Are my boots ruined? Please help me figure out how to restore them to their former glory. More than you ever wanted to know about my boots follows.
I was given an incredibly generous gift: expensive leather boots. I love them and they are amazing. Here they are
I immediately took them to be waterproofed because I wanted to take care of them and keep them nice for as long as possible. I did not realize that waterproofing them would not... saltproof them. It's been snowing in NY, so there's salt on the streets, and salt got on my boots and stained them.
Someone recommended a shoe place to me. I took the boots there to be cleaned. They fucked them up. I have no idea what they did to the boots but it stripped out the color from the leather. They guy told me he would just re-dye it and that it was somehow my fault because I... should have known that salt doesn't come out. OK, he re-dyed it, they were closer to the original color (which is still visible on the tongue, and is gorgeous) but the bottom of the boot where he did the most "work" was definitely ashy and off. I failed life's assertiveness test and just paid him.
Then I took the boots to a different shoe place, the one where they did the waterproofing originally (which they accomplished without damaging the boots or altering the color at all). I asked the guy there if there was anything he could do about the color and the salt stains, and he said maybe not but he could try using some kind of cream on the boots. Now I am a hardened skeptic, so I made him show me what the cream would do on a little test patch. It seemed to make the color a touch darker and that was it. OK! Great! When I picked them up today, the part he had rubbed with the cream was shining like a mirror. It feels hard to the touch. The top part of the boot is as soft and matte as ever. Fuck!
I don't know what to do. I feel like the combination of my ineptitude, and the apparently inappropriate products used by these two shoe guys, have completely ruined these amazing boots which I could never afford on my own and which looked fantastic.
Is there anything I can do? What should I have done or asked for in the first place?