Stage 1: Once you have bought them
Immediately after you have bought your shoes they are most vulnerable. Though they look new and shiny, they will be dry, having spent the recent part of their lives in a storeroom. At this stage the leather uppers will mark easily, with the potential to leave permanent scars on the shoes. Treat them as follows:
Put the shoes on their shoe trees.
Open the shoe polish you intend to use on the shoes.
Take a soft cotton cloth, drape it over your hand and make a point of your fore and index fingers.
Work the shoe polish with your finger, making it warm and pliable. The softer the polish the easier the process and the better the result. Do not heat the polish, as it will warm unevenly and you will get an uneven shine on the shoe upper.
Once the polish has softened enough to work (you will get a feel for this), use your finger “point” to gather up some polish and polish it into the shoe.
Now polish the shoe all over in this way. The trick to this is to work the polish into all the seams of the shoe, especially the heal seam and the welt seam (where the upper meets the sole). Be generous here, because you want to lubricate and seal these seams against the elements. Do not worry how the shoe looks at this time, because you will polish them off later.
Continue until you have polished the whole shoe. When you are done place the shoes in a cool dry place, preferably out of direct sunlight and leave them for 24 hours, for the polish to soak into their shoes.
At the end of this time polish them off as follows:
Take a medium bristle shoe brush which is appropriate for the colour of the shoe (if you have a brush that you have used for black shoes do not use it on brown shoes, for example). Do not use a hard brush as this point.
Brush the shoes gently, to brush off the polish residue.
Get a soft cotton cloth. Do not use the cloth you applied the polish with. Once again, make sure it is appropriate; do not use a cloth that you have used for black shoes on brown shoes.
Buff the shoes gently but firmly with the cloth. Buff them across the long axis of the shoe (across the toe) and also with the long axis of the shoe, along the vamp and facing.
You will get a soft shine as the leather polishes up. This is an appropriate finish at this stage of the shoe’s life. Over time you will (if you want) be able to buff the shoes to a high shine.
This may sound like a lot of work, but you only do it once and it is important to do this for many reasons.
Firstly it will add years to the life of the shoes. By waxing the shoes and leaving them to rest you give the leather a chance to absorb the oils of the polish and become more supple. The shoes will keep their shape much better and be much less likely to tear along points of tension and especially around the stitching.
Secondly, if you do this the shoes will be so much easier to wear-in. New shoes that have been waxed properly have so much more “give” in them and are easier on the feet from the outset.
This advice applies to all leather shoes. To view the huge range on offer from Bradshaw and Lloyd visit www.bradshawandlloyd.com where you will find:
Bradshaw and Lloyd shoes.