new shoe care?

Discussion in 'The Haberdashery' started by mdunn, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. mdunn

    mdunn Moderator Emeritus


    I just got some fancy new black leather shoes. Ive really only had rubbish shoes previously, and was wondering if theres anything I should do to them before I wear them?

    Should I just shine them and go?

  2. Get a good quality leather conditioner. Condition the shoes before wearing them. Then polish with cream polish and wax polish. Invest in a pair of cedar shoe trees. Do not wear the same shoes every day. Invest in a pair of overshoes for the rain and snow. Keep them clean.
  3. The first thing you need to do is get them water-proofed with mink oil and polished at a shoe repair shop (not a shoe shine stand). Do this before you ever wear them. It will cost you, but it's worth it. I would normally recommend that you do it yourself, but since you have never had a nice pair like this before, I would recommend that you have a professional do this.

    If you do end up shining your own shoes be sure to use Meltonian Cream Shoe Polish (made by Kiwi but you can't tell from the container). Do not use the waxy paste (not even Kiwi branded pastes) and definitely do not use any of the liquids with sponge applicator. These will ruin your shoes in the long run.

    I agree with the previous poster about shoe trees. They will keep your shoes dry and prolong the life of your shoes. Make sure they are wooden shoe trees and not plastic ones so they absorb the moisture, and make sure to put the trees in right when you take your shoes off when they are still warm.
  4. Very good advice. If the shoes are well made and you take care of them properly, they will last longer and allow you to re-sole/recraft them a couple of times, giving them an even longer life. I have a pair of Allen Edmonds Park Avenues which I have had recrafted 4 times. And they still look great!
  5. When you polish with Meltonian Cream Shoe Polish, do you leave it on overnight then buff it off next morning?
  6. I like to use Meltonian Leather Lotion on my shoes.
  7. It's not necessary to leave it overnight. Just brush the shoes, then buff them with a soft cloth.

    If you're interested in having the shoes shine, rather than just having a soft "glow", you should use a paste shoe polish (like Kiwi) on a regular basis, rather than the Meltonian. I only use Meltonian on shoes with "grainy" leather that don't lend themselves to a high gloss.

    Regarding the leather protectors like mink oil and neatsfoot oil, if you have work shoes that you wear outside, walking though puddles and mud on a regular basis, the leather protectors are great stuff. I use mink oil on my work boots regularly. If you're talking about "dress" shoes, you're going to end up with a non-shiny (flat) finish on the shoes that pretty much runs counter to the dressy appearance you're looking for.
  8. +1 I wouldn't use mink oil on dress shoes.

    For new shoes, just hit them with a good leather conditioner, like lexol. Allow it to soak into the leather and wipe off the excess, then brush with a horsehair brush and apply cream or wax polish. Let the polish dry for 5 minutes or so, then brush off and then buff with a soft cloth.

    Wax polish will give a higher shine and more waterproofing. Cream polish will give greater depth, but less shine, and not as much protection against water. Saphir is by far my favorite polish.
  9. To clarify for polishing, I use cream polish, let it sit for a few minutes, buff it with my shine brush. Then I apply wax polish, let it sit for a few minutes, buff if with my shine brush, then buff it some more with an old t-shirt. There are also combo wax+cream mixed together polishes, such as the Allen Edmonds polishes that come in tubes.

    Leather conditioner is something you want to soak in for awhile. Sometimes I will leave it for a few hours before doing the rest of the polishing process. I'd probably leave it for at least 20-30 minutes.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2010
  11. Laz


    I just picked up a couple of pairs of fairly nice shoes a week ago. I have the correct polish, but after reading this post, I will need to pick up some leather conditioner for them as well.

    How often should I plan on polishing them? I was thinking every week would be a good goal. Is that too much or not enough?
  12. Rudy Vey

    Rudy Vey Vendor Contributor

    I always polish or wax my new shoes before I wear them. They go on shoe trees when not worn, but I let the sweat dry a bit before I put the show trees in - believe me I made my own experience there. From time to time, I reapply wax or polish and also use dressing on the sole sides. Before each wear, I use a horse hair brush and shine them over. You get a feeling when it is necessary to reapply wax or polish.
  13. Don't saddle soap your dress shoes. It can mess up the finish. Allen Edmonds has actually refused to re-craft shoes that have been saddle soaped.

    With polishing, sometimes you can get away with polishing once a week, then just using a damp cloth to dust, then brushing them with your horsehair shine brush to revive the shine. It all depends how nice you want your shoes to look.
  14. Good point. Sweat on leather can turn into mold inside the shoe. AE told me to allow the sweat to dry out before putting the shoe trees in.
  15. Dang this website. Now I gotta buy some shoe trees.
  16. Yeah, me too. Ok, so I'm going to go ahead and buy some Meltonian Leather Lotion & some of their polish (creme, not wax). I'll put the lotion on 1st then the polish: Hopefully, that'll be good. Just curious, anyone ever use or endorse Kiwi brand wax? I have a couple of cans laying around.
  17. Kiwi is fine but it isn't as good as stuff like Angelus, Lincoln, or the polish good companies like Allen Edmonds sell under their own brand. Angelus or Lincoln will shine up better and only costs like a buck more than Kiwi. A lot of shoe repair places will sell it. For really high end stuff, you can go for Saphir brand polish, but I haven't tried it.
  18. A decent wax polish is fine if used correctly. +1 on avoiding the "quick shine" crap liquid in the bottle with the sponge applicator...that stuff can't be good for shoes.

  19. Speaking of Meltonian, just snagged some Meltonian Leather Balm--not sure what "balm" is, but I'm guessing similar to conditioner. It was $5, so I'm not out much if it doesn't work (the lady said just use this, but I'm going to use this first, then apply a wax coat.)
  20. Alacrity59

    Alacrity59 Moderator Emeritus Contributor

    I can't find edge dressing near where I live so I use the crap liquid for edges of the sole and heel.

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