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

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

  1. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    Don't shoot the messenger. [​IMG] I'm not the one who decided that shell is less formal than calf. I'm also not saying that your point isn't perfectly valid, because it is. I can see the logic behind why the heavier rolls that shell develops instead of creases, and the more hefty look that shell has (it almost looks chewy, like caramel, for lack of a better word) would make it less formal on average. However, I'm no stranger to seeing shell shoes that look like they could be worn to a black tie event as well. I'm just reporting the general opinion.
     


  2. glenjay

    glenjay Senior member

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    The pigment in shoe polish resides in the wax, both in the jar/tin and on the shoe. Think of colored shoe polish as very thin layers of translucent color being layered on top of the shoe upper. The pigment does not embed itself into the actual leather as a liquid shoe dye would do.

    As you add layers of colored polish the look of the shoe will darken closer to the polish color, but never match it because the color is translucent (because it is disbursed throughout the wax) not solid like a liquid dye would be.

    The pigment in the wax will not fade, but the layers of wax the pigment is in will diminish as they are brushed off and not replaced.
     


  3. Louis XIV

    Louis XIV Senior member

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    Please explain to me, in how far is shell more durable than calf?

    Agreed

    Rarity never was and never will be a characteristic of quality.

    Once again, please explain to me in how far shell does require more skill in manufacturing than calf.
     


  4. JermynStreet

    JermynStreet Senior member

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    MWS-I'll respectfully have to disagree.
    [​IMG]
     


  5. archangle13

    archangle13 Senior member

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    Thanks for the info. But I'm talking about shoe cream, not wax. Is there a difference?

    From my understanding, pigments in shoe cream do embed themselves in the leather upper. Do those pigments ever fade with time or with vigorous brushing?
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013


  6. goodlensboy

    goodlensboy Senior member

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    Excellent explanation
     


  7. glenjay

    glenjay Senior member

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    There is not a substantial difference between paste (sometimes referred to as wax polish due to the higher ratio of wax in paste polish) and cream. My explanation holds true for both paste and cream.

    The relative density of the pigment is due to the ratio of wax in the paste or cream composition. Cream polish having a higher ratio of solvent and oils to wax than paste polish.

    Since paste has a higher ratio of wax, it would take more pigment to reach the same density as a cream that has a lower ratio of wax.

    Comparing the same volume of paste polish to cream polish, using the same amount of pigment:

    For paste: if wax is equal to 1 part, and pigment is equal to 0.1 part, the pigment density is 1/10

    For cream: if the wax is equal to 0.7 part and pigment is equal to 0.1 part, the pigment density is 1/7
     


  8. benhour

    benhour Senior member

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    i quite dissagree with that part!! i think when you read that pigment is 0,1part is refering on % of the product!! in cream paste the 0,3 is oil's thats why its more creamy! the pigment in both cases has exactly the same density !! the diference is in the wax-oil's ratio.

    so i think in 100gr of paste there is :95gr wax's -4 gr oil's(and solvents) - 1 gr pigment
    and in 100 gr of paste there is : 67gr wax's - 33gr oil's(and solvents)- 1 gr pigment
    the pigment in % ratio is exactly the same in both products!

    at my opinion wax paste when u want to get a hier shine is better(the pigment stiks better cause the sticky nature of the wax) and when u want to conditioning paste is the master(ecxept dedicated products)
     


  9. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    I think you all are hearing that I am making claims about shell formality from my own point of view, when I'm not. Again, don't shoot the messenger. I didn't make the "rule" about shell being less formal. I was just answering the question posed. Like I said above, I am no stranger to shell shoes that seem perfectly acceptable for formal occasions. In other words, I don't agree with it as a hard and fast "rule" either, but the authors of those websites I linked to above are far more studied than I am in clothing and it's formality.
     


  10. gaseousclay

    gaseousclay Senior member

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    sorry if this has been rehashed but do you guys typically give new shoes a quick buff with Saphir Reno rather than using Reno + polish? my assumption is that using Reno only is sufficient for a new, unworn pair of shoes and that subsequent shines should then use Reno (sparingly) and polish and/or wax
     


  11. gaseousclay

    gaseousclay Senior member

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    I own these Aldens and I can attest to the fact that they shine incredibly well. I think shell looks more formal than calf, but that's just me
     


  12. JermynStreet

    JermynStreet Senior member

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    Vive la revolucion!!!! Let's change the thinking. [​IMG]
     


  13. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    Please explain to me, in how far is shell more durable than calf?
    I am surprised that you are asking about this one, as I thought that it was generally accepted and well known. I assume you are familiar with Horween's video on Vimeo?

    http://www.styleforum.net/t/119369/shell-cordovan-vs-regular-leather/0_100

    http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/forum/showthread.php?79695-Cordovan-vs-Calf

    People swear by it's ability to rebound from damage that would otherwise be permanent in calfskin by rubbing it with some conditioner and/or smoothing it with a deer bone.

    One of my favorite statistics is that there are more boots that saw service during World War I still in existence today than boots that saw service during World War II because cordovan was the favored material for boots during World War I. End of this article: http://howtospendit.ft.com/mens-fashion/6955-plenty-of-horsepower

    Truthfully, a google search about the durability of shell will show that it would be harder to find sources that say it isn't more durable than calf, rather than the other way around. Way to many results come up that are supportive of the extremely strong nature of shell, so don't think for a second that the above sources are the only ones.

    Once again, please explain to me in how far shell does require more skill in manufacturing than calf.
    Horween dubs it "the art of tanning at it's finest": http://horween.com/leathers/shell-cordovan/ Obviously they sell it, so there is a degree of sales pitching going on, but since they make many many types of leather, they are also in a great position to determine which one is the "finest" as far as an artform is concerned.

    When making shell cordovan, there is definitely skill involved in sorting, separating, cutting, and identifying the shell which is not a process involved in making calfskin. With calf, the hide is removed from the animal and the tanning process begins in earnest. The shell area of the horse requires skill to isolate and properly make once it is removed from the rest of the horse hide. Again, in the video above, you can see many manufactering steps that each require skills not needed in manufactering calfskin... from the isolating of the shell area, to the cutting of it, to the shaving it down (but not shaving too much), to the glass-rod polishing, etc. Just because they make it look easy doesn't mean it isn't a skilled process. It often requires many years of experience to make something "look" easy.

    This article from Gentleman's Gazette is a good read: http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/cordovan-leather-from-horween/ The article points out that "Because of it's qualities, beauty and durability, it found its way to Spanish royalty, who facilitated the spread of cordovan leather throughout Europe and the world through marriage with other royal families."
    "In the late 19th century, German tanners had mastered the art of tanning shell cordovan butts. The product was sold as "Spiegelware", which literally translates to "mirror goods.""
    "Around the same time, German and Dutch tanners imported the skill of cordovan tanning to the U.S. In the early 20th century, American tanners further improved the tanning techniques to make it softer and more appropriate for shoes."
    "The tanning of cordovan takes about six months and more than a hundred processes and therefore, very few tanneries remain in the world that can still produce this kind of leather."

    Rarity never was and never will be a characteristic of quality.
    Perhaps agree to disagree here. This is a subjective statement, just as the definition of quality is subjective. The definition of quality as defined here: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quality seems to fit into much of the information I have presented here. Rarity often goes hand in hand with social status or exclusivity, and one of the fitting definitions of quality is social status or rank.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013


  14. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    ^^^ It is probably worth adding that given it's history of development and the fact that it is a more intensive process should be enough evidence to show that it is higher quality because people actually take the time to master making it and working with it. It takes extra skill to make a product from shell that isn't needed from making a product out of calf or cowhide. The very fact that people go through the effort for all this, and that people then pay a large premium over the price of calf or cowhide for the results is indicative of it's inherent quality. I just don't think people would go through the effort to produce a product, maintaining and perfecting old world manufactering techniques, and allocating such a major amount of business to a product that is "just another leather." Many of us are familiar with the term Cordwainer as a term used to describe shoe and bootmakers. D.W. Frommer (DWFII in StyleForum) comes to mind. It would be good to remember that the etiology of the term, however, is from producing goods out of cordovan. In other words, working with cordovan was a specialty.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013


  15. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    I wouldn't argue with that. [​IMG]
     


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