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

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

  1. glenjay

    glenjay Senior member

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    First, I have to ask; when you say you pay a lot for your shoes what does that mean? That is a pretty subjective statement. What brands & models of shoes do you own? Also, when you say they last for years, how old are the shoes that you have continuously used this technique on? What is a well polished look to you? Could you post some pictures?

    The idea of lighting a tin of shoe polish on fire has been around about as long as tins of shoe polish. But, you are doing your shoes and your polish a disservice by lighting the polish on fire.

    Most all shoe polish has 4 main ingredients: 1) Solvent, 2) Wax, 3) Oil, 4) Pigment. Other ingredients may also be included like gums and resins, and in the case of neutral polish there is typically no pigment.

    Each main ingredient has a purpose: The solvent is used to keep the wax soft and pliable for applying to the shoe, and evaporates shortly (about five minutes to half an hour depending on the solvent and the mixture) after being applied to the shoe. The wax really serves 3 purposes; it is the medium for the pigment, gives some water protection to the leather, and creates a surface coating that can be smoothed to a shine (the harder the wax the smoother it can be shined). The oil is absorbed into the leather fiber for lubrication, and of course the pigment is for color.

    The solvent used in the Kiwi shoe polish you buy in a tin is Naphtha which is a petroleum product similar in chemical composition to gasoline and is therefore quite flammable.

    unfortunately, what happens when you light it on fire is that you remove some of the solvent from the remaining polish in the tin, so the remaining polish will harden and crack in the tin much sooner. You are also heating up the oil which decreases it resistance to rancidity, and you slightly burnish the pigment. Also, as soon as the wax cools and starts to solidify (about 95F) there is no solvent to help smooth the wax while brushing.

    I'm not saying that you can't get a good shine on a shoe by lighting the polish on fire, I just wouldn't recommend it.
     


  2. stevent

    stevent Senior member

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    Gentlemens footwear has free shipping on everything I believe
     


  3. Nakedsnake

    Nakedsnake Senior member

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    Saphir can be had at leatherfoot, and LP can be ordered directly from their site, they have reasonable prices and shipping.
     


  4. umbrella613

    umbrella613 Active Member

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    Do people here use horsehair buffers? I've seen posts for use in cleaning dust and dirt, but you don't really need them to achieve a mirror shine... Wondering, because those buffers seem so iconic (my grandfather and father have always used buffers)
     


  5. garyclark

    garyclark Active Member

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    I have tobacco-colored suede BB (Peal & Co.) shoes that I need to protect.

    What waterproofing/protective products are recommend that will not change the shoe color? Also, any recommended techniques?
     


  6. kloss

    kloss Senior member

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    afinepairofshoes or valmour have the best prices. and the shipping cost (from EU to Canada) is about the same as from the states but with a lower chance of having to pay import fees
     


  7. dusttruffle

    dusttruffle Senior member

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    thought the gents in this thread might enjoy this.

    [​IMG]
     


  8. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Yes, horsehair. You don't need them to achieve a mirror shine, but they are good for reviving a dull mirror shine without adding more wax to the shoe. Also, new horsehair brushes are generally too stiff to be great at raising a shine to any part of the shoe. They tend to mess the finish, my 10 year old Kiwi one all broken in can be used on a mirror shine perfectly. I think over time the subtle build up of wax on the bristles and just breaking in of the bristles likens the brushing action to fast buffing with a cloth.

    Some people like goat's hair brushes because they are softer. Yes, they are softer, but even then I never was able to achieve the "buffing-like" high shine from one as I can with my trusted Kiwi horsehair brush.
     


  9. kloss

    kloss Senior member

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    Does the heel on my shoe need to be replaced if it has been worn down to the nail (which was previously visible but not exposed)

    ie. the nails on this shoe but with nails instead of taps.

    [​IMG]


    Will wearing it without replacing the heel damage the nails? Will it eventually drive the nail into my foot? [​IMG]
     


  10. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Heels on higher end shoes are generally made of layers of leather "stacked" on top of each other until the proper heel height is reached. Sometimes the last layer will be full rubber or partially rubber...as in the photo.

    What you don't want to do is wear the last layer down until it bites into the next layer.

    Regardless, wearing the shoe at all will damage the nails. That is what they are there for--to absorb punishment instead of the leather. And no, wearing the shoe will not drive the nails into your foot.
     


  11. kloss

    kloss Senior member

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    But the nails can easily be replaced so its not a problem unless the leather has been worn to the second layer, right? Even if the nail is damaged?
     


  12. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    When you get to the point where the top "lift" is worn down to the point of needing to be replaced, the whole lift will be removed and replaced...along with the nails. Generally speaking, the nails don't penetrate the heel stack more than three lifts (layers). The visible nails do not hold the whole heel stack onto the shoe.
     


  13. kloss

    kloss Senior member

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    Thanks, that was very informative. [​IMG]
     


  14. umbrella613

    umbrella613 Active Member

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    Interesting. I wonder why - seems to make more sense to have a solid heel made of one "layer" (or two if a leather heel + rubber on the bottom) = easier to construct and more durable than several stacked on each other ...
     


  15. kentyman

    kentyman Senior member

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    Because even after all the insensitive comparisons with obese people, cows aren't as thick-skinned as you think...
     


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