journal: lwb

Alden x Leffot Longwing, Navy CXL and White Calfskin

Spectator shoes date from the nineteenth century but reached the height of popularity during the 1920s and 1930s. An enduring classic with loads of style, these spectators pair perfectly with seersucker, linen, and cotton. You’re guaranteed to turn plenty of heads as quite the dandy in a pair this spring.

Barrie Last, Navy CXL/White Calfskin, Double Waterlock Soles

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Alden x Leffot Longwing

Now available: Alden x Leffot Cooney pre-order and Alden x Leffot tan suede LWB pre-order

Our Alden x Leffot Cooney boots and Alden x Leffot tan suede longwings are now available to pre-order. We are accepting pre-orders online and in store.

We are will also accepting requests for non-stock sizes by email only. The deadline for non-stock size requests is Wednesday, February 25, 2015, or while space is available.

The number of pairs on these pre-orders is limited, and orders will be accepted while quantities last. Orders are on a first-come, first-served basis.

We suggest that you view the terms of our Alden pre-order policy. For more information on how the pre-order process works, view our Alden pre-order guide.

Alden x Leffot Cooney, Aberdeen Last, Snuff Suede, Flex Soles
Alden x Leffot Longwing, Barrie Last, Tan Suede, Flex Soles

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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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