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

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

  1. Munky

    Munky Senior member

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    Fair enough. Things are clearly different in the US. I have some issues with evidence of the effectiveness of osteopathy - particularly in relation to cranial osteopathy. In the UK, osteopathy is usually thought of as an alternative therapy. I wasn't thinking of homeopathy which is sheer nonsense.

    But...this is a shoe thread and I guess we should agree to disagree and move on.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2013
  2. dbhdnhdbh

    dbhdnhdbh Senior member

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    Fair enough. The DO's I know consider that stuff an embarrassment, and never think about it unless someone else brings it up. As I said, they are doctors, not quacks.

    So, back to shoe questions.

    I don't buy expensive shoes because, well because they are expensive. I don't even bother to go to shops where they are sold and inspect them since that would waste the time of the salespeople when I know I am not going to buy.

    Having revealed my ignorance of the finer things, and my plebian tastes, can someone tutor me: When shoe experts on this forum talk about "better leather", what does that mean? Setting aside horrible plastic coated CG, what are the properties of better leather? How would one recognize it? Is it inherently more expensive to produce, hence its use only in finer shoes? Does using better leather mean discarding, or selling to lesser brands, large portions of the material purchased from the tannery as only small parts of the hide are suitable for top quality shoes?

    It seems that it does not necessarily mean more durable, as some on this thread have said that AE and Alden can last a long time.

    Similarly, in this context, is the construction of top quality shoes different? I would have thought the construction would be different, but they do not appear all to be hand welted without gemming, which DWFII says is the only right way to make a shoe. In a Lobb shoe care video the demonstration of conditioning and shining was standard fare. However, between bits they cut to pictures of construction and I was struck by how much machining was involved.

    If one of the experts, maker or simply afficianado, were to inspect a pair of unlabelled shoes made by a top bespoke maker, or perhaps OTR Lobbs, what would tell them that this was top quality merchandise? I am sure there are clues that would be obvious to an expert, what would they be?

    The pictures on SF are nice to look at, but I cannot tell the difference between $300 and $3,000 shoes. (I pay well under $100 for used, but I can still look).


    Just idle curiosity here. I am too cheap to buy such things, and too interested in remaining married. It may be a case of "you wouldn't understand", which I can accept, but it would be interesting to hear any explanations.
     
  3. wurger

    wurger Senior member

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    I am sure more will post more detailed answers down the track, I will start with a brief one.

    Handgrade leather are more taut and smooth, as you can appreciate, different parts of a cow will provide different qualities of leather, where the area around the spine is the tightest, then as you start move to the belly, looser and more wrinkly.

    While one can argue when new, viewing from normal human interaction distances, the difference isn't much, but over time after wearing, better grade leather generally lasts longer, wrinkle less and helps the shoe to stay in shape.

    It is inherently more expensive to produce because EG, GG and JL and other top grade makers use one slab of skin to make one shoe, just the centre spine area, where the middle and lower grade can make 3 to 4 pairs using the same slab, using the spine area for the toe piece, and other areas for less visible parts.

    As for what do the top makers do with their offcuts, I don't know, but it would make sense for use them for their middle grade, like CJ and AS have 2 lines, but for EG, GG and JL, may be they only get the spine part of the leather.

    Durability depends on a number of factors, like wearing and caring, like after like 10 years of wearing and a few resoles, no matter how good was the leather, it will age with wrinkles.

    In the context of goodyear welt, when that phrase is used, it's using machine, since is involves a welting machine instead of hand sewing for attaching. From my understanding, a hand grade differs to bench grade in term of grade of leather, and more handwork and care is involved, in finishing. So the cost of labour goes up compare to bench grade, different leather, and this also means higher margins due to the target market can afford it.

    Some pointers for higher quality shoes
    - bevelled fiddle waist, makes the shoe very elegant, purely aesthetic, no improvement on durability
    - the feel of the leather
    - channel stitch sole
    - details and attentions to upper stitching, like how they line up to edges, and no threads sticking out
    - how the medallions are punched
    - the internal lining material, the internal stitching which is also important, as any piece not glued or stitches properly will hurt your feet when new

    If you can't tell by the photos, I would suggest you go to a store and waste a salesperson's time, and see, touch and feel for yourself.
     
  4. MidwestSteve

    MidwestSteve Member

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    Thank you. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for solving a question I have had for at least 20 years. I have wondered how to get a great shine on my shoes, searched the Internet various times during those years, but just found SF within the past two weeks and today, at last, this thread and your tips. They did the job! I can't wait to shine the rest of my shoes.

    I first applied Saphir's Pommadier Cream Polish Medaille d'Or and got a nice polish, but not the mirror shine. Your tips with Saphir's Pate de Luxe Wax Shoe Polish did the trick. The one thing I did differently was to apply multiple coats of wax polish. It took about 5-6 coats before I started to see the shine. Other tips I read, such as needing to buff to heat up the wax did not work for me.

    Really appreciate your detailed steps. The spray bottle and the picture let me know just how much water and wax to use.

    Thanks again. I'm excited now that I can get that shine that only a few professionals have been able to deliver.
     
  5. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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  6. wurger

    wurger Senior member

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    Alfred Sargent Exclusive range is RTW, and has fiddle waist.
     
  7. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Point is, RTW GY welted fiddleback waist takes much less skill than actual hand welted fiddleback waist. Way less. RTW fiddleback waist can be done with a close sole stitching and hammered into shape. Hand welted fiddle back waist actually requires a lot of skill to make.
     
  8. wurger

    wurger Senior member

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    Yes, either GY or hand welted fiddle are pointers for dbhdnhdbh to tell they are different to shoes that are $100 to $300.

    And as chogall pointed out, that is why true handmade shoes go up into the thousands, but then they are not hand grade shoes, they are hand made/bespoke.
     
  9. Munky

    Munky Senior member

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    Can anyone help, please? About 7 weeks ago, I bought a pair of Loake's 1880, 'Chester' brogues. I usually take a (UK) ten but took a nine in these.
    I spent some time in the shop trying on nines, nine and a halfs and tens. The fitting is 'F'. My problem is that whatever I do, I can't make them comfortable. I have tried a leather insole but this just causes my toes to be pinched. I wear them every second or third day, use Loake's shoe trees etc. They are fairly 'solid' brogues. Any suggestions as to how to make them fit or, at least, a bit more comfortable, would be welcome.
     
  10. wurger

    wurger Senior member

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    do you mean the shoes doesn't follow your heel, and when you put insoles, it's too small? So what's making it uncomfortable?
     
  11. Munky

    Munky Senior member

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    Yes, there is movement at the heel that has caused a blister. Also, they feel 'loose' in the area of the arch of my foot. I have tried a Woly arch supporter but this isn't comfortable either. Generally, they feel a bit big, but I know from where my toes are in the box that I couldn't have taken a smaller size (and, anyway, a size 8 would have been 2 sizes down from my usual size).
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2013
  12. wurger

    wurger Senior member

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    it's been 7 weeks, so the shoe should be broken in... have you tried to bend the sole, like bend the back of the shoe towards the toe, so the sole is flexed, and will follow your heel better.

    Personally, I find heel pads don't work, so I only use tongue pads, and find them work very well. And if you can't find where to buy tongue pads, you can cut a heel pad into shape, since heel pads are everywhere.
     
  13. Munky

    Munky Senior member

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    Thank you, Wurger, for your thoughts on this. I haven't tried to bend the shoe in the way that you suggest. However, when I'm at coffee shop, I sit with the my feet back under the chaie and with theshoes bent, which, I guess, amounts to the same thing. I don't want to resort to those horrible suede things for inside the heel. I think I might go on Amazon and buy a few different sorts of pads and insoles - hopefully it may be money well spent.

    With regard to the Loakes, themselves, I can't afford just to write them off.
     
  14. David Copeland

    David Copeland Senior member

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    Thank you.
     
  15. glenjay

    glenjay Senior member

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    Have you tried using tongue pads? They should help keep your foot from sliding out of the heel cup, and will help press your foot against the arch.
     

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