There are many ways to polish a shoe and no end of techniques, many very personal to the polisher. One technique that produces a very smart result is “Bulling”. This creates a high shine and is usually done on the toes. In the States it’s referred to as a Spit Shine but I think Mr. Stuart Robertson of Ede and Ravenscroft Edinburg presents the process in a much more civilized way.
I think we would all agree that the purchase a quality pair of shoes is an "investment" in our feet as well as our wardrobe. And like any investment it needs protecting. Thankfully this is not a difficult task. Perhaps the single most important and easiest step we can take is to insert wooden shoetrees into the shoes when they’re removed.
Why? During the day our feet perspire, a natural fact. The trees draw the perspiration away from the leather lining and hold the shoes in place as they dry. If you have ever seen a pair of shoes that are cracked at the "break" there is a good chance it is due to "tree negligence". Left empty the leather contracts while drying. Once the shoes are worn again the leather must expand, over time, as this process repeats the leather begins to breakdown and crack.
It is also important that the trees fit the shoes properly. If the trees are too large the shoes will be stretched out of shape and if too small they will not maximize their intended purpose. We sell trees made by the manufacturers that are "last and size specific". These are the best trees for the shoes because the shoe is put back on its last to regain its shape. If you have your own trees try and find a shape and size that is closest to the last of the shoe. Using similar trees is better than not using trees at all.
Gaziano & Girling
We thought you might find this interesting. The Joh. Rendenbach Jr. Tannery has been producing oak bark sole leather since 1871.
So what is it exactly?
It’s leather tanned using the classical oak-bark method, obviously. A naturally pure tanning method taking place in old, three-meter deep oak lined pits. This method uses exclusively vegetable tanning agents in the form of barks and fruits. The process normally lasts between nine and twelve months, depending on the hide thickness. The leather is tanned without mechanical movement, without raising temperatures and without adding chemical catalysts.
Besides other advantages, this proves to be very lightweight due to the long tanning duration ensuring that the hide absorbs only the amount of tanning agent absolutely necessary. Oak-bark tanned leather possesses unique properties: it is extremely hard wearing, tough, as well as flexible, making a comfortable sole of outstanding solidity, standing out through its appealing surface and a warm woody color. Oak-bark tanned sole leather is also:
– Highly water-repellent
– Especially breathable
– Absorbs perspiration
– Deodorant and antiseptic
– Prevention against foot diseases
– Completely bio-degradable
Think about that next time you try on a pair of Edward Green’s or Gaziano & Girling’s.