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Shoe Project; Help Me Decide What to Do!

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Jamesbeat, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. Jamesbeat

    Jamesbeat Member

    Likes Received:
    Nov 10, 2012
    I went thrifting today.

    I got a couple of nice tweed sport coats and a pair of shoes. A bizarre thing happened with the shoes... I had taken them to the counter and was about to pay for them, when for some reason known only to her, the lady ringing me up decided to touch up a small scuff on the toe cap.

    As I looked on with growing bafflement and horror, she took a brown sharpie and colored in the scuff (the color didn't match whatsoever). The brown sharpie was evidently there for this specific reason, because it was in a box with a black sharpie and a bottle each of brown and black shoe shine... and a bottle of what turned out to be acetone!

    Before I could say anything, she dipped a cotton swab in the acetone and wiped over the area where she had applied the sharpie, presumably to blend it in or something. The result was clearly not what she was expecting, because I saw her eyes widen in horror, and she tried to turn the shoe towards her so that I couldn't see what was going on.
    She then got the liquid shoe shine stuff and tried to cover her mistake with predictably poor results.

    To cut a long story short, she basically removed a huge patch of the oxblood-type color from the toecap, and then sheepishly apologized and told me that she had ruined them.

    I figured that if the color came off that easily with acetone, I could finish the job and then refinish the shoes. I'd been wanting a project of this type, so after negotiating a price reduction, I walked out of the store with my new project shoes for the princely sum of $3.50 :D

    I decided that it would be sensible to try the least harsh solvent first, so I tried 99% isopropyl alcohol first.
    The alcohol evenly removed the top layer of color, but did not remove the underlying layer (I could tell this because the patch on the toecap was still a different color than the rest of the shoe).

    I then tried pure acetone, which removed the second layer, revealing the natural surface of the leather, and finally bringing the whole shoe to the same color as the patch on the toecap.
    Unfortunately, I ran out of acetone before I had completely finished the one shoe, so it still needs work, and the other shoe is untouched.

    What would you do with these shoes?




    Judging by the way acetone now soaks easily into the leather, I think that these shoes would accept dye really well.

    I'm thinking that my options are:
    1. Leave the shoes this natural color and just treat the leather to protect it.

    2. Dye the shoes dark brown, similar to their original color.

    3. Make them into dark brown and tan spectators.

    Option 1. is probably my least favorite, as I don't really have much cause to wear such light brown shoes, and I don't have many clothes that would go with them.

    Option 2. is the most sensible. I don't actually have any brown shoes, which is why I was buying them in the first place.

    Option 3. is the coolest :) I probably don't have anything to wear with brown and tan spectators, but I REALLY like spectators.
    I moved to the States from the UK three years ago, and sold pretty much everything I owned. Unfortunately, this included both of my pairs of spectators, black & white and brown & cream wingtips.
    I still kick myself when I think about them :(

    So what do you think? Do brown and tan spectators even look any good?
    Do I need to own brown shoes more than I want to own spectators?
    Should I leave them tan and broaden my horizons?
    Are there more options that I haven't thought of?

    These shoes are pretty much a blank canvas.
    What would you do with them and why?
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012

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