Hello! First, I love the aesthetic of your blog (and shop I suppose). Nice to see some good old fashioned Americana in these days of Italian Playboyism. Also, a question. In your post about cleaning those Aldens you got them looking great. What's the trick? I have a pair of shell wingtips (also thrifted) that have thick polish lines that won't go away. I'm told say no to saddle soap, but I spent the better part of an hour with a toothbrush and water with little to show for it. Thanks in advance
Hey, glad you like my blog. I dig yours as well. as my wife and I are rather serious thrifters; I’ll proudly say that more than half my wardrobe is thrifted/second hand.
One the Aldens:
First I cleaned them with a horsehair brush, and a barely damp toothbrush & rag round the soles. Next, I applied Kiwi paste polish using a horsehair applicator brush. Not the finest of polishing compounds, i’ll admit, but you can get the basic Kiwi shoe care kit for $25 from the drug store in a pinch, so I went with that. To polish, I used the included cotton flannel cloth until I got a decent shine. I repeated the polish application and shine a total of 3 times. Lastly, I used a liquid called Edge Kote on the edges of the soles. This stuff is used for leather working, and in lieu of a decent alternative, it worked quite well.
Definitely not as good as a professional clean and polish, but they look a million times better. Next time around I might take them to the Alden store in NYC and have them do it right. There are some slight discolorations in the larger creases on top that I’d like to see worked out.
Also, here’s a great Allen Edmonds video I used to guide me, and another really involved one via A Suitable Wardrobe if you want to go all out.
Good luck with yours!