Are you about to throw out your pair of leather shoes? Do they no longer look as good as they were when new?
Here's two top tips you must read before you throw them out!
1. Conditioning And Polish
Good chances are the leather you want to throw away is tired, dry and just looking old. However, you'll be surprised at how easy it is to bring quality leather shoes back to life.
- Use a leather conditioner such as Boot Black's Two Face Lotion to clean and re-hydrate the leather.
- After this, massage some pigmented shoe cream into the leather to condition and restore it. Brush the shoe when the cream has dried.
These simple steps will bring a Benjamin Button effect to the shoes and make them look better than new. Read our Leather Care guide as well as our Mirror Shine guide for more detail on how to really bring out the shine!
The Catch! Don't Waste Your Time on Bad Leather!
There is a catch in the Australian shoe market today. This 'quick fix' won't work on all shoes, especially commodity footwear. The reason is:
Commodity footwear are shoes made on scale using lower quality materials and construction methods. Cheap leather is used to lower the cost of production. The leather looks nice and shiny on the shelf, but it will rapidly disappoint after about a month of wear.
To understand why the leather begins to degrade so rapidly, it is useful to know the standard treatment of leather used in the production of commodity footwear. The upper layers, or grain, of the leather hide are sanded down and coated with heavy pigment and lacquer to remove natural blemishes and make the leather appear to be a higher quality than it actually is - this is called "corrected grain". As the shoe is worn, these artificial layers quickly loses its lustre and eventually the layers peel off or crack.
Other times, the leather's grain is loose and results in a shoe that forms premature, large and unsightly creases. Poor leather quality makes shoe polishing a rather unproductive activity.
Tip: Buy Quality To Look Good & Save Money
High quality leather is the complete opposite. With proper conditioning and care, it ages beautifully. A full-grain leather is the highest grade leather that has not been treated to remove defects. It develops unique, beautiful colours called a patina and the fibres in the unsanded, full grain leather stay strong.
You may think that you’ve scored a bargain by buying cheaper shoes, but in reality, you'll spend more money having to replace them once they’ve worn out. Why not buy quality that will not only look better as it ages, but also last for several years?
TGC only uses high quality, full grain French calf leather in all of their shoes. So, imagine beating up your favourite pair of Stitchdown Service Boots in the field, or setting up your next business meeting in our Cap-toes - no matter the activity, they will continue to look better with age.
If your shoes have eroded to the point you can see holes in the sole or the heel is now on a 45 degree incline with the ground, you may need to reconsider resoling or reheeling them at a reputable shoe repairer.
Recrafting your shoes not only gives them new life and saves you money, but it also means you’re being socially responsible to the environment. With millions of tonnes of shoes contributing to landfill each year, we can do our part by increasing the shelf life of our footwear by recrafting.
Check out what our friend Nathan Baxter from Baxter & Black has done with this pair of shoes!
The Catch! Not Worth It For Cemented Shoes!
Commodity footwear is usually constructed with glue in the absence of any stitching - also known as "cemented construction". This means that as the glue eventually loses its strength, the shoe loses its structural integrity and falls apart.
So, if you've bought a pair of these shoes, chances are the cost of recrafting the shoe will cost more than when the shoe was new. In addition, re-glued soles will never last as long as they were when manufactured. This leads to the unhealthy cycle of buying commodity footwear and contributing to landfill year after year, every time the shoes break apart.
Tip: Buy Quality Welted Shoes
Read our article that explores how to save thousands on shoes, and you'll be able to see that the cost of quality constructed welted shoes outweighs that of cemented footwear. The benefits also include the ever-improving look as it ages (mentioned in the previous tip) and you also keep the comfort of a well-loved shoe.
TGC uses the "Goodyear welt" (GYW) construction method, known in the industry to be the gold standard in making a quality, long-lasting shoe. The more labour-intensive process to make a GYW shoe means it costs more to make than the arts-and-craft approach of gluing. We have worked to bring this level of quality in shoe making to be as accessible and affordable as possible to the Australian market through our collections.
Conclusion: You're Worth It
While some companies will choose to compromise on either the leather quality or construction method of their shoes, TGC promises to deliver affordable, accessible and quality shoes to the Australian men. With proper conditioning and care combined with our GYW construction, your shoes will grow more and more beautiful over time and last for years.
So, throw out the cheap shoes one last time - we'll forgive you - and invest in quality welted footwear for all life's adventures.