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Thrifted some 'unique' old Florsheims, need cleaning advice

Caydel

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Good morning all. This is my first post, so please bear with me if I've stuck it in the wrong section of the forum.

Over the last few months, I've been keeping my eye out for a decent pair of shoes when I've been thrifting; unfortunately, my budget doesn't extend to a newer pair of AE, or Aldens etc. One Tuesday, I found this old pair of very dirty Florsheim Imperials with an... odd... leather:











They fit me very well (after an hour or two hours of wearing them in around the house). I am very surprised at how solid the construction feels compared to the hush puppies etc. that I've owned in the past. The leather and the stiching are very heavy and solid; I feel like these will last forever!

The first question I have is - any thoughts on what kind of leather these shoes are? The guy at the local leather shop thinkgs it's hippopotamus leather. I'm not sure I believe that, but it is very textured. Anyone have any ideas?

Now, as for cleaning, a local cobbler sold me an old jar of Collonil 'Colora Cleaner' (by old, I mean it looks 20-30 years old, only german text on the label) which has been amazing on all the leather I own, including my other shoes. And true to form, it's been working well on these shoes except for one small problem, and that is the texture of the leather. There is lots of dirt stuck in all the creases all over the shoe. I've been working the cleaner in with a sponge, and that has been taking the dirt out, but it's slow work, and I believe that it started taking the finish / color off the leather on the right shoe near where the lacing eyelets. I suspect that scrubbing with a sponge to get in the creases may be a bit too aggressive for these shoes.

I've stopped on the cleaning until I have a better method of continuing.

Here's some pics of the half-cleaned shoes:








Can anyone suggest a less aggressive method and product removed to get all the dirt out of the creases in the leather?

I appreciate any and all advice!
 

Grayland

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I may "scrub" a little bit with a very soft toothbrush, but they already look great right. Nice score!
 

Caydel

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Yes, I am necro-ing an old post of mine, but I recently pulled out these shoes again, and am still curious about the best way forward here.

As they sit, I don't really want to wear them as they still look 'dirty' from all the dirt in the cracks in the leather. However, I am somewhat hesitant to continue cleaning them, because I am concerned I am damaging the leather.

I'd really like to wear these shoes. I love the texture of the leather. I love their simple, tough construction. I love everything about them excep tthe 'dirt', and how unevenly distributed it is between the shoes.

Is there anything a company like B. Nelson or other can do to help bring these back?
 

Kahuna75

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Yes, I am necro-ing an old post of mine, but I recently pulled out these shoes again, and am still curious about the best way forward here.

As they sit, I don't really want to wear them as they still look 'dirty' from all the dirt in the cracks in the leather. However, I am somewhat hesitant to continue cleaning them, because I am concerned I am damaging the leather.

I'd really like to wear these shoes. I love the texture of the leather. I love their simple, tough construction. I love everything about them excep tthe 'dirt', and how unevenly distributed it is between the shoes.

Is there anything a company like B. Nelson or other can do to help bring these back?
Does not look like dirt to me but intended finish..try some Lexol maybe?
 

Caydel

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Does not look like dirt to me but intended finish..try some Lexol maybe?
In hindsight, I think you are right. But I've gone and ruined it now.

And yes, Lexol has been tried on these to even them out... no dice!
 

Kahuna75

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In hindsight, I think you are right. But I've gone and ruined it now.

And yes, Lexol has been tried on these to even them out... no dice!
not being able to tell for sure about the color but maybe getting some Chili colored or burgundy colored cream wax and working quickly wiping into the shoe then removing it before it is dry, should fill in all those crevices and return it to it's original style...
 

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