The Vintage Shell Longwing Appreciation Thread: Florsheim, Hanover, Nettleton, etc.

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by JSO1, May 11, 2015.

  1. JSO1

    JSO1 Senior member

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    I figured I'd start this thread for those of us who appreciate the classic styling, superior durability, and all-around general awesomeness of vintage longwings. Feel free to post pictures, questions, thoughts, or anything in this thread, related to vintage longwings - preferably shell.

    Of course, if the discussion branches out to other styles or makers besides the "vintage" ones like Florsheim, Hanover, Nettleton, etc., that's totally cool.

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    I'll start with my own entry:

    I picked up these Florsheim Royal Imperial longwings in color #8 burgundy from a fellow SF member a little while ago. These are model 97626, and based on my brief research into the codes, it seems they're from 1983. They've got the green thread and everything.

    They were in pretty good shape, but the laces were fraying in several spots, and they were still on their original v-cleat "suicide" heels and 5-nail soles:

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    So, I replaced the laces with new laces from Allen Edmonds, and then I took the shoes to my local cobbler for new heels. He did just that, and also decided to clean up the uppers, which was a blessing and a curse. The shoes looked even better when I got them back, but the smooth shell felt sticky and gummy from the polish and products the cobbler used on the uppers. They also were noticeably darker than before - again, likely due to the cobbler's polishing and application of product - perhaps paste wax.

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    While I certainly appreciated the darker look, I wasn't terribly happy with how "plasticky" the shoes look with all that polish and product.

    So I set about cleaning them. Using the inside of a sock, I buffed the living hell out of them to remove as much polish and gunk as I could. I then wiped them down several times with a damp cloth to get all the remaining polish off. A few stubborn spots remained even after 45 minutes of buffing, damp wiping, and cleaning. I didn't want to use any products like Renomat or anything on these, preferring to just use the inside of the sock and the damp cloth. It worked pretty well.

    After stripping as much of the polish and gunk off the shoes as I could, I conditioned them fairly liberally with Bick 4 and then brushed them vigorously for 5-10 minutes per shoe. The shoes went from being fairly glowing after the Bick 4 to being extremely dull after the brushing phase. But no worries, after some intense buffing and polishing with a soft cloth, they regained their nice, glowing shell look.

    I don't like my shell to be too glowy, because I think it looks plasticky, so I am happy with this "middle" level of glow. The color is much richer now, too - less dark, and much more burgundy with the deep red tones coming through. Not nearly as "eggplant" as Aldens are, and much more similar (in brighter light) to the way the old mahogany shell looked. I'll definitely update this when I have a chance to take a high quality, daytime picture.

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    At some point, I will need new soles, but hopefully that's a while away. When that time comes, though, I'll likely do a JR double sole at B. Nelson. I've seen his recreation work of the v-cleat and 5-nail sole, but I don't think the suicide heel is worth keeping, and I'd rather have the JR.

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    And that's all from me on that - feel free to contribute your own pictures of your own longwings, or your wishlist, or whatever you want!
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2015


  2. cc808314

    cc808314 Senior member

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    Hey JSO1! I didn't realize that you have a thing for vintage shoes, based on your activity on the AE thread.
    I have my heart set on one of this as as well, but I am not sure how they are sized. How would you compare them to AE Macneils, shoes on the 5 last, Daltons, etc?

    Thanks
     


  3. JSO1

    JSO1 Senior member

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    I would say that they fit pretty similar to the MacNeil. A little bit more room in the toebox.

    I went with my 5 last size, which is my Brannock size, and they fit quite comfortably.

    They're wider and shorter than the 1 last that the Daltons are on. I have these in 8.5D and they fit pretty similarly to my 8E Daltons.
     


  4. cc808314

    cc808314 Senior member

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    Thank you!. I will PM you the link to the pair I looking at. Would love to hear your opinion.
     


  5. AHS

    AHS Senior member

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    Picked up these florsheims on eBay for $40. Looking forward to completing a treatment program for them.

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    AHS
     


  6. smfdoc

    smfdoc Senior member

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    @JSO1 started this thread well but it seems to have gone a little quite. Those who are interested in vintage shoes are welcome to also check out the vintage shoe thread by clicking here. All are welcome.
     


  7. suitforcourt

    suitforcourt Senior member

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  8. suitforcourt

    suitforcourt Senior member

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    I also see v cleats at thrift stores and eBay. Missed a few gems already. NOS would be great!
     


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