Jan 15, 2013

Repaired Shoe = New Shoe!

In this post, I wrote about a very beloved pair of shoes.  These were my first love in shoes so naturally over the years I’ve done all I could to take care of them.

But now it had finally come to the time where they needed something a bit more drastic. What I wanted was for the very pointed part of the toe to be trimmed down to a regular almond toe.  So, off I went to my trusted shoe guy.  

Before he could even give me an answer as to whether or not he would be able to do what I wanted, he had to painstakingly peel back the top layer of the leather from the underlying structural material. This had to be done in order for him to see what condition the bottom part of the shoe would be in and whether there would be enough leather left for him to work with. After several days of him working on it in his spare time - I soon learned that this was bit of a labour of love for him - heating the shoe to soften the leather and glue, peeling it back literally millimetre by millimetre, he finally told me that yes, he would try. But, he could not guarantee the end result. Did I still want to continue? I did... I had no doubt that he wouldn’t even start if he couldn’t do it.

At this point he had to create a new model for what the shoe would look like; after several foot measurements, he was ready to create a mold and... to start cutting! After one last “Are you sure?” the tip of the shoe came off. And the trimming, and the measuring began.

Finally, after over a month of working on them, he called me... for help.  At the bottom of the shoe, where the leather meets the sole, the original leather wasn’t strong enough so he had to augment it with new leather but, the new leather didn’t quite match the old.  And after trying out several combinations of their leather dye, he had been unable to match the finish on the shoe.

Considering the vast array of nail polish colours, they had the brilliant idea to use nail polish to touch up a few parts where the finish was uneven!  So, off I went to several stores until I finally found a colour that he liked. The polish got mixed in with his secret shoe making ingredients, they were put in an oven, they were buffed and sprayed and steamed and I don’t know what all but finally, a few days later, he called me again - this time to come have a look. And just look at the magic he performed!

Jan 10, 2013

Winter Care for Shoes and Boots

It is that time of year: cold, wet, snowy, icy... and salty.

This time of year it’s difficult to walk outside without ending up with salt on your shoes and boots. And when you have salt, you have salt stains and damage.

The best thing to do is to clean them right away.  

Daily Care:
1. Brush off any dirt and salt residue.
2. Wipe the entire shoe or boot with a soft, damp cloth.
3. Dry them off using a soft, dry cloth/towel.
4. Store in a dry place away from radiators or heaters.

This is of course assuming that they will only get dirty and wet and salted on your way home....

So what do you do when you had to trudge through salty slush on your way to work, run a few errands during the day, come home at the end of the day in more salty, dirty, messy slush which is now adding to the stuff that’s already dried on from the morning?

Salt Care:
If you notice any white or grey spots and lines that don’t come off by wiping with a wet cloth, you’ll need to take an extra step to get rid of those.  Mix about one part white vinegar with three to four parts water (diluted white vinegar is not harsh on leather; I prefer to use enough vinegar to only have to rub them down once instead of multiple times to remove the salt stains).

1. Follow steps 1-3 above: brush, wipe, dry.
2. Dip a cloth in the vinegar water and wipe the stains using soft circular motions.
3. Dry with a soft cloth or towel.
4. Check to make sure the white stains are gone once dry; repeat if necessary.
5. Condition with an oil such as Neatsfoot oil (from hardware or sporting goods stores) or spray with a leather protector.

If you’re wearing your boots and shoes outside in this weather, they are in need of extra TLC this time of year.

It doesn't matter whether you have 
a pair of boots that belong in a display to showcase their beauty or winter boots that are built for comfort, there is no excuse to not to give them the proper care they deserve. They will not only look nicer but also last much longer. 

Please note, these are instructions for regular top grain hide that has a smooth finish, not for suede and distressed leather.

Jan 3, 2013

How to Remove Salt Stains from Leather Shoes and Boots

Please note, these are instructions for regular top grain hide that has a smooth finish, not for suede and distressed leather.

1. Use a brush to remove all salt and dirt residue.

2. Create a mixture of one part vinegar and four parts water.

3. Dip a soft cloth into the water and vinegar mixture and rub a small area of the stain.

4. Dry with a soft cloth or towel then continue with another small area until complete.

5. Let the boots or shoes air dry for at least 30 minutes after you finish cleaning them then check to make sure the stains are gone. They may only show up after the leather has fully dried.

6. Condition the boots or shoes after they've completely dried, using either a natural oil or a specific oil for the type of leather your boots or shoes are made of. Regular conditioning throughout the winter will help strengthen the leather and keep them looking nicer and, most importantly, make them last longer.