Sunday, 10 January 2010

Tools to take care

Protecting the shape of the Stingray Orwell's.

Over the last twelve months my addiction to quality shoes has spiralled and is well documented on the blog. Now that I have amassed a collection that I can be truly proud of I want them all to last for as long as possible and be value for money. Now, EJ knows about my addiction all too well and used this as a basis for my Christmas present as she succeeded in giving me the tools to look after my shoes. If we have learnt anything this year about the upkeep of footwear it is that shoe trees are vital. When we spoke to Nathan Brown at Lodger he declared that "a proper shoe tree will make sure your shoes last longer than anything else you could possibly do" and with this in mind every pair of Lodgers comes complete with a pair of bespoke shoe trees which are made from the original last used to make the shoes. Unfortunately not all shoe brands offer this service and aside from the ones which came with my striped oxfords, my other shoes were not protected ...until EJ ventured on to eBay for my Christmas present and found two wonderful but very different shoe trees. After a little searching, you can find a quality pair of second-hand shoe trees for a reasonable price. The above cedar pair fit my Stingray Orwells perfectly and I could not be more pleased knowing that the shape of my Stingray uppers now have greater protection.

Shoe tree or instrument of torture?

Now, the second pair of shoe trees initially appeared to be an instrument of torture but they are beautiful. Unfortunately they are a little small to stretch the bridge of any of my shoes but Susie has had her grubby mitts on them and they are currently inside of her Irregular Choice patent brogues. EJ continued the shoe protection theme throughout my stocking fillers and I now have a well stocked draw of leather and suede protection! I promise to research the best shoe shining tips over on the ever informative Gentleman's Corner (taking particular notice of the Value & Longevity column). To ensure that I am fresh and raring to go for the new week ahead I think it is time to visit my draw to get the slyvette cloth out for a spot of polishing...

Well stocked polishing draw.


Matthew Spade said...

that is quite a selection of polishes. with a collection like this you could set up a little business eh. "shine ya shoes sir"

Mr Brown said...

Unless you are fortunate enough to purchase bespoke shoes your shoes will be made from a common last. An approximation of most feet (in that size).

Thus, when you wear your new shoes for the first few times and 'break them in' what you are actually doing is shaping them to your specific foot.

Similarly using a shoe tree that isn't bespoke (to your foot) you are simply returning (or part returning) the shoe to it's common form.

On this premise the best thing to place in your shoes is newspaper or tissue.

Unfortunately I was given this advice by the (brilliant) crowd at Tricker's (after I'd bought a lot of shoes trees).

Tom said...

Thanks for posting this one. We are on the same boat here. I just started my shoe collection last year as well. Unfortunately, as a neophyte in shoe maintenance, my Prada loafers with leather soles have taken a beating. I won't do that again. Lesson learned. I am now considering building a shoe care kit myself, with the right polish for each leather and shade, with brushes and all. Mr. Brown, that's an interesting point. I'm actually thinking of using shoe trees as well. I've been using tissues that we're included in the shoebox and that's how I take care of them.

Anonymous said...

Great post Steve and shoe trees are always an amazing investment. It is suprising how few people have them but they make a massive difference.

And a message for Tom above - don't buy Prada loafers. The reason why your shoes have taken a beating is because they are Prada loafers - ie badly made and not designed for longevity. It's depressing to write this, but look at anyone who has Prada loafers older than a year old and then see a pair of shoes dying on their downers.


Style Salvage Steve said...

Mat: Ha, that is close to EJ's catchphrase..."Shine ya shoes guv'naaa?"
Mr Brown: Well said. I hadn't thought of that actually! However, I still love the look of shoe trees though, they come in all shapes and sizes so I will continue to collect them. Aesthetics aside, the real issue at hand is shoe protection and for this why not use a combination of shoe tree and newspaper? I've always found packing and unpacking newspaper to be a chore to be honest and this should get around the issue you have pointed out.
Tom: Good to hear and let us know how you get on with your shoe care.
Ernest: Thanks. I'm afraid I can't weigh in on the Prada loafers debate because I don't own any myself nor know anyone who has a pair so I have to take a back seat on this one.

Tom said...

Ernest, I really don't have much of an issue with my Pradas qualitywise. It's just my lack of knowledge that I used a leather-soled penny loafers out here in Stockholm. We have quite rough pebbly surface, so the soles are a little beaten up. The uppers are fine though and still in perfect condition, so I can still wear them, no problem.

Isabelle said...

EJ is a star, good present!

Good info here, polishing shoes was the only good thing I learnt in Brownies and I'm a bit of an obsessive.

Also, rubber pads on leather-soled shoes, is this essential anyone?


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