Well, you already bought your new pair of Goodyear construction shoes. Now, are you going to give them the necessary care so that they last and the price would be worth it? Or will you do the same as with all your other shoes and throw them away after two years without having barely brushed them in that time “because they are old”? A good pair of Goodyear construction shoes can last more than 20 years if you treat them properly. In this article we explain how to do it. In about 15 minutes, you can restore shoes to their original color and shine, as well as provide them with proper care that makes them look ALMOST like new. Keep in mind that this how we go about this, but it is by no means the only way that exists.
For the process you will need:
- A coarse bristle brush to remove stubborn dirt and dust.
- A soft bristle brush to remove surface dirt.
- A soft bristle brush to apply the cream.
- Clean, lint-free cotton cloths. An old shirt cut into strips does the trick.
- Cream and wax of the desired color.
- Renewing cream and oil for soles.
Everything you need to give your shoes a new life.
The care begins by removing the dirt and the remains of cream and wax that remain from previous polishes. To do this, remove the laces and insert the pins into the shoes. With the coarse bristle brush, remove any dirt that may be at the junction of the welt with the upper (the upper part of the shoe). Then, with the soft bristle brush, do the same on the cut.
In case there is an excess of cream and wax that you have not been able to remove with brushing, you can remove it with long and even strokes of a cloth that you have previously heated with a flame or an iron.
Important: The cloth will absorb the wax, so each pass will have to be done with a clean area of the cloth. If you insist on a part of the cloth that is already “dirty”, you run the risk of staining the shoe (waxes contain substances that, once in a liquid state due to the effect of heat, can penetrate the leather). Another option would be to apply Saphir's Renomat with a cloth. It must be done carefully and checking the effect it has on the leather. Renomat is a somewhat abrasive product that can lead to some color loss (especially in the case of museum calf and artisan patina). For extreme cases, there are processes such as the so-called “Swedish bath”. We repeat: this is only for extreme cases.
Removal of dirt with a coarse bristle brush
Sometimes the leather of the shoe appears dry. Lifeless. In such cases, it is advisable, before applying creams and waxes, to nourish it properly so that it regains its elasticity and shine. There are a wide variety of products for this purpose. We recommend Saphir's “Creme Universelle”. Simply apply a generous amount to a clean cloth and rub the surface of the shoe with it. The leather will initially appear darker due to the moisture in the cream. It's okay. Let it dry. Once you notice that the leather has absorbed the cream, rub with a soft bristle brush. Simply with that you will have already managed to breathe some spirit into the shoe. In fact, depending on the leather, it will not even be necessary to apply creams afterwards. It's also a quick way to keep your shoe in good condition without spending too much time on it, and something that can be done to a newly purchased pair of shoes when you don't know how long they've been in storage.
The shoes, at this point, are ready to be polished, which will lead to a restoration of the color that has been lost over time and to cover possible scratches on the leather.
Wrap a clean, lint-free cloth around the index and middle fingers of your right hand (your left, if you're left-handed). Take a little cream of the most similar tone to the shoes and apply it in circles on the shoe exerting a slight pressure. Try not to leave any area of the shoe uncovered. Don't apply too much cream. It's expensive. It's best to repeat the process applying a little more cream than having to remove the excess.
For the most difficult to access areas, such as the tongue or the joint between cut and turn, you can use a small brush. Also take the opportunity to apply a little cream to the edges of the sole, which tend to wear out and lose color, and to the welt. It is also the time to apply specific oil for soles. Let the cream rest for a long time so that the leather absorbs it (which is why it is advisable to work with several pairs of shoes at the same time; while one pair absorbs the cream, the pair we have previously worked on will be ready to be brushed) and later "elbow grease”. Brush and brush until you see the shine emerge.
Take some cream, and go crazy.
Make it easier on yourself with a brush for the most difficult areas.
If you see that after a good chunk of time brushing, shine has not yet been achieved, you can apply cream again. You may have applied too little. The cream is expensive, but not that much.
While, as we have pointed out before, a cream of the color of the leather should be used (if there is not one of the same tone it will always be better to apply one of a lighter tone so as not to "dirty" the shoe), it is always possible to experiment with other colors to achieve a special patina. Thus, burgundy creams can be applied to a brown shoe that is a bit flat, blue creams to a black one ... It is an easy and simple way to give the shoe some depth and personality.
Once the previous process is finished, it is time to apply the wax. It is not something strictly necessary (it does not nourish the shoe), but aesthetically the shoe gains a lot and, in addition, it is somewhat more protected from the elements. Wax is applied in the same way as cream but in very, very small amounts.
A shoe like new
Sometimes, however, we want something more. We want the shoe to be impeccable. Give the toe that patent leather shine that always appears in classic movies. In such cases you can do a glaçage.
A glaçage is not complicated, but it requires time and patience. Time because it's not done in three minutes. Patience because it usually doesn't come out on the first try. Nothing that can't be solved with practice.
We will wrap our fingers with a clean cloth again. We'll take a small amount of wax and distribute it over the tip of the shoe with circular movements pressing firmly to heat the wax well so that it penetrates the pores.
We'll go over it three or four times, or as needed, like this until we confirm that the pore has been covered. We'll let it dry.
When you have achieved the desired sheen, use a pair of hose to rub gently but quickly, first on the toe and then from the toe towards the instep and backs of the shoe to finish bringing out the sheen.
Rub gently, but fast.
Galea Bespoke Terranova final result
Very important. When you see the desired sheen, you will be tempted to do a glaçage all over the shoe to get that shine you see in some advertising photos.
DO NOT DO IT.
Keep in mind that with the wax and the water what we have done is create a thin film. Like the icing on a cake. And what happens to icing when you touch it? Yep, it crumbles. The same will happen if you do it on a shoe. Remember that the shoe is subjected to bending movements all the time. Imagine what the glaçage will look like on the lower part of the instep as soon as you take a step. You don't want that.
As I said: do not despair. A glaçage does not always come out the first time. It takes practice. But a few Saturdays working on your shoes, before your apéritif, and you'll be able to have a few pairs that will deserve to appear on any Instagram account.