After a few hours of dancing on the forest floor at a recent wedding my trusty Allen Edmonds McAllisters were looking quite rough around the edges. They were covered in dirt and scuffs and needed some serious attention before they were going to be work-appropriate again. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to breathe life back into a nice shoe.
I discuss my polishing routine for cleaning heavily-worn shoes here, but this was my method for the above pair:
- Remove all dust and dirt with a brush and cloth
- Apply leather conditioner (I used Saphir Renovateur)
- Brush off remaining conditioner, apply creme polish
- Buff out creme polish, apply thin layer of colored wax polish
- Polish with a horsehair brush and then a cotton cloth
- Touch up edges with edge and sole dressing
Don’t forget to wait at least 10 minutes between each step and you should be golden.
Saturday’s forecast in Minnesota: Thunderstorms with a chance of weddings
I spent a warm and wet weekend in Minneapolis for a friend’s wedding - this lightly lined, breathable coat was a lifesaver.
One Year Later: Allen Edmonds McAllister Wingtip
As I’ve mentioned before, men’s clothing enthusiasts often tout the importance of buying high-quality products, an ideal that I generally agree with. Of course, few of us have the funds to buy the best of the best of everything, so the process of finding and purchasing clothing and accessories becomes more of a decision of when to save and when to splurge. Even then, cost does not inherently imply quality, so determining where money is well spent can be difficult. This is a series of posts that show some of my purchases (both expensive and affordable) after a year or more of hard wear in order to display how they have held up over time. Only you can decide what is worth spending on and what isn’t, but the more information you have the better-informed your decision will be.
Although I always liked the idea of dressing well, I didn’t get into it seriously until graduate school. Being at that place in my life made me see that my days as a college student were numbered and that my future career was closing in (if I was lucky enough to get a job). For that reason I wanted to prepare ahead of time in order to get the most out of the small amount of money I had. As engineers - and Jesse Thorn - often say, “Fast, Cheap, Good: Pick Two.” I started hunting for deals on basic and versatile items like khakis and shirts so that I wouldn’t be blindsided at my first job. I made some foolish purchases, but overall it was a lifesaver when I began working and already had a small amount of solid items to turn to.
I digress. These shoes were one of my first purchases in preparation for my career. I bought them in like-new condition off of ebay before secondhand shoes started to get more expensive. I was the only bidder - they were about sixty bucks.
Restoring Old Shoes
As I’ve mentioned before, I recently inherited a few pairs of wonderful vintage shoes from my uncle and late grandfather. They are all high quality and have been taken care of well, but they’re 20-30 years old and are a bit rough around the edges. This pair is a nice burgundy plaintoe by Ferragamo that my uncle describes as his “dancing shoes.” Needless to say, they’ve seen some serious action. They still have some life in them but needed a bit of maintenance before they were going to look their best again.
Things you’ll need:
- an old, tired pair of high-quality shoes (no product can make cheap shoes look good)
- a clean cotton cloth (old shirts work well)
- Horsehair brush (or two)
- Leather cleaner
- Leather conditioner
- creme polish with a pigment that will resemble (or complement) your shoe’s color
- Sole edge dressing
Ready? Let’s get started.
For the Allen Edmonds fan that finds Walnut shoes too flashy and dark brown too muted: the new "Bourbon" color looks to be just right.
Many sizes of Allen Edmond’s Neumora are available on the ‘bay for $180, shipping included. This puts them at almost 50% off and makes them even cheaper than those Meermins everyone’s talking about (plus, you probably already know your size). According to the seller these are all first quality, not seconds. They also sport the new chisel-toe 333 last and have a nice elongated captoe, as opposed to the stumpy Park Avenue. These are in black, though, which will discourage plenty of the #menswear crowd. My guess is also that the monk phase is a bit post-peak at this point (considering the force with which it appeared), so we might start seeing more deals like this crop up online. Either way, you can see me trying on a brown pair here. In my brief experience with them I’d say they run true to size.
WIWT - Noting new to see here. Move along.
Shirt - Proper Cloth | Tie - RLPL (ebay) | Blazer - Boglioli | Chinos - Bonobos | Wingtips: Allen Edmonds (ebay) | Shades (in pocket) - Warby Parker Sinclair
By the way, I think oxblood is a highly underrated color for dress shoes - I find myself reaching for this pair much more often than I would have thought. These wingtips work very well with khaki, gray and off-white trousers, and really shine against deep navy colors (whether denim or dress pants).