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Over the years, I have seen a lot of questions about museum calf and how to shine it. Allow me to share a couple of pointers here so that maybe your questions can be answered in one post:

  1. Museum Calf is a box calf with a pre-dyed patina like effect on it, giving it its marbled look. It is not an actual patina. It is drum dyed, just like black box calf
  2. You can condition it with Renovateur, but do not condition it too much. You cannot use Renomat on it. You will strip the ‘patina effect’ and you will not get it back.
  3. It has two shades to it, light patches and dark ones. This can be manipulated by polish. If you prefer to enhance the lighter patches, use a polish that is lighter. That can be neutral or one shade lighter. But do not use two shades lighter. For example, in the dark brown museum calf shown, I used a mid-brown to bring out the ‘under-tones.’ But do not use a tan polish on a dark brown museum calf. You will leave traces of light residue (really as neutral does too). I always prefer to use one shade lighter, as shown.
  4. Always condition your museum calf shoes before adding wax to it. Even if new. (Here I cheated a bit to make the post, but should have conditioned them first). It helps it absorb and accept the wax polish
  5. Too much dark cream polish will take away your museum effect. Wax is more difficult to achieve that so it is less risky for ‘ruining’ your patina effect. But that is not to be afraid of using cream polish. But always use sparingly
  6. Never ever try and strip your museum calf shoes with any kind of insolvent. You will easily remove the finish.


Saphir products, among many other great products in the industry, work well with building up your shine on your Museum Calf shoes as well as maintaining them. There is no better product than Saphir Renovateur and that is what will help you continue to maintain a brilliant shine on your shoes, giving the nutrients that the leather needs to not dry out your leather over time (which is what wax polish does). Follow these 6 simple steps to get the most out of your museum calf shoes.


10 thoughts on “Shining Museum Calf – With Saphir”

  1. Hey Justin. I read this blog a little late and ended up applying dark brown cream and wax on my dark museum brown. Haven’t seen drastic diffence but, if I want remove it and re apply the mid brown, then what would be the right procedure since you advised not to apply renomat!

    Thank you

    1. Justin FitzPatrick

      Hello Karm

      At this point it is fine, you do not need to remove anything. Just wear the shoes until they need another polish and then use the mid brown. There is nothing wrong with using dark brown for both, it will just deepen it is all, not ruin it

  2. Hi Justin.
    I have my first museum brown Chelsea boots and love the effect.
    I understand, you prefer wax over cream. But what is wrong going with a cream that matches the lightest tones in the effect?
    Im afraid, the wax can crack at the flex points and look bad when worn.
    Thanks for your advice.

  3. Hi Justin
    Just came across this very helpful post and have a question.
    I’ve just picked up a pair of burgundy museum calf oxfords. If I mirror polish the caps and they crack or I need to re-do them for some reason, how can I strip off the old polish without Renomat or something similar?


    1. Justin FitzPatrick

      Glad that you enjoyed the post James. As per your question, just brute force with a horsehair brush and some elbow grease will take off the excess wax

  4. Thanks so much for the post—there is a ton of information on the internet for shoe care that is hard to tell if it applies to museum calf.

    Re: this post and your video on not conditioning new shoes, I recently got dark brown/burgundy museum calf Oxfords from TLB Mallorca for my wedding; they look great out of the box. My plan was to wear them around the house a bit during the week to break them in just a bit (~10 hours), and then wear them to the wedding, not conditioning or using wax until later. Is that a good plan?

    1. Justin FitzPatrick

      Happy to help. And yes that is a good plan. TLB is a relatively young company with good turnaround so I doubt the shoes are sitting around for long.

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