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Tag: genuine horween shell cordovan

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.

Horween Shell Cordovan Watch Straps

We’ve recently received a restock of our popular cordovan watch straps. We all know that Horween Shell Cordovan leather is ideal for making beautiful, enduring footwear, but you may not have realized that its characteristics make a magnificent watch strap as well.

Available both lined and unlined, in a wide variety of colors, these straps are simple, durable, beautiful, and above all, comfortable. The strap will maintain a subtle luster throughout its lifespan, and gain continued character as it ages.

Check Availability HERE.

Unlined Shell Cordovan

Check Availability HERE.

Lined Shell Cordovan

Polishing Cordovan

Polishing your own shoes is a very gratifying experience. It need not be overly complicated and it should not cause you stress, relax and enjoy. Your shoes will mean more to you than ever if you have a little sweat equity invested. Remember how proud you felt after you washed and waxed your car in high school? Polishing your shoes is no different.

This tutorial is a “basic overview” of how to clean and polish your cordovan shoes; we hope you find it helpful. Like everything else there are many variations and everyone has their own personal preferences. It’s kind like asking how you like your steak cooked to each his own. The point is start with the basics; keep working at it and in time you’ll begin to develop your own technique.

Cordovan and Why We Love It

There are many reasons Genuine Horween shell cordovan is so desirable, i.e comfort, appearance, and durability but today we’re talking about maintenance.

A client of ours recently came in wearing a pair of Leffot Ivy loafers in navy shell cordovan. The shoes were well worn and when we asked him about the condition he told us he had worn them to hike along a volcanic trail in Hawaii. An interesting choice of footwear we initially thought but as these shoes are so incredibly comfortable we thought why not?

The shoes were covered in dirt and ash and were very dull with salt stains. We asked him to remove the shoes so we could clean them.

First we wiped them down with a slightly damp cloth, next we used Saphir Renovateur with a clean cloth to remove grime and condition the leather. We wiped down again with a clean cloth and buffed with a large horsehair brush and voila!! The whole process took less than five minutes.

Maintaining your shoes is not complicated or difficult just use common sense and quality products such as Saphir. Shell cordovan is one of the easiest leathers to maintain because it cleans up well and produces a beautiful luster in no time.

Leffot Ivy Loafer Navy Shell Cordovan Before


 

Leffot Ivy Loafer Navy Shell Cordovan Afer



 

 

The Fold

A wise old gambler once said, “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em”. Sage advice no doubt and exactly what our Fold billfolds are all about.

These svelte sheaths are about as low tech as you can get, just a single piece of Horween shell cordovan, three folds, and voila your cash is snugly secured in horse ass leather for safekeeping. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

Small – 2.5″ x 2.75″ folded, fits U.S. Dollars and no credit cards.

Large – 2.5″ x 3.5″ folded, fits all international currencies plus a credit card or two.

Shop Online HERE

Clockwise from top

Rust, Natural, Oxblood, Natural, (Black shown here)

Rust (shown above), Oxblood, Natural, Oxblood (folded)