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BColl_Has_Too_Many_Shoes

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I've used Lexol for many years and I have never experienced any residue. The Bick4 does leave a slight wax residue esp. if it is overused. But any neutral shoe cream will do the same. Of all the conditioners out there Bick4 comes the closest to living up to its claims that it will not darken leather.

Not to take anything away from VSC but from what I've been told (and from what I recall reading on the label) it has turpentine (?) in it.

My go-to rule of thumb with this kind of thing is that if you wouldn't put it on your own skin, you shouldn't put it on shoes that you care about.
That's why there are options out there with regards to conditioners. Every one has different results. Never had any residue from the Bick, but, as mentioned, did from the Lexol.

I do like the Saphir stuff, yet not sure (other than a pleasant smell) if it is any more effective than the Bick (which is considerably cheaper).

Never used the VSC on a consistent basis, but I do know some swear by it, including my pops.

Ultimately, whatever works on your shoes and for your shoe care regime is what people will be proponents of. As with all things YMMV.
 
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patrickBOOTH

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I tend to stay away from conditioners with wax in them. Wax attracts a lot of dust and debris. Sticks right to it. You need something that penetrates and can be wiped clean on the vamp.
 

BColl_Has_Too_Many_Shoes

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I tend to stay away from conditioners with wax in them. Wax attracts a lot of dust and debris. Sticks right to it. You need something that penetrates and can be wiped clean on the vamp.
You aren't kidding about the wax being a dust magnet. After a few days, my shiny toe caps look like lint brushes.
 

willyto

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I used to buy vintage deadstock shoes and also used leather jackets(1920s, 1930s, 1940s,etc) and I've tried a few methods myself including:

- Bick 4 /Cadillac Shoe conditioner (They're produced by the same company): By far the easiest to apply and more convenient, specially inside the shoe with your hands, I just pour into my hand and massage the inside of the shoes. Doesn't darken leather and you can notice the results. Leather can go from dry and stiff to flexible and nice to the touch. If you overuse it you'll have to remove a waxy residue by buffing with cloth for a while.

- Connolly Hide Care: Very thick paste that is not easy to apply, only to be used in the uppers because it needs to be wiped out and brushed thoroughly to remove the excess which can't be done inside the shoe. It's recommended for luxury cars I believe. It does work miracles and I've used it to bring back to life so very old and brittle shoes or leather jackets. bought it after a recommendation from Lee Morrison(https://www.instagram.com/bespokeaddict/ ) who collects a huge amount of vintage bespoke shoes and restores them doing wild things to them. Not the most convenient product because of the difficult application and if you don't buff off the excess it can be quite greasy/waxy, better not to overuse it because of the difficulty to buff off excess.

- Lexol Deep conditioner: It's easy to apply and very liquid but I've found that it leaves a coat which feels a bit sticky or waxy and you have to buff it off thoroughly. It may have to do with overuse of the product or because you have to wipe off excess after a few minutes when I usually leave the products for a while and then come back to buff. It does work pretty well and I've used it on old leather jackets with success. It's convenient but I prefer Bick4 over it because I prefer the texture and it feels like works better on all the leather shoes I have.

- Saphir Creme Universelle: I have a bottle of 500ml of it but haven't used it yet because I still have an opened Cadillac conditioner. It feels liquid and very easy to apply, a lot cheaper than the MDO Renovateur so I don't see the point in buying the expensive stuff 🤷‍♂️

- Mixture of Glycerine and water : I learned about it from Vcleat blog(https://vcleat.com/glycerin-leather-conditioning/) which apparently came from Japanese enthusiast that restore vintage shoes. I've used it a few times on very old shoes that were very dry and it worked magic. They went from brittle, crisp, stiff and dry leather to flexible, wearable leather that just needed a quick polish to look great again, I've mantained those shoes with bick 4 and shoe polish after that with no trouble at all but I don't know if it has long term harming effects on leather. I would never use such a treatment for new made shoes because it's overkill. It can darken light leather or leave uneven finish if the mixture is not well shaken and some areas are not well soaked so something to consider.

- Saphir MDO Renovator for suede: I use it on my suede/nubuck shoes that are old or the new ones that I've had to shampoo when I've been in heavy rain and the waterproof spray has worn off and they're just too dirty. The leather does look better and it feels conditioned to say something, specially in the old pairs of nubuck I have which are crickett boots and plain toe oxfords that have been abused. The nubuck after brushing using the spray and brushing again feels a lot better to the hands and it gains some vibrance in the colour.

- Elephant Leather Preserver: It doesn't have any elephant in it. It's a greasy paste that works well on jackets but I've never used it on shoes. It is not so easy to apply, similar to the Connolly hide Care texture but less waxy. You have to wipe off and buff off the excess because otherwise you're left with a waxy/greasy layer residue.

I am not an expert and I am guilty of owning a few too many products but I feel that when I've used it on dry leather it does work while using it on new shoes seems a bit pointless.



I just like to experiment and try stuff and yes, conditioning leather has worked for me on certain shoes /jackets but it's not a magic trick that you do once and lasts forever. I've learned that my old leather needs to be conditioned from time to time because it goes drier quickly compared to any new shoe that I wear, I imagine that the leather has lost it's properties along the way.

Also it's worth mentioning something important, conditioning doesn't guarantee that leather products will last forever. It doesn't matter how well you condition or treat the leather, in old shoes/jackets eventually the seams will rot, rip or fall apart, the outsoles and heels will dry (because there's no way to condition some areas of the shoes) and the layers will separate (You see this a lot on some heels), the liners will separate from the stitching areas,etc.

Long story short, in my opinion unless you're working with very old leathe, the leather is in fact very dry and stiff regardless of the age or has been mistreated and left without care I don't think it's really necessary to condition your shoes with specific products other than with good shoe cream but it won't hurt to use Bick4 from time to time either. Brush your shoes every time you put them on and off and use shoe polish and wax if you like a shiny finish from time to time. There's no more to it, we really overcomplicate things.
 

ntempleman

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I believe Ilcea had a change of ownership and no longer produce museum calf or don’t do it the same way or something. I e never used any of their leather before or after in any case. All the museum calf I’ve ever used has been, I’m fairly certain, from Zonta who make it to my merchant’s spec. It’s been very nice to work with in my experience
 

j ingevaldsson

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^^^ Ilcea is owned by Vecchia Toscana since they went bankrupt a few years ago, and still believe basically all Ilcea products are produced in the Vecchia Toscana tannery, not old Ilcea, so only recipes that’s been brought over. Not the same as back in the days, even thinner and while quality can be fine it’s overall level has declined.

Good hides from Zonta are excellent, can be a bit hard to come over though, they send out a lot of so so stuff.

Best overall quality today for museum I would say Haas has, it’s consistently good, but it’s less mottled than Zonta and Ilcea, not as special character.

Bonaudo has less mottling and not the best quality, if I remember correctly, so they sort of would be last choice.
 

tidus89

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I am unsatisfied with my recently bought Shell Cordovan watch strap. The shine is quite dull and the color uneven. The surface of the leather feels a bit dry and not as smooth as I would expect. However, this is my first Shell Cordovan ever, so I have no previous experience to draw from.

Is this simply sub par quality leather or is my leather conditioning method flawed? I cared for it with Boot Black Two Face Plus Lotion and BB Creme Delicate.

EDIT: Provided some better pictures.

DA86A1F8-21DB-470B-BC40-CC6870101F5C.jpeg9F42244F-B4EF-408F-917B-DA7E11113C0A.jpeg46ED75F0-3B16-4433-8415-3820699B165A.jpeg2C1D2FBA-7E15-4414-B5CA-FA2D70F3522F.jpegDA07D90F-7761-439D-AE45-6B1D0196C427.jpeg
 
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tidus89

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Dull shine, uneven colour and a surface that isn’t smooth is the fundamental description of cordovan.
Ok then, maybe it's just not for me.

The conditioners I used don't have color nor waxes, so they do not stain.
 

tidus89

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Still, I never noticed stains. But that's just how I learned to care for small leather goods and maybe my whole process is flawed? I thought it best practice. And it is recommended by brands like Equus Leather.
However, you are certainly giving me doubts about my practice, considering that a professional leather worker like yourself is questioning it.
 

DWFII

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Still, I never noticed stains. But that's just how I learned to care for small leather goods and maybe my whole process is flawed? I thought it best practice. And it is recommended by brands like Equus Leather.
However, you are certainly giving me doubts about my practice, considering that a professional leather worker like yourself is questioning it.
The practice is fine. It's the location. Leather may need a conditioner. But your shirt cuffs don't. The oil remains resident in or on the leather and the fabric will tend to pick it up.

What's more the oil in/on the leather will tend to attract dust and other 'dirt' (that's why we wash our necks and behind our ears every night) and that too will get transferred to the fabric.And just like on your shirt collar, after a while that dirt becomes resident in the fabric and near-as-nevermind impossible to remove entirely.
 

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