Shoe care: timing and best products?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by shuuy, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. shuuy

    shuuy Member

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    I've spent 20 minutes looking at all the shoe care forums, and since I'm a dumb ivy league MBA'er, I need things spelled out for me (frequency, purpose, and products). Appreciate your help telling me where I'm good, or where I'm not. In return for your dragon wisdom, I'll update this top post to make this thread relevant.

    Mandatory steps

    Shoe Trees
    - After every use
    - Keeps insides of shoes dry, which prolongs the life.
    - Shoe trees are pretty standard, so no real "best" product?


    Cleaning and conditioning
    - Weekly
    - Takes off all the rain/dirt/grime / prevents the leather from cracking by "re-oiling" the leather
    - Lexol is best
    - Apply with a cotton rag (i.e., old t-shirt), let sit in, and wipe dry

    Question: Is cleaning and conditioning two separate steps?

    Polishing
    - Weekly
    - After leather is cleaned and conditioned, makes it shiny.
    - Comes in either a paste or a cream. Cream-fans like how it gets "into" the leather
    - Kiwi has a generally negative reputation, and Meltonian is generally favorable.
    - Use a horsehair brush to rub into the shoe (either paste or cream), then use a big brush to rub-off any excess, then a cotton cloth to shine

    Optional steps
    Waterproofing
    - After polishing
    - After you've polished, you want to protect your precious from the elements
    - If it's a spray can, then spray and wipe, otherwise use snoseal (wax). Some people like melting it, others use friction to warm)

    Dying
    - Very infrequently
    - You want black to really be black, or you don't like the brown
    - After cleaning, apply dye and follow instructions
    - ??

    Other key points
    - Saddle soap tends to wreck delicate shoes


    Recommended first purchase
    - Shoe Trees
    - Lexol Leather Conditioner
    - Shoe Shine Kit w Melotonian Creams
    Question: Am I missing anything else?
     
  2. sho'nuff

    sho'nuff grrrrrrrr!!

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    if youre a shoe perfectionist (and purist) this is a great list you made up, and i do not want to stray you away from doing what you want above, but from my years of experience with all sorts of shoes, i say all the things above and what sf mentions to take care of them are overly rated and highly redundant.

    get a pair of shoe trees for your shoes. if you dont have any, a roll of fresh newspaper is fine.

    wax and polish when you first receive them.

    upon wearing shoes or touchups, just have a leather lotion /conditioner and buff that in for spot treatments. (you dont constantly have to add another layer of wax and polish again and again. the initial treatment will still be there, you just have to clean /smooth it out with a conditioner)

    after a year or two, you will get enough wear on the wax that you'll have to wax and polish again.

    some poeple , like i do, love to have a mirror toe. that requires some extra steps but will hold off on discussing that here.
     
  3. ohm

    ohm Senior member

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    Shoe trees do not help keep your shoes dry, their purpose is to maintain the shoe's shape. Newspaper or nothing do a better job than trees of helping keep your shoes dry (particularly if you have sealed or plastic trees). I like cedar for shoe trees, but only because of the smell.

    I don't think you need to polish and condition shoes that often. Although I like polishing new shoes frequently.

    Polish should provide some water proofing for your shoes. Waterproofing is generally bad for your shoes. Polishing is a wax or a paste, conditioning is a cream or a paste (paste is just 1/2 and 1/2).

    For first purchases I'd buy trees and lexol and then just take my shoes to get shined.
     
  4. Aluan

    Aluan Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't waterproof calfskin. Maybe suede, but wearing suede in the rain is a bad idea anyway.

    Saphir polish is excellent; I've started using that instead of Meltonian.

    Also, you don't necessarily have to polish weekly; it depends on how often you wear them.
     
  5. bmulford

    bmulford Senior member

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    Search for Creme Alpina, and Saphir creme and wax.
     
  6. ThinkDerm

    ThinkDerm Senior member

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    I have saphir renovateur, creme nubiana (alpina) and lexol. I'd say the creme nubiana is the best for shine and for restoring the leather, then saphir, then lexol. I've found lexol to actually be quite harsh on the shoes.
     
  7. lee_44106

    lee_44106 Senior member

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    shoe tree: always, but sometimes I forget.

    Polish/cream: right out of box, then when I feel like it (usually a few months and about 5-10 wears later)


    I'm not as meticulous about shoes anymore. Once they are worn for the first time and get some crease/scuff/marks, they are just shoes.
     
  8. ThinkDerm

    ThinkDerm Senior member

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    shoe tree: always, but sometimes I forget.

    Polish/cream: right out of box, then when I feel like it (usually a few months and about 5-10 wears later)


    I'm not as meticulous about shoes anymore. Once they are worn for the first time and get some crease/scuff/marks, they are just shoes.


    yeah, everytime they get a little crease or whatever, they are less fun ;-)
     
  9. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    My advice is stay away from SnoSeal...it is petrochemical based (mineral oil)--not good for the leather.

    I second the advice on calf...especially for dress shoes whether they be calf or something else...a good wax based polish should be sufficient to protect them from the elements. If not, you should be wearing galoshes or staying inside.
     
  10. MisterGee

    MisterGee Senior member

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    Nice exposition. Can someone provide a link to where to purchase a nice shoe care kit or just where to buy the above products? Thanks.
     
  11. constant struggle

    constant struggle Senior member

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    Question: Does shoe cream adequate substitute for lexol in terms of moisturizing?

    Question #2: Do you use normal shoe polish/shoe cream on pebble grain leather?
     
  12. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Question: Does shoe cream adequate substitute for lexol in terms of moisturizing?
    No, Lexol is a pure conditioner consisting of homogenized fat liquors and oils. Shoe cream is wax in some form of carrier, perhaps some conditioners but not nearly as concentrated as Lexol.
    Unless you're spit shining the toes I would not recommend any form of solid shoe polish for good shoes. Shoe polish has benzine in it. It is there to cool the wax quickly and make it hard so that it can be buffed. It will also draw the moisturizers out of the leather. I use shoe cream on my shoes everywhere but where i want to spit shine...and that is never any further back than the stiff part of the shoe.
     
  13. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

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    Shoe trees do not help keep your shoes dry, their purpose is to maintain the shoe's shape.
    ohm, it depends on the shoe tree. To clarify, wood will 100% naturally absorb moisture, unless it is lacquered or treated otherwise by the manufacturer. Shoe trees made of wood most certainly do absorb moisture from the shoes as well as maintain shape. New shoe trees made of Cedar (or other woods) must be sanded when new as they have a coating on them from the manufacturer. Take some 200grit sandpaper, sand the trees, wipe with a cloth and they are ready to go. Once a year you may lightly sand them again. This will freshen the surface of the trees so they once again offer their aromatic scent. Shoe trees that do not absorb moisture are: -those that are lacquered. -ones made of plastic These non-absorbant trees are used to help preserve the shape of the shoes or at least minimize wrinkling or buckleing. The last resort is, (as sho-nuff stated) newspaper if no trees are available (ex: when travelling) To the OP, you have typed a great list which shows you did your homework. Well done.
     
  14. Francisco

    Francisco Senior member

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    How about any name of product u guys think is the best?
     
  15. Liquidus

    Liquidus Senior member

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