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The right shoe care methods for every gentleman

Shoe Care Guide

Nowadays, a gentleman has several utensils available, which may well be regarded as modern knights' armors.

These undoubtedly include the custom-made sartorial suit, as well as the right pair of welted shoes – for example by Bontoni, Saint Crispin's or Carmina. That is why today's post is all about footwear.

As each man will know, shoes wear off. It is irrelevant whether it is the design Goodyear, Blake Rapid or Norwegians. The fact remains that after regular and frequented use, the shoes wear themselves out. This is of course primarily due to the fact that the footwear is subjected to daily heavy load.

All the more important, it proves that quality welted footwear should not only deal with the right shoe care products, but should also rely on the right shoe care methods.

Thus the beloved Saint Crispin's can remain decades, as Mr. Jondral can tell you straight from first hand experience.

With the proper shoe care you do not only retain the exterior of the shoe and the first-class comfort of welted shoes, but "refine" your shoe by the patina on the leather surface.

Thus your Goodyear or Bologna shoe by Bontoni & Saint Crispin's can shine in a Rembrandt suspicious patina.

The following passages will tell you how!

Shoe wax, shoe polish & co.

Apart from the different shoe shapes like Brogue, Oxford, Spectator, Colonial, Loafer etc., a gentleman also knows the three types of leather that are used in the production. These are: suede, smooth leather and cordovan, while the latter requires a special shoe care.

For all shoe and leather goods, regular and thorough cleaning is the basis of every success in the shoe care process. Michael Jondral especially recommends dry cleaning.

The wet cleaning should be reserved for particular incidents to not unnecessarily change the shape of the shoe or worse, damage the shoe. In most cases and with proper use of the dry cleaning, your welted trinkets quite simply do not necessarily need wet cleaning.

For all types of shoes leather, we recommend the following products as standard equipment:

  • Suede brush
  • Shoe brush
  • Cloth for applying creme / wax
  • Crepe brush
  • Palm wax shoe creme / Hard wax creme
  • Shoe pomade
  • Impregnating spray for suede leather

As the gentleman possibly already knows, the dry cleaning is done by simply brushing off the dust and dirt with a horsehair brush.

It is equally a simple but effective way to keep the shoes clean every day. By brushing with a special horsehair brush, you can even bring your shoes to shine again with a few hand moves, without having to repeatedly apply the shoe pomade or shoe polish.

The right shoe care products

For beginners, the variety of shoe care products often seems overwhelming due to its great number of different products.

Forget the all the water-based, modern, nano sealing shoe pomades and creams from the tube! The only true shoe polish, which you'll ever need, is the classic palm wax shoe polish.

These come in classic tin cans, while the tin can is an unmistakable trademark of all hard wax creams, no matter from which brand -  Burgol, Saphir or Turm's.

By the way, the modern shoe care products are only buyable in tubes, because the large amount of water would corrode the tin cans.

Among connoisseurs of shoe care, the strict motto is that no other shoe care products enable a higher gloss and especially wear resistance than hard wax creams from a tin can.

Maintaining your shoes can be completed by shoe pomade or by shoe polish. These, you need to apply every few months to return to its suppleness by the addition of color pigments and nourishing oils.

The right form of applying shoe care

Taking care of the shoes is easier than you think: After you have removed the shoe from the worst of the dirt - best, as described with a horsehair brush - apply the right shoe polish with a lint-free cloth. If you do not find a lint-free cloth, you can use an old T-shirt or old linens.

If you want to impart a patina for your shoes, you can also reach for a darker shade of shoe polish. There is no need to worry, because there is always a way back, as long as you use a hard wax cream that has some amount of solvent. Due to the solvent, paint residues can be removed again from the high-quality leather.

Whoever has less experience with the shoe care, should study and test the effect of the shoe care product in an inconspicuous place: e.g. the shoe tongue.

The most important rule for beginners is, however, to apply as little shoe polish as possible.
Rub it into the entire shoe - even the edges of the sole. You can use shoe polish application brushes to reach the small interstices. Hence, the life of your shoe gets extended as the seams do not start to brittle.

For professionals: Water polishing

Have your ever wondered how the toes of the shoes by Saint Crispin's oder Bontoni shine so much?

At this point the mystery is revealed: water polishing.

Something that the US-American Navy Seal learns first in training, is also part of the knowledge repertoire of every gentleman.
That is how you can give your shoe treasures a unique polishing with patina in no time. For this you need no more than a hard wax shoe polish by e.g. Burgol and a little tap water.
Take a soft piece of cotton cloth, then firstly dip it into the shoe creme and secondly into the water.
With this, you now rub evenly with circular movements the toes of your shoes. It requires patience, because you need to rub the toe much longer than usual. But after some time and due to the water and the heat generated by friction, a mirror-like shine appears on the leather surface!
With the words of Hemingway: "There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.", Michael Jondral and his team wish you a lot of success and fun with your shoe care procedures!