journal: lwb

The Brownout by Nick Horween

From time to time I ask guests to post an entry that’s of interest to me and hopefully to you. This is a re-post from 2009 by Nick Horween which, IMHO is a very interesting discourse on the effect of sunlight and polish on shell cordovan. I really love these Longwings…..

The last post featured a picture of some old longwings that generated a fair amount of questions regarding patina, polishing, and the general care of Shell Cordovan.  Maybe I should say re-generated, as we do get a fair amount of inquiries on the subject.   In response, this will be the first in (at least) a three part series addressing these topics (and we’ll get on to something other than just shoes in the future – so if shoes aren’t your thing don’t give up on us).

Someone had recently asked if there was “a way to make shoes patina faster?” The short answer is, no.  The long answer is, kind of.

They both started as the same color...

They both started as the same color…

Patina, at least in my mind, is something that is produced by age and the level of care.  How much sun the leather receives, how often it is polished, the climate, and an array of other factors will effect how a shoe (or a piece of furniture) will wear over time.  The first picture in this post is two different shoes both made with our Color #8.  The only difference (besides style and shoemaker) is that I left the Cap Toes in the sun for a couple of months.  Both pairs have been well worn, but to the extent that the shoes on the left have lightened is very dramatic.  I could have reduced the exposure if I’d wanted them to lighten less.

Same color, different shoe, different exposure.

Same color, different shoe, different exposure.

The lightened shoes, now polished.

The lightened shoes, with the shoe on the left polished.

In the picture above of the cap toes, the shoe on the left has been conditioned and then simply polished with a burgundy paste wax – the first picture in the post is also the polished shoe next to the longwing.  You can see that the polish and conditioner have re-darkened the shoe to a degree, but it is still very light compared to the original color.  The fading and then polishing has yielded yet another color with marked highs and lows.  I find the new color appealing but it may not be for everyone.  Also, this doesn’t necessarily fit my definition of a true “patina,” but it does illustrate the effect that wear and exposure has on shoes.

The same color again, the left is #8 after about 4 months of direct sunlight.

The same color again, the left is #8 after about 4 months of direct sunlight.

As a disclaimer, I do not really recommend doing this”.  As some people have heard or read, the “lighter” and “darker” colors of cordovan are that way for a reason.  The leather, being a unique medium, has highs and lows in terms of natural color.  The darker shells are many times that way because this makes for the most uniform finished product.  As our shells are stained with fully aniline stains (meaning no pigment to provide coverage of any kind), fading your darker colored shells may cause these color “differences” to become detectable, if they even exist at all.

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Alden x Leffot pre-orders

Three Alden x Leffot pre-orders are now available: the Atom Blucher in burnished tan, a LWB in black alpine grain, and a chukka in brown CXL. Arrival is “anticipated” in fall/winter 2014, though it may be longer.

Pre-orders will be done in two stages. Stock D and E widths can be ordered with a non-refundable, non-transferable 20% deposit through our online shop. You will be contacted once the shoes arrive for final payment.

Sizes that are not available on our pre-order page can be requested by contacting us via email at info@leffot.com by Thursday, June 19th. We will advise you if Alden can make a pair in your requested size. We hope this policy makes it easier for you to get the Alden makeups in sizes that are difficult to find.

Please note that the number of pairs in this pre-order is limited. Orders and non-stock size requests are taken on a first-come, first-served basis, and will be accepted while quantities last.

To see our full Alden pre-order policy, click HERE.

Alden x Leffot Atom Blucher, Burnished Tan Calfskin, Single Leather Soles
Alden x Leffot LWB, Black Alpine Grain, Crepe Soles
Alden x Leffot Chukka, Brown CXL, Crepe Soles

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Viberg Service Boot and Alden LWB Pre-Orders

The Viberg Service Boot Pre-Order in Brown CXL has sold out. Arrival is “anticipated” in March/April 2014. To see our full Pre-Order Policy, please click HERE.

Viberg’s Service Boot is a tough captoe boot that’s designed to get dirty and stand up to the elements. It’s inspired by footwear from Viberg’s archives, so it embodies their tradition of style as well as the lasting quality that the brand represents. Made in Brown CXL on Dainite soles, this boot will survive as many nasty days as you can put it through.

We’re also accepting pre-orders for our Alden x Leffot Longwing in Tobacco Chamois. Arrival is “anticipated” late spring 2014, however it may be longer.

Pre-orders will be done in two stages. Stock D and E widths can be ordered with a non-refundable, non-transferable 20% deposit through our online shop. You will be contacted once the shoes arrive for final payment.

Sizes that are not available on our pre-order page can be requested by contacting us via email at info@leffot.com by Friday, January 10th. We will advise you if Alden can make a pair in your requested size. We hope this policy makes it easier for you to get the Alden makeups in sizes that are difficult to find.

To see our full Alden pre-order policy, click HERE.

Viberg Service Boot, 2030 Last, Brown CXL, Dainite Soles
Alden Longwing, Barrie Last, Tobacco Chamois, Commando Soles

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pre-orders