Polishing Tan Leather Shoes

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by scooter11, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. scooter11

    scooter11 New Member

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    I finally decided to join the forum and this is my first post and after realizing how depressing my current shoe situation was, I went out just bought a couple pairs of Allen Edmonds, one of which was the Finch in tan/leather. I was sort of surprised at the color when they arrived.

    This is the shoe that I ordered off the AE site, I was expecting a brown, burnished look all the way through:


    [​IMG]



    The shoes I received looked more like this, which is off zappos (I honestly thought this was a different shoe when first looking):

    [​IMG]

    I called AE and they said I could exchange it for a different pair with the possibility that the color may be different, but I am assuming it will just be similar so I won't bother. They did tell me to try a little bit of chili colored polish on it in a discrete location and see how it dried, and I did that with a lighter shade and it definitely changed the color of the leather for that little spot.

    So my question is, if I use a walnut color polish (the lightest AE brown, but still alters the color of the leather) on the whole front half of the shoe, will the polish come out looking spotty or otherwise crappy? Is this permanent or can it be removed? I just don't want to ruin the shoe.

    It is a very nice tan color, just not what I am looking for in one of only 3 pairs of good shoes I have. I really like the look of the shoe and I did wear it very briefly outside so the soles aren't flawless anymore - so I am not sure I could get a refund.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2012
  2. Jackie Treehorn

    Jackie Treehorn Senior member

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    First lesson: never cut the tags on a garment, wear a new pair of shoes outside and scuff the soles, etc., until you're 100% certain you intend to keep the item in question. This can be a very expensive lesson, often learned the hard way, but it's a critical one.

    Second, no, darker polish or cream will not permanently ruin your shoes. That said, it will look somewhat "spotty," as you are unlikely to achieve a perfectly even application across the entire surface area of the leather. If done correctly, this can create an antiquing effect, which a lot of people find desirable. If done incorrectly, it can look...sloppy. Either way, it's removable with enough effort and the right products.
     
  3. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    Welcome Scooter.

    Almost anything you do with wax polishes can be removed so not to worry too much about damage.

    That being said, there is one thing you should NOT do. And that is to put down a coat of dark wax first off. The leather will tend to absorb some of the first coats of wax and if this happen unevenly you can get blotches that will be hard to deal with.

    Start with a coat of something only slighty darker than the shoes. (Chili or Walnut seems fine). Then go to something darker later. After you have put down three or four coats of wax you could probably do a coat of plain old brown without any permanent effect.

    Apply the wax with the tip of you finger wrapped in a soft cotton cloth and rub in lightly but thoroughly to ensure your apply thin but even coats.

    If they were mine I'd just keep them light for a while. It's summer and light shoes are in season. You might find that they grow on you.
     
  4. scooter11

    scooter11 New Member

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    Thank you for the extremely fast response Jackie/Gdot. Taking your advice, I will just use a light polish for now and keep the color the same for the summer and see how they grow on me, then when late fall/winter rolls around if I still want to darken them I can, knowing that it won't cause any irreparable damage.
     
  5. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

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    Welcome to Styleforum scooter11.
    With my AE Walnut finishes I never use polish at all. I apply leather lotion about once every 2-3 months, let completely dry 1-2 hours, brush, then buff with a flannel rag. Personally I enjoy the Burniished Walnut so much that I wish to preserve the original finish without cluttering it up with polishes. A good brushing (with a horehair brush that is assigned only for unpolished shoes) and buffing is all that is needed. Congratulations on your purchase and may you enjoy them in good health.
     
  6. phxlawstudent

    phxlawstudent Senior member

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    Nothing bad will ever happen if you use too light of a color to polish your shoes. It may not cover up any scuffs, but it won't change the color.

    I think.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2012
  7. Stirling

    Stirling Senior member

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    That's the way to do it.
     
  8. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    not sure if serious?
     
  9. missilemonger

    missilemonger New Member

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    And now for something slightly different. I just purchased a pair of tan Mephisto loafers. In the past my light tan shoes tend to darken once I polish them, even when I use a polish that matchs the original color. Any suggestions for getting a nice shine while preserving the light tan color? Thanks
     

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