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Things To Know About Shoes: Part 2 - The Next 10
Gaziano & Girling shoes, courtesy of Skoaktiebolaget

Dear Readers,

Here is the 2nd part of my ‘Things to know about shoes.’ If you happen to missed the first 10, here they are. I hope that you enjoy the post and I will try and scrounge up another 10 by next week or the one after!

11. Soles wear out. They are not invincible. Even the best ones will wear out quickly if you over-wear them. If you live in a wet city and you walk a lot, expect your soles to need a replacement once a year (or less). Alternatively if you live in a dry area and don’t walk a lot (on concrete), well then count yourself blessed as you probably won’t need a resole for about every 3 years (or possibly more). The more shoes that you own and thus rotate, the longer it will be between resoles.

12. Learn your terminology. Not everything is a wing tip if it has a cap on it and not every dress shoe is a brogue.

Things To Know About Shoes: Part 2 - The Next 10
Ivan Crivellaro Tassel Loafers

13. When it comes to high quality shoe-care products, a little goes a long way and good results are built over time. Don’t cake it on all at once or else it will bring its own set of issues that are equally bad and hard to fix.

14. Never put wax polish straight onto a brand new shoe. You just might strip the finish. Leather needs time to wear in, even for polishing. You can put a light shine on a new shoe, but you must condition it first, simply to open the pores which then allows you to put the wax polish on. After one or two wears, can you then start to polish the shoe more heavily.

15. It is not the conditioner or polish that darkens your leather. That being, they do the darkening but it is not their fault. Leather darkens due to the nature of the leather i.e. the way in which it was tanned. All vegetable tanned leather darkens, no matter if you were to put neutral polish or anything else. So if you are darkening your tan leather shoes it is because of the leather, not the polish or conditioner.

Things To Know About Shoes: Part 2 - The Next 10
Shoes and patina by Dandy Shoe Care

16. Brown shoes go great with navy suits, no matter what anyone says. We no longer live in the Victorian Era where the streets were paved with mud and where upholding “the rules” was pertinent to your societal standing.

17. Leather is a natural product that was once living. That means that it will never be 100% consistent. From one pair to the next, the leather will not be the exact same even if it was made from the exact same hide.

Things To Know About Shoes: Part 2 - The Next 10
Masaru Okuyama shoes

18. Polish is not an agent that changes a shoe’s color. It can over time, but it will never be as permanent or efficient as dye. And if you attempt to use polish to do so, it will eventually come off and can ruin the original finish to your leather.

19. The more that you wear your shoes without allowing them to rest, the quicker they will break down. I have seen the best shoes break down far too early from excessive use. Have a minimum 3 pair rotation. If you can have more, then do so….

20. Burgundy/Merlot/Oxblood (etc.) shoes are the most versatile of all. Not black, nor brown.

Things To Know About Shoes: Part 2 - The Next 10
John Lobb oxfords in a dark merlot shade


11 thoughts on “Things To Know About Shoes: Part 2 – The Next 10”

  1. Re number 14.
    Never put wax polish straight onto a brand new shoe.

    I just took delivery of a pair of shoes last night. What should I do with them before wearing out for the first time?
    Had been planning to polish them until I read this.

    1. maybe I should clarify it better…what I meant is do not put wax polish as the “FIRST” thing….some people don’t use the conditioner which helps to open the pores and let the polish in and just go straight for the wax…that is an error…on a brand new shoe, you can give it a light shine, but I find it best to wear the shoes first to soften up/break in the leather which then allows for better polishing in the future… Enjoy your new shoes!

  2. Alexander Nurulaeff

    Hello Justin.
    Thank you.
    The shoes on the photo are made completely by Alexander Nurulaeff. It was my first pair of bespoke shoes that I have done on the advice of my teacher Giacomo Banzola of Calzoleria Giacopelli.
    Best regards.
    Alexander Nurulaeff

  3. As always, a great blog. I’ve had a dainite rubber sole put on my 6 year old Church’s grafton brogues for the winter. I’m very pleased with the results but have I committed a sin by swapping a leather for a rubber sole? It should be a lot longer before they need re-soleing again.

    1. thanks for the kind words Rich. I would never do so, but it is a case by case thing. if you live in a rough climate then it can make sense to…

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