How many times have you had your shoemaker polish your shoes, only to find the rough blims and tears on the scuffed toes pop up after the first wearing, making your shoes look as old as they really are? Having never found a shoemaker who solved the problem, we decided to experiment on a few pairs beat-up but very well-made and beloved shoes and boots we bought years ago. We found a great method.
We tried sanding down the blims and tears using the Super Fine Contour Surface Sanding Sponges we find SO useful around the Laboratory, for dulling shiny metal, sanding off paint, shining silver…even taking an applique off a piece of china.
Sanding sponges are flexible sponges that have a very fine sanding surface. When a painter left some behind in our space, we used them to repair a variety of surfaces. This time: leather. You can find them at Amazon or often at your local hardware or paint store.
We gently sanded the blims on the toes of our boots and shoes. Then we applied polish with an old toothbrush (we save them for just this kind of purpose). When a blim remained, we tried sanding it with a little polish on the sponge, a hybrid technique that worked well.
Using a soft old toothbrush allowed us to rub polish deep into tiny cracks and damaged areas…
…We let the polish “set” for 30 minutes or so, then polished, first with a big soft shoeshine brush, and then with a classic shammy. Although not perfect, the results were WAY better than we ever got from the shoemaker. You can see the results at top and below.
Now we’ve got three pairs of good-as-new, comfortable-to-wear shoes and boots to take us through the coming months.
Editor’s note: At the time we bought these boots, we thought they were expensive, but looked well made enough to warrant the outlay. They’ve proven a bargain: We’ve been wearing them for more than eight years! A lesson in considered buying…