

    Folks around here love Saphir Renovatuer for their fine shoes (and I like it too). But you can also do fine with a tiny dab of mink oil (about the size of a dime should be enough to do the whole shoe).
     


  9. MalfordOfLondon

    MalfordOfLondon Senior member

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    I purchased a pair of EGs from eBay a while back - one was obviously a display shoe as it was a good deal lighter than the other. I thought it would be an easy fix so left one shoe right by the window in the lean-to by the garden. 9 months later - it's still too dark. :(
     


  10. Northampton Novice

    Northampton Novice Senior member

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    Darker shoes cannot really be lightened in colour through polishes & creams. You can certainly, as Gdot says, enhance their vibrancy. Over time using red creams and polishes will give them a mahogany patina.
     


  11. nmprisons

    nmprisons Senior member

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    you would have to strip the finish and redye the leather. it can be done (and some forum members will even do it for you at a reasonable cost)
     


  12. MalfordOfLondon

    MalfordOfLondon Senior member

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    You can strip a dark colour from leather and redye it lighter? Surely not. The finish maybe but not the colour surely. Someone correct me if I'm wrong of course.
     


  13. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    Malford,

    The dyes can be bleached out of the leather in many cases. But I'm not going to go so far as to recommend it, as I'm not confident in the results or as to how much damage might be done to the leather.

    But, believe it or not, here's a link to a thread in which a guy bleached a BRAND NEW PAIR OF LOBBS!

    http://www.styleforum.net/t/28204/changing-the-color-of-black-leather-shoes/20_20

    I'd certainly never screw around with a great pair of shoes like this - but whatever.

    -G.

    PS - will be interested in details about the Corthay show if you happen to go.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011


  14. Alex James

    Alex James New Member

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    Methylated spirit on a cloth works great. 1-2 shades down each time.
    Maybe normal spirit works too. Maybe even vodka, haven't tried yet.

    The only thing - result is not even. Darker on stitches, corners, lighter on flat parts.
    But I liked it.

    Cheers.
    Alex.
     


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