Matching Shoe Polish To Shoe Color?...

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by BaseballDad, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. BaseballDad

    BaseballDad Active Member

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    How do you go about getting the best color match between your shoe's original color and polish or wax?

    Many online sellers sell shoes, i.e. C & J in their "unique" colors...chestnut, but do not offer the corresponding chestnut polish.
    Some manufacturers do not even make color-matched polish/wax.

    SF recommended shoe supply sites offer dozens of shades of polish but it is difficult to know if the color will match from the photo on the site and a very big consideration...until after it's applied and buffed.

    Local shoe repair shops may have polish but in limited brands, types and shades.

    Also, some non-colored shoe conditioners may darken certain shoes after they are applied.

    How do members try to keep the original shoe color when the application of shoe conditioner, colored polish/wax is needed?

    Thanks-Chris
     
  2. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I use a cream that is a similar color or usually a bit darker. On dark brown or even medium brown neutral can sometimes leave a whitish film. The similar tint cream doesn't have this problem.
     
  3. BaseballDad

    BaseballDad Active Member

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    If the shade of brown is common, then finding a polish to match is easier.
    However, you still run the risk of darkening a shade that you really like as is.

    There is a risk that the chosen colored polish will change the original color too much, necessitating removal and the risk of not being able to go back to the original color.

    And many shoe makers---EG, C&J, JL, etc. have unique shades of brown and burgundy.

    How do you find as close as possible a matched colored polish if you cannot get the specific shoe brand colored polish?
     
  4. CommenceFailure

    CommenceFailure Well-Known Member

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    You have to use your eyeballs. If the brown polish is darker than your shoes, they will get a little bit darker. I used one light layer of black polish on my brown brogues to darken them up a little bit.
     
  5. ns7

    ns7 Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of darkening. Has anyone countered this by using a lighter polish or do you have to strip the polish/color with acetone?
     
  6. radicaldog

    radicaldog Senior member

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  7. SnarlPatrick

    SnarlPatrick Senior member

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    I generally use a colorless cream polish. But then, I don't mind a slightly weathered look on most of my shoes.

    If you were desperate, and morally flexible, you could order many different colors from a store with a loose return policy, and send back the ones that didn't match.
     
  8. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

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    With respect, I don't recommend neutral. As stated above, it tends to leave a whitish film,
    especially in the areas where wrinkling occurs. Shoes build character with wear so not to worry.
    Learn to embrace the inevitable blemishes. There isn't one 'cure-all' for polishing brown shoes.
    What I do here, is to wipe my shoes after a days wearing, get shoe trees in them, then give them a good brushing.
    Once every month (or as needed) I'll apply sparingly, some leather conditioner, let dry, brush, then buff with a soft cotton rag.
    One thing I also do if I really must apply polish, is to go a shade lighter or darker,
    and mix some leather lotion into the jar of polish with my finger,
    creating a very watered-down polish well in the middle of the jar.
    Then I apply sparingly with a finger.
    The lotion in the polish gives you more time to work before the polish dries.
    I then let dry 1 hour, brush & buff.
    I have found this maintains the original finish beautifully without darkening it.
    For corrected grain, I thinly apply, again, with a finger, some light brown wax polish.
    Let dry 20 minutes, then brush, then buff. Any minor abrasions to the leather almost completely disappear.
    For shoes with odd colour finishes I apply only lotion, dry, brush & buff.
    Canali is one such company that offers shoe colours that are almost impossible to match in polish.
    Scratches, dings and abrasions, over time will contribute to the 'patina' on the leather.
    These are to be considered beauty marks, and not worried over.
     
  9. JamesX

    JamesX Senior member

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    I usually use a lighter shade unless I want to change the color. Neutral doesn't enrich the color like colored cream does.

    If you really want matching colors just ask for the matching cream when you buy the shoes. Like it is Clarenitte (or something like that) for Museum Plum Leather.
     
  10. winterwinter

    winterwinter Member

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    Just go neutral.

    neutral might be the way to go.
     
  11. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Consider that shoes wear over time and age. So, a certain darkening of leather is expected. Just accept it and enjoy your shoes and don't freak out that they might darken a hair due to a slight variation in the color of your cream polish. You shoes will look better because they are polished regularly.
     
  12. ns7

    ns7 Well-Known Member

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    I usually use a lighter shade unless I want to change the color. Neutral doesn't enrich the color like colored cream does.

    If you really want matching colors just ask for the matching cream when you buy the shoes. Like it is Clarenitte (or something like that) for Museum Plum Leather.


    I'm going to try a lighter shade to see if it will lighten the color. It's a pair of shoes I don't care about as much so at minimum I'll get some learning out of it.
     
  13. Newcomer

    Newcomer Senior member

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    For what it is worth, I often use Saphir's neutral polish, and I have never had the whitish residue. Just apply the polish sparingly. Also, don't worry too much about being off-color. Different color polish adds a bit of character to the shoe, and assists in the creation of a unique patina.
     
  14. GBer

    GBer Senior member

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    Neutral is your safest bet. However depending on your polish and leather grain/ texture/ porosity, it can darken it a bit. You can test on a small unobvious spot to see.
     
  15. andygoneawol

    andygoneawol Member

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    I am adding my vote for neutral. I have been using neutral exclusively on a ten-year-old pair of EGs which started out chestnut antique and have darkened by several shades while maintaining the original hue and developing a patina which has received favourable comments. I have adopted the same policy for more recent acquisitions both lighter and darker.

    It is true that a white residue may appear, but this can be removed with a quick buffing after the first post-polishing perambulation.

    In my experience shoes polished with coloured wax quickly tend towards the colour of the polish used. I don't want all my shoes to be the same Kiwi tan.
     

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