“Being passionate about shoes does not mean you just buy them”
A shoe is a sign of true love. The pleasure of the purchase is never a complete pleasure. The foot will have to adjust to the shape of the shoe, while the colour of the leather still does not show all its different shades. The whole thing feels a little stiff like a soulless body. Yet gradually, the magic comes alive and the beloved begins to pursue its lover’s wishes. It is no longer an anonymous pair of shoes, but a part of yourself you display to others. The real Lover isn’t found in the way he chooses his shoes, but in the way he looks after them. Sometimes, shoppers discover great craftsmen but they ignore their craftsmanship. The one who is truly in love must be demanding and uncomplaining. Shoe care entails applying essential products (creams and polish) and individual methods. And polishing is by no means a boring practice. You can’t have two identical finishes, thus creating two identical shades. So you can never have two identical pairs of shoes. A proper mixture of products can lead to unexpected and astonishingly colourful effects. When properly looked after, the shoe can look gorgeous. When mistreated and neglected, it may lose its own lustre in a few months. “After the shoe” is a set of simple but helpful guidelines on how to take care of shoes.
- The shoe trees
This is a tool which helps the shoe maintain its original axis hence putting the leather in the best condition to dry evenly. By keeping the shoe in its original shape, the shoetree protects the leather from developing flaws and is a suitable substitute for the shoe last. If you do not make use of a shoetree, the shoe may become increasingly malformed, consequently losing its original design. Quality shoe trees are made of cedar wood. We discourage using patent shoe trees: patent surface does not allow wood transpiration and the humidity which is not absorbed reappears on the shoe.
- The shoe polish
We strongly discourage the use of products from non-specialized stores, as well as using products which create gloss effects: they are generally considered inappropriate. We also do not recommend products such as tubes of cream polish or bottles of liquid polish that comes with a sponge brush at the tip. Shoe-polish products containing chemicals are also of low quality: silicone obstructs leather absorption of humidity; fluoride is water-resistant, but keeps the shoe temperature unusually stable; kerosene is a hydrocarbon which burns the leather. Last but not least, paraffin clogs the leather’s pores. The real quality polish is beeswax. Its aim is to soften, make waterproof and burnish the leather. It should be applied soon after you purchase your shoes. If left in the box, they won’t be able to breathe and so the leather will become fragile. Feel free to make use of beeswax everyday, even with the shoes you seldom wear. During wintertime, polish summer moccasins.
- The shoe cream
Customers get often confused with shoe cream and shoe polish and for this reason they substitute one for the other absent-mindedly. Shoe cream, actually, has a very specific purpose as it works like a detergent. Lanolin – an emulsion of water and milk – and turpentine are the two compounds. Compared to polish, it includes more vivid colours. The cream emphasizes the colour of the shoe. It should be used when the shoes’ colour starts fading and, unlike polish, not too often, say, three times a week.
- The conditioner
It is very similar to the cream, with a plus: it contains mink oil. It is worth using it with stiffer shoes or boots since it helps the leather absorb more fat. We suggest using specific conditioners for suede.
- The soap
Some make unrestrained use of soap. Caution: it contains glycerine and the colours may fade if it is too frequently used. Soaps such as balms or ointments should only be applied to certain footwear: football shoes, mountain boots. On shoes which are not really weather-exposed, fat goes rancid and damages the leather.
- The sealing products
It is a common habit to use these products which are quite functional but also dangerous. Fluoride obstructs the complete penetration of polish essence. Polish is certainly regarded as the best sealant.
To dry the soles, it is recommended not to leave the shoes on the floor as they would not be able to breathe. Place them in supine position. Never put damp shoes under unnatural sources of heat. All the aforementioned suggestions are still ineffective unless a principle is followed: change your shoes everyday. Even the best manufacturers are unable to avoid the premature wearing out of the shoes if appropriate time for drying isn’t allowed. The leather becomes limp, loses abrasion resistance and consistency.
- Further instructions
– Polishing should take 45 min approximately.
– Remove laces and shoe trees. Apply a dark cream across the heel and all around the shoe using a toothbrush. If the leather is perforated – for instance, an oxford with grain toe – spread a small amount of cream on the brush using a spatula. When the signs of wearing out become perceptible, apply the cream and leave on overnight. The next day, apply a second coat.
– Wait about 20 min before polishing. Grip a very soft cloth between your thumb and forefinger. Do not rub the shoe, just polish it softly. For accentuated gloss effects, add a drop of water to the polish.
– Apply the polish with gentle, circular movements. Alternate polishing from one shoe to the other in order to allow the polish to dry.
– When the shoe starts getting a burnished look, slowly reduce the amount of polish and add a little more water.
– Complete finish by polishing the shoes with a nylon fabric.
– Remember that this treatment must not be applied regularly.
– For standard results, do not use water except on the toe which should always have a shiny finish.