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**The Official Shoe Care Thread: Tutorials, Photos, etc.**

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Mr. Moo, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    Fulller's Earth. Rub in gently, let sit overnight. Repeat until stain disappears.

    Worked for me with olive oil on white bucks.

    Do a google search, it's not too hard to find.
     
  2. captainfalcon

    captainfalcon Senior member

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    Is kiwi leather lotion any good?

    I was think of applying a coat of that before polishing a pair of shoes.
     
  3. GentlemanJohnny

    GentlemanJohnny Well-Known Member

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    Hey everybody,

    Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread with pictures and helpful tidbits of information.

    I recently went on a little Christmas-inspired and Poker-fueled boot shopping spree to get ready for the Bavarian winter and purchased the following boots:
    Wolverine 744LTD (on the way)
    Wolverine Krause (on the way)
    Some inexpensive boots I found on eBay (on the way)
    and a pair of Red Wings boots I found on etsy (arrived a few days ago)

    The Red Wings boots were in pretty good condition for a vintage piece, however, it will also serve as my test bed for applying some of the techniques and instructions strewn about throughout this thread. I never really polished shoes because the military got rid of the black boots in exchange for tan rough-out leather boots and the old school black low quarters have been replaced with patent-leather equivalents. I figure these boots - while still in great shape - will be my work/rain boots and will help me get my polishing/maintenance routine perfected for when my Wolverine boots arrive.

    Here are some before pics:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Does anybody know what style of Red Wings boots these are and what kind of leather it is? I don't have much experience with CXL or Cordovan yet...

    Some after pics:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    The products I used (locally purchased since I didn't want to wait for international shipping)...Anyone here have experience with Solitaire?
    [​IMG]
    A realllllly old pair of shoes that have been my favorites for years...I know they won't appeal to many others but for some reason I love these shoes. Unfortunately, I got them when I was very young and knew nothing about shoes let alone proper maintenance. They were very old and rough looking and the genuine snake scales are starting to peel from abuse. I know a lot of places advertize specific products for use on exotic skins but I went ahead and used the leather lotion all over the shoe and used some of the spezialpflege for the smooth calfskin parts.

    Also, I remember really hating shining my low quarters for inspections but, as some people here have mentioned, there's something calming and almost zen-like about polishing...I spent a few hours the first night and an hour last night working on the boots after working out and it is extremely gratifying to see something improve due to your own handiwork and effort.

    Just thought I'd share since so many of your posts helped me. Maybe this will help someone else. Also, if anyone knows more about this style of Red Wings boots or has any experience with Solitaire products I'm all ears.

    Thanks

    ~Gentleman Johnny

    Edit: In natural light:
    [​IMG]
    I realize the toe boxes are scuffed and damaged but compared to what they looked like out of the box I think I did a decent job.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  4. Louis XIV

    Louis XIV Senior member

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    Gute Arbeit an den Red Wings, hast ihnen auf jeden Fall eine Menge neues Leben eingehaucht.
     
  5. GentlemanJohnny

    GentlemanJohnny Well-Known Member

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    Vielen Dank!
     
  6. ircfas133

    ircfas133 Senior member

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    For cleaning chamois leather shoe, which of the following methods should I use?

    1. Brush the shoe with horse hair brush using baby power cornstarch
    2. Rub the shoe with Obenauf's Leather Oil using horse hair brush
    3. Rub the shoe with Leather Honey Leather Conditioner using horse hair brush

    Which is correct? Could I use a combination of these method to achieve the best effects?
     
  7. Karembeu

    Karembeu Active Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    Location:
    Newport Beach, CA
    Gents,

    I just wanted to get a clarification on this as the thread outlines many different processes and it's quite frankly got me a bit confused now. I was under the impression that either a cream or wax polish is to be used, but I'm now seeing that people are using both?

    This is what I have purchased already and was going to proceed as follows:

    1) Use a damp cloth to do a quick once-over to clean the shoe and remove dirt/dust/debris/etc.
    2) Use the AE conditioner/cleaner, applied with a different cotton cloth
    3) Use the AE polish in the tube, in its respective color, and apply with a different cotton cloth
    4) Use horsehair brush after the polish dries (5-10 mins)
    5) Use another cloth to wipe and buff

    After seeing how much people tout the Saphir Reno, I've been wanting to pick that up as well, but does it serve the same purpose as the AE conditioner/cleaner?

    Also, is the AE polish considered a cream polish? Should I get the Saphir Pommadier Cream Polish in the respective colors to replace the AE polish, as well as the Saphir Pate de Luxe Wax Shoe Polish (in neutral only or should I get different colors too)? A post a few pages back outlined the procedure of using Reno, then 2 coats Cream, then 2 coats wax. Is going cream only/wax only not as preferable?

    Also, was the process I outlined above for regular maintenance of the shoe? I see people saying not to polish unless it's necessary (when is it necessary? is it when the color gets dull or problem spots need to be covered/treated?).

    Since I have a lot of new shoes that I haven't worn yet, what is the process for these new shoes as opposed to maintenance on a shoe I've already worn? Just take out the polishing step and condition/clean and then use a horsehair brush?

    I realize there are a lot of questions in this post...I'm just really confused haha. Hopefully someone can clear this up and hopefully it'll help other new users.

    Thanks [​IMG]
     
  8. P. Bateman

    P. Bateman Senior member

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    Anyone have any tips on removing an oil spot from shell cordovan? I successfully removed a spot from suede shoes using corn starch. I'm trying it now on the shell but it appears to be much more stubborn. I also tried applying a small dab of rubber cement and letting it dry on top of the stain but that had no effect.
     
  9. ezlau

    ezlau Senior member

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    Location:
    Saint Louis, Missouri
    

    There are many theories behind shoe polishing, and I am still going through the process of finding the way I like best. Some swear by using wax only, some cream only, and some use both. For me, I do both, and I alternate them depending on how lazy I feel. As an example, I met the owner of Saint Crispin, Philip Car who probably knows more about shoes than a majority of the forum members. He told me that he only uses black wax polish for every shoe, no cream, nada.

    My personal approach - I condition my shoe weekly, if not bi-weekly. By conditioning, it could mean that I cream it using Saphir cream, or just using Saphir reno, or if I'm not too lazy, I follow up with some mirror shining with black wax. Since you use neutral wax, you might have heard/read that neutral wax might leave a white residue on shoes. Personally, I have never used neutral wax so I can't confirm that, but I use black wax for all my shoes (burgundy shoes, black shoes, chestnut brown shoes). It tends to darken the leather a little, but personally I like it that way.

    In conclusion, just give those multiple theories you've read a try, and come up with a method that you like the most. It's just like there are 1000 different theories of the perfect golf swing, but at the end of the day you still have to calibrate all the theories you've read into something you can comfortably achieve.

    As for the shoes that you have not worn yet, wear them. Hope that helps.
     
  10. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    Condition new RTW shoes before wearing them. Your AE conditioner should be fine. Do the whole shoe - including the welt and sole edges. (Brush them first)

    A good standard routine in general would be: Always put them on their trees and brush them when you take them off. Pay particular attention to the welt when brushing. Brush again before wearing and if they look like they need a wipe this is the time to do it. Doing just this much consistently will do more to extend the life of the shoe than anything else. As it will keep them free of dust and dirt.

    Beyond that how much conditioner, cream, and polish you use is pretty much up to you. And depends on how often the shoes are worn. If you wear them more than once a week you probably should condition or polish them at least twice a month,

    When the welt starts to look dry/rugged I usually take this as a sure sign to condition or polish the whole shoe. Or if the shoe doesn't brighten up upon brushing.

    I use cream polish far more than paste wax polish. And when I do use paste polish it is only on the toes and heels to create a more mirror shine.

    As for Renovateur - I'm thinking it's better used occasionally as opposed to frequently - for frequent conditioning I'm happy with Saphir leather lotion.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  11. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    I'm frankly not sure, but I think I'd keep on with the absorptive method you are using until it stopped showing any visible results (I'm comfortable with cornstarch or fuller's earth but not with rubber cement.)

    What sort of oil are we talking about here? And what color of shell?
     
  12. P. Bateman

    P. Bateman Senior member

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    Hey Gdot,

    It's cigar shell. I'd read that drying agents in rubber cement are also very absorbant. In any event, it didn't seem to have any effect.

    Here's a macro of the spot. It looks more like a water spot but I know it's from food. This photo was taken post-cornstarch.
    [​IMG]

    On the shoe it's barely noticeable:
    [​IMG]

    I'm contemplating using light dish soap and a tooth brush for one final scrub. Thoughts? After that I'll apply reno and polish with Saphir light brown wax and hope fort he best.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  13. GentlemanJohnny

    GentlemanJohnny Well-Known Member

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    Karembeu,

    I feel the same way...been researching a lot since I went on a mad holiday purchasing spree and there are a lot of variations depending on what you're going for and what products you're using.

    Regarding the differences between wax and polish I found Post #15 from this very thread explained it pretty succinctly: http://www.styleforum.net/t/228153/...hread-tutorials-photos-etc/0_100#post_4178770

    Here's a handy guide from the Hanger Project that seems to fall in line with a lot of the advice on these forums (very descriptive and with pictures): http://www.hangerproject.com/closet/presidential-shine/

    Also, Post #50 (courtesy of Lear) from this thread has a bunch of useful tips condensed into one post: http://www.styleforum.net/t/228153/...hread-tutorials-photos-etc/0_100#post_4181704


    I have a question of my own for you all...
    I've been reading a lot of the boot threads (most notably by Crane) and he discourages products that use mink oil because, as he explains, it is an animal fat and will decay and go rancid eventually. This makes sense to me, however, it seems a lot of people also vouch for Saphir products, which advertize authentic mink oil. I could see that if you treated shoes with a product that contained mink oil and then let it sit in a closet for a few months that you might come back to find a nasty smell emanating from the surface...has this been the case for any of you? I figure that if you regularly clean and condition your shoes then you should'nt have any problems with products that contain mink oil or other natural animal fats....what are your thoughts?

    Also, is polishing with creams and polishes enough to water-proof your shoes against light rain and snow? Again, I found Crane's instructions on thoroughly water-proofing boots with Sno-seal to be very informative but with all the product claims about water-proofing I'm wondering if it's sufficient to use creams and wax polishes to protect dress shoes and boots without having to use Sno-seal. I will definitely use Crane's method on the boots that I wear to the field during training exercises but for the most part my other footwear won't see as much abuse so I feel it's safe to assume I don't have to go that extra step...do you gentlemen concur?

    Thank you

    ~Johnny
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  14. grendel

    grendel Senior member

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    I think the warning against mink oil has to do with the fact that some of the cheaper things sold as mink oil may not be pure or processed correctly and can give the problems you've described. Pure mink oil will work perfectly fine and Saphir products won't give you those problems.

    I would not use sno-seal, Obenauf's, etc. on dress shoes. Just keep them out of the elements by either wearing boots / shoes that are designed for inclement conditions or wear rubber overshoes to protect them.
     
  15. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    I don't think I'd scrub 'em.

    I think I'd just moisturize both shoes thoroughly. You'll probably find that the spot starts to fade some as the oils distribute around the shoe a bit. But frankly I'm not sure it's going to come out completely.

    Any one else have an opinion?
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  16. grendel

    grendel Senior member

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    Yeah, I'd just hit 'em with Venetian Cream and lots of brushing
     
  17. P. Bateman

    P. Bateman Senior member

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    ^ Awesome. I just ordered 3 bottles of the stuff.
     
  18. sstomcat

    sstomcat Senior member

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    [​IMG]

    Is this part of the natural tanning process for cordovan ? or is something that can be removed?
     
  19. joiji

    joiji Senior member

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    Try removing with conditioner, if it doesn't go away I'd consider those shoes seconds.
     
  20. glenjay

    glenjay Senior member

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    It might help in understanding to use the proper terminology in regard to shoe polish. All shoe polish has wax in it (except perhaps some of the really cheap liquid stuff). So, the option is not cream or wax polish, the option is Cream or Paste polish. This may seem trivial and/or obvious, but the distinction helps in understanding.

    Shoe polish is shoe polish, the only real difference is the ratio of wax to oil in the composition. The amount of dyes and solvents in the mix play a much lesser role. Cream has a higher ratio of oil to wax than paste, and therefore paste has a higher ratio of wax to oil. Polish like that in the AE tubes falls in between the two, but falls closer to the cream side. Saphir Renovateur is a very light cream with some cleaning agents included as well (Great stuff).

    The average person is much more exposed to tins of shoe polish that contain paste polish, than to jars of shoe polish that contain cream polish. This is mainly due to the much broader circulation/distribution of paste polish in general merchandizing. Since most people in the general public start with paste polish they tend to put too much wax and not enough oil on their shoes when learning how to polish their shoes. This is bad for the shoes in the long haul, and makes for a poor shine. And, I would be surprised if over 5% of the population ever conditions their shoes, other that the incidental conditioning provided by shoe polish. Keeping in mind that paste polish (the most common) has a lower ratio of oils for conditioning the leather.

    In my opinion, if you want to take very good care of your shoes, you should use cream polish when you need to apply polish to your shoes, and use paste polish only when trying to achieve a high shine (spit shine) on the toe and heel counter. Using just paste polish will not harm a shoe if used lightly and infrequently, to keep the density of wax build up to a minimum, but most people apply way too much polish to shoes and over the long run the shoe leather will lose more and more oils that are not being properly replenished, and the excessive wax will smother the cellular fiber in the leather that needs to breathe. This causes the shoe leather, and your investment, to have a shorter span of usefulness.

    Also, keep in mind that you do not have to add polish each time you shine your shoes. Simply wiping of the dust and giving them a good brushing will bring back a glow to the shoe using just the existing wax on the shoe from the last time you applied a cream or paste.



    There are only 3 types of oil/fat that exist: Animal, Vegetable, and Mineral (petroleum). Most vegetable oil will go rancid much quicker than animal oil (don't use walnut oil on your walnut colored shoes), and the high viscosity in mineral oil by itself is not good for the leather. What you will find is that most animal oils for shoe leather (like Mink oil and Neatsfoot oil) also contain a small amount of mineral oil (petroleum distillates) to allow it to last longer and absorb better (even those labeled 100% pure). Since it would not be wise to use vegetable or pure mineral on leather, your only choice is animal oil/fat. Actually, coconut oil lasts quite a long time, but puppies simply cannot resist coconut covered leather.
     
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