Shoe care is another one of those things I was reading and reading about but always procrastinating on actually doing. Partly because there's such a variety of opinions and the products are pretty much black boxes in terms of formulation. Even after my order arrived, I was planning on watching a whole bunch of youtube videos. But alas I managed to stop myself and go more of a trial and error approach, hence starting on my monks instead of boots.
Process, revision zero:
- Brush with horsehair brush
- Clean with saddle soap + dauber
- Two coats of Saphir Renovateur, applied and buffed in with a spare sock, fully dried between coats.
I still have no idea if I did the cleaning correctly, but haven't ran into issues yet. It was surprising to see how much stuff the saddle soap removed, see the heel of the right shoe where I was not very thorough with my scrubbing.
Worry #2: crap the leather looks so much lighter and dull, should I have bought a cream polish?
Luckily Renovateur is amazing, it darkened the leather back to the original rich tan and can build up a small shine.
All photos above with only one layer of Renovateur. Below is a comparison of two layer (top) and one layer (bottom), which doesn't appear all that different to me even looking at it in real.
Worry #3: am I applying too much pressure / using too much product / not buffing it in enough?
I really wish I had shoe trees for this pair, it's currently such a pain trying to maintain the shape of the shoe while vigorously rubbing in the products. Hence the ghetto solution of stuffing it with paper. I've also quickly learned to spread the product out on the sock before dabbing it on the shoe since the product is wet enough to stain the leather. On the bright side, it takes so little product to do a full coat that my little jar will last years and years. Not a bad cost per use at all. Finally, all that polishing is really meditating, similar to how I feel while creaming butter and sugar. It's also very satisfying seeing the leather come back to life after it's been cleaned.