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Help me protect and preserve my brand new leather shoes
January 24, 2013 10:51 AM   Subscribe

I just bought a pair of these Grenson Stanley Wingtips. How do I care for them?

I also bought a cedar shoe tree, Grenson Neutral-colored shoe cream and a Grenson brush. I also have a tub of Dr. Marten's Wonder Balsam. This article seems really helpful: http://www.whatmakesaman.net/wordpress/2008/09/21/10-classic-english-shoemakers-part-1-introduction/

However, I don't totally grasp some of the concepts...Polishing vs. buffing vs. brushing, wax vs. cream vs. polish, etc. Could you guys break down and perhaps clarify how to go about protecting my brand new shoes, as well as how to protect them over time? Any other advice or suggestions on products to use would be super helpful!
posted by rbf1138 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
This, from Put This On might be of assistance.
posted by ndfine at 11:03 AM on January 24, 2013


1. Brushing is what you do to get ordinary day-to-day dirt off the shoes. Supplement with a damp cloth if there's serious mud/grit/salt. Keep the brush and the shoe trees where you take your shoes off when you come in, or you can easily get lazy about it. (Or I can, anyway.)

2. "Polish" can be cream or wax - it's a generic term.

3. People have very different opinions on how much and how often to polish, and whether you need to "strip" the old wax off your shoes every so often. I polish fairly lightly and have never found this necessary.

4. I polish my shoes every couple of weeks (realistically this should be "as often as needed", but I actually only get to it every couple of weeks). I wipe them gently with a damp cloth and use the brush around the welt to loosen any dirt or grit that is stuck there. I make sure to clean all the little interstices of the shoe. I personally apply polish using a cloth - unless the shoes are brogues. You'll want a tiny polish brush because otherwise you either won't polish the brogued bits enough or you'll get lumps of polish in them. I use a thin layer of cream polish, sometimes followed by a thin layer of wax polish if the shoes will be exposed to bad conditions. I let the cream polish dry completely and buff off the excess before applying the wax. After the second coat, I let the shoes rest overnight and buff them in the morning. I do not go after a super-high-gloss, which requires a lot of fussing with water and multiple coats of wax. I also use either polish or edge dressing to touch up the edges of the soles, which will fade with wear.

5. If I were being really responsible about new shoes, I'd first apply a coat of a leather conditioner like Saphir renovateur and then apply an inaugural polish.

6. I am told that every so often one should sand the shoe trees as the top layer of the wood becomes slightly dirty/oily. But that's probably a biannual task.

If you walk or bike a lot in these shoes, they will look it - not dirty or cracked, but not the perfect shiny creaseless "shoe porn" that people post on styleforum. Those guys wear their shoes only to the office or for a little light city walking.
posted by Frowner at 11:06 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a similar pair of shoes from Allen Edmonds and I do nothing besides never wear then two days in a row, always uses cedar shoe trees, and get them shined about every 6 months. Three years in and they're better than ever. I like them a little beat up though.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:09 AM on January 24, 2013


I'll second what frowner says other than to add if the shoes are scuffed or anything usually just a quick coat of renovateur, a brush and some vigourous polishing with a cloth is all you need, no polish.

Trees are obviously mandatory.
posted by JPD at 11:31 AM on January 24, 2013


Would also agree on not wearing shoes more than two days in a row, using a shoe tree, keeping it clean and one more item: going to a cobbler and spending a few dollars (or pounds) to get heel taps put on.

Congratulations on getting a solid pair of shoes that will last for 20 years if not the rest of your life.
posted by scooterdog at 11:36 AM on January 24, 2013


I bought a pair of Grensons in 1986, still wear them occasionally and will likely leave them in my will! Kiwi wax polish as required and wear them at least once a week to stop them drying out and cracking.
posted by HarrysDad at 11:43 AM on January 24, 2013


Thanks! Just purchased a small, round dauber brush and some of that Saphir conditioner from http://www.hangerproject.com/closet/shoe-care/saphir-leather-cleaners-and-conditioners.html
posted by rbf1138 at 12:52 PM on January 24, 2013


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