Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Mr. Moo, Feb 28, 2011.
Thanks so much, guys.
I wouldn't use this on a fine pair of shoes - but I've no doubt that basically nearly any detergent based product would do the job.
TBH it's pretty mild.
I don't use much wax on my shoes, so I don't need to clean them much but if I do one day I'll let you know how it goes. I've used it on other leather products and it was fine.
I guess this might fit into this shoe care thread.
I used to use rubber heel taps on my shoes, then one day decided to make leather taps instead. I find they look better than the rubber, but probably need more frequent changing. These were made with 4mm thick belt blanks, pretty tough leather. After almost 5 months of maybe twice a week wears, the end portions are now less than a mm thick.
If you go over some dark polish, or marks on the vamp of a shoe with renomat you will strip away layers of polish as well as finish and such. This removes a lot of the natural oils and such and needs to be conditioned. A layer of polish will just even out the finish and color. Not every situation exists in a vacuum. Shoes that don't have an issue like polish buildup, or marks, or anything, they are just normal shoes repeated polishing of the vamp isn't needed, however in this case it would.
Thanks for the clarification Patrick. I appreciate your answering the question in the manner it was intended. I really am trying to understand your position in regard to polishing the vamp of a shoe.
I don’t want to beat a dead horse, and I don’t want to come across as attacking your position. However, I think it is useful to this forum and specifically to this thread, for two experienced members to discuss the basis of their difference of opinion, for the benefit of the membership; Contrary to flame wars which are just stupid personal attacks, and a waste of everyone’s time.
I would think that what parts of a shoe should be polished is pretty germane to a thread on shoe care.
My disagreement is with your statement that "If you want your shoes to last you shouldn't maintain a ‘shine’ on the vamp of your shoe.", and here is why I disagree:
The wax in shoe polish acts not only as a polishing agent, but also as a protector to the surface of the leather to some degree. Your statement that “A layer of polish will just even out the finish and color” (in the context of helping the look of the boot in question) seems to ignore the aspect of the polish also adding some protection to the shoe after it has been stripped and conditioned. I cannot tell if you believe that wax has any role in protecting a shoe in general or not. I believe it does.
Since I believe that wax serves as some level of protection to the shoe, I therefore believe that the vamp (as well as the rest of the shoe) should have some wax on it; Not very much wax, but some (not to include suede shoes and the like of course).
Since the vamp flexes more than any other part of the shoe, it benefits less from the polishing/smoothing aspect of the wax than other parts of the shoe that are rigid, and therefore less wax is necessary.
This is why I always make a point of distinguishing between cream polish and paste polish, because cream polish has a higher ratio of oil to wax than paste polish which has a higher ratio of wax to oil. Using cream polish on the vamp adds more oil to the leather where it is most needed (the flexible vamp), and less wax than paste polish.
Due to the molecular structure of wax, once on the shoe it doesn’t come off easily (unless it was applied way too thick). Trying to rub all the wax off your shoe with a cloth, and no solvent, is quite a task – even with just a light coat of wax. Brushing a shoe will remove a very, very small amount of wax, but enough that you would want to have different shoe brushes for your tan loafers and your black cap toes.
The main purpose of brushing a shoe with a shoe brush is to spread out and smooth the existing wax on the shoe. This will inherently cause a shine. The degree of shine is determined only by a couple of factors: 1) The remaining wax to oil ration in the polish (you can’t spit shine a shoe with cream polish, at least I can’t) and 2) the smoothness of the wax surface. The smoother the surface the wax is applied to the easier it is to create a smooth wax surface.
Since once you put wax on a shoe it remains there for quite some time, unless it is purposely stripped off, each time you brush a shoe you are again spreading and smoothing the existing wax, and will produce a shine of some degree, without adding any new polish to the shoe. If at some point you are unable to produce a brush shine it is most likely due to the wax getting too dirty, and it should be stripped and replaced (and the shoe conditioned with oils after the wax is stripped).
When you start with a less smooth surface, or want a brighter shine (like a spit shine), it takes more coats of wax to create a smoother and smoother surface. When you get to the point of a spit shine the surface of the wax is like a very thin hard candy coating. If the surface under the thin hard candy coating of wax flexes (as the vamp of a shoe does) that wax will fracture and lay in the creases of the shoe.
Spreading out and smoothing wax to produce a shine does not change its molecular structure, but too much wax in general has been considered a detriment to the ability of leather to “breath”. I don’t use a lot of wax on my shoes, so I don’t have any real experience with excessive wax being a breathability issue. But, I can tell you that for the last 40 years or so I have maintained a shine on the vamp of my shoes with no deleterious effect. Not that I have shoes that are 40 years old, but rather that I didn’t get rid of them because the vamp was too shiny and ruined the shoe.
I suspect what you are trying to say is not "If you want your shoes to last you shouldn't maintain a ‘shine’ on the vamp of your shoe.", but rather “If you want your shoes to last you should only keep a minimal amount of wax on the vamp”. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, so please let me know if I still don’t understand your position, and where I am mistaken. I am always willing to learn.
Wax on the toe will keep liquids from getting to the leather to some extent. Wax on the vamp won't do much if anything to keep things out because it flexes too much and if you had enough layers of wax to help waterproof it it would all just crack anyway.
Grendel, I don’t think anyone would use shoe polish (or just wax) as a method to waterproof a shoe, at least I hope not.
There are a number of waterproofing compounds out there, to include mink oil. If you want to waterproof a shoe, shoe polish isn’t the way to go.
When I say wax serves as some level of protection to the shoe, I'm referring to the watch you can wear in the shower, not the watch you go scuba diving with (metaphorically speaking).
A single light coat (or two) of cream wax brushed thoroughly over the vamp will not crack. It is the buildup of multiple coats (over time, or all at once) that can cause a problem.
I take it from your response that you only put shoe polish on the heel and toe of your shoes, or use no shoe polish at all, is that correct?
I only have my experience. My experience has it that any of my shoes that I have maintained a high shine on the vamp, even while doing frequent "reno" applications have turned to cracking. If you want your shoes to be pretty bullet proof to flexing and cracking you need to heavily condition them and accept that you aren't going to have a high shine on the vamp. I think even if you do have a high shine on the vamp and adopt the idea that one can simply strip away wax polish without any harm to the leather and then condition and re-polish and have a better, or more well protected shoe you are dreaming. This is where I feel that people go overboard. Adding drying solvents to the finish of a shoe to condition it and think it will be better for it I think is ridiculous. Keeping a low shine on the vamp and frequent, but sparingly applying conitioners to the vamp will provide much better longevity and protection. If you do some poking around companies who make leather conditioning products like Lexol, Obaneuf, Montana Pitch Blend etc. same the same thing.
I mostly just put Reno on the vamp and other flex points. Sometimes I'll put creme on there if it needs some pigment.
When you say “even while doing frequent ‘reno’ applications” are you referring to RenoMat or Renovator?
If you were doing frequent applications of RenoMat to strip the wax then I would understand the cracking. I normally clean my shoes with Lexol leather cleaner, which is much milder than RenoMat. I have used RenoMat to strip wax off of shoes, but I wouldn’t suggest doing it frequently by any means.
If you are referring to Renovateur then I would ask why were you doing frequent applications of a product that contains cleaners and wax to the vamp of your shoes? Both Renovateur and basic cream shoe polish have a high oil to wax ratio. Infrequent applications (as needed) of a thin coat of cream polish would be better than frequent applications of anything.
I am a little more aggressive in my shoe care regiment than this, but regardless if you think I am dreaming or being ridiculous, it has worked for me for decades.
In regard to your statement that companies like Lexol, Obaneuf, etc… agree with your perspective, I just have not found it. Sure it is a good thing to condition leather with oils, however I am not sure what you mean by “heavily condition”, as too much of anything is not good. Nowhere have I seen any of these companies condemn the use of shoe polish on the vamp of a shoe. If you can point me to something stating otherwise please do so.
I have no idea what you are arguing anymore. I am just saying polishing the vamp of the shoe, stripping it off to condition, repolishing the vamp is much worse than just keeping a low shine or more matte shine using conditioners like the ones I mentioned.
Ok, I totally agree with that statement!
I clean (probably down to the base layer of wax), condition, and polish my shoes more frequently than most I suspect, but I don't strip the shoes (with something like RenoMat) just to condition.
But I feel like even doing that you are doing more harm than good. I think our conversation began when you said you disagreed with my statement that wax doesn't need to be stripped. I still agree with that providing you are conditioning the vamp of your shoes and not keeping a high shine with wax polish over the vamp.
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