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Reconditioning used AE at home

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    Reconditioning used AE at home

    I am in the market for a pair of shoes to be worn mostly with chinos for work, but also with jeans and occasionally with a blue suit for a couple of summer weddings. I think wingtip derbys will fit the bill nicely. AE McGregors or MacNeils, in an ideal world.

    Buying new, or even factory seconds, is not in the budget right now. I have been scouring eBay for a while, and have passed on a couple of good used options. I've seen plenty of examples of people picking up some very tired looking shoes for $50 or less and giving them a good polish to make them look perfectly serviceable. I've seen a few of you around the forum who have done this with some success. My question: what would I NEED in the way of polishes, creams, and brushes to make this happen? And how likely am I to get a good result? All I have currently is a cheap auto-applying sponge sort of deal, which I assume won't cut it. Saphir products seems popular, but swanky and a little pricey. If I'm going to need to drop $50-75 on 4-5 different products, I feel like it would likely be a better use of my money to go find some Cole Haans or J&M new for $100-125. Am I wrong? Could I have a cobbler do this instead?

    The prospective patients: https://poshmark.com/listing/Allen-E...9c15dfa20f0f98

    #2
    If you'd like to see some examples of what can be done with vintage shoes and some tips on how to shape them up, considering joining the Facebook group called "Vintage Florsheim (or other long lost vintage shoes) lovers"

    Lots of people doing the same thing you are and they seem very happy.
    WHY ARE THE GUYS IN SUITS HERE? HAS SOMETHING GONE WRONG?

    Comment


      #3
      Just my opinion but I’d rather buy new shoes in my budget then used shoes that need significant work especially if I lack the tools. Shoes take a beating, sweat etc. also depending how used will mold to someone’s foot.

      I’ve had Cole Hans now for almost a decade with polishing and a little rotation. I’m impressed for the value.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by elpenguinoloco View Post
        I am in the market for a pair of shoes to be worn mostly with chinos for work, but also with jeans and occasionally with a blue suit for a couple of summer weddings. I think wingtip derbys will fit the bill nicely. AE McGregors or MacNeils, in an ideal world.

        Buying new, or even factory seconds, is not in the budget right now. I have been scouring eBay for a while, and have passed on a couple of good used options. I've seen plenty of examples of people picking up some very tired looking shoes for $50 or less and giving them a good polish to make them look perfectly serviceable. I've seen a few of you around the forum who have done this with some success. My question: what would I NEED in the way of polishes, creams, and brushes to make this happen? And how likely am I to get a good result? All I have currently is a cheap auto-applying sponge sort of deal, which I assume won't cut it. Saphir products seems popular, but swanky and a little pricey. If I'm going to need to drop $50-75 on 4-5 different products, I feel like it would likely be a better use of my money to go find some Cole Haans or J&M new for $100-125. Am I wrong? Could I have a cobbler do this instead?

        The prospective patients: https://poshmark.com/listing/Allen-E...9c15dfa20f0f98
        Go for it. Those actually look like they're in great condition. Just get some conditioner (bick 4 works well, on Amazon) and a horsehair brush to Start with. That's all you'll probably need for those. As for polish, just get some cream polish in brown or whatever looks similar on Amazon, like moneysworth meltonian, etc. So you're looking at like, 30-40 total on supplies (you can just apply the conditioner by hand, and the cream polish using a old cotton shirt). The soles look great on the shoes in the link so you won't need a resole anytime soon. Even with the additional cost of restoration products, you'll end up with a made in US shoe that's still miles ahead of outsourced, cemented Cole Haans or J&S.

        My Strands were a recent eBay purchase and were much drier/more scuffed than the poshmark ones you're looking at and all I had to do was condition and a bit of cream polish (the ones I mentioned advice) and the result is below.



        Plus, you can always offer them 5-10 bucks less and see if they accept/counter.
        Last edited by Nandyn; May 1, 2019, 11:46 AM.

        Comment


          #5
          what you need depends on what finish strands you get. different ones need different stuff. the easiest is the black ones. just strip them, re-dye, and use show polish from a can and they'll look great.

          the other colors can get a little more complicated depending on the color and how light they are.

          Comment


            #6
            Vcleat has a lot of information on bringing the best out of an old pair of shoes. https://vcleat.com/buying-vintage-shoes/

            Scroll down to the restoring section.

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks for the help!
              [MENTION=16026]Nandyn[/MENTION] -- I had thought you'd done this. Those shoes look great!
              [MENTION=6764]thedrake[/MENTION] -- Vcleat looks like a fantastic resource, and that looks like a simple (and cheap) enough process with good results.

              Just have to decide if I think they'll fit. I have AEs in a 10 that fit nicely, but they are loafers, so not sure if I should go up to 10.5.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by elpenguinoloco View Post
                Thanks for the help!
                [MENTION=16026]Nandyn[/MENTION] -- I had thought you'd done this. Those shoes look great!
                [MENTION=6764]thedrake[/MENTION] -- Vcleat looks like a fantastic resource, and that looks like a simple (and cheap) enough process with good results.

                Just have to decide if I think they'll fit. I have AEs in a 10 that fit nicely, but they are loafers, so not sure if I should go up to 10.5.
                You should ask them for the model name stamped on the insole. Then you can see what last it's made on which should help you decide.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Update for those of you who helped me out. I did pull the trigger on these, and seller took $30. I bought leather cleaner, conditioner, cream polish, and a horsehair brush -- about $40 on eBay. So including shipping I am about $75 all in, and I am pretty satisfied with the result. I followed the process on the Vcleat website almost to the letter, though I did not do an extensive cleaning of the welt stitching, nor did I go for sole edging or new laces. I might. There were some good scuffs on both heels as well as the right toe, but they have mostly disappeared after polishing, and I may do another coat before a wedding next weekend.

                  Posting images never works for me, so I hope this is visible:

                  https://imgur.com/5x1F5nW

                  Would I maybe have rather had a $75 pair of new shoes? Perhaps, but now that I've incurred this "startup cost," I think I'm much more likely to do this again with another pair, hopefully with similar results.

                  Thanks all!
                  Last edited by elpenguinoloco; May 15, 2019, 09:27 AM.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Nicely done, they look great.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by elpenguinoloco View Post

                      https://imgur.com/5x1F5nW

                      Would I maybe have rather had a $75 pair of new shoes? Perhaps, but now that I've incurred this "startup cost," I think I'm much more likely to do this again with another pair, hopefully with similar results.

                      Thanks all!
                      Well done!

                      In the last 18 months, I've purchased at least a 15 pairs of shoes priced from $29.99 to $520. Oh, and a used pair of AE Del Rays for $13.99 (in barely used shape). So, as much as I love nice shoes, I'm not a shoe snob.

                      And I've found that I admire and enjoy wearing a well-crafted pair much more than something less expensive--even if the less expensive shoes look good.

                      I'm sure you will be very happy with your choice in the long run.
                      Last edited by mebejoseph; May 15, 2019, 01:08 PM.
                      WHY ARE THE GUYS IN SUITS HERE? HAS SOMETHING GONE WRONG?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by elpenguinoloco View Post

                        https://imgur.com/5x1F5nW

                        Would I maybe have rather had a $75 pair of new shoes? Perhaps, but now that I've incurred this "startup cost," I think I'm much more likely to do this again with another pair, hopefully with similar results.

                        Thanks all!
                        Those turned out great! I was gonna say those welts look super clean, so you probably don't need to really go at them much more than you already have. I'd pick those over new Cole Haans/J&M any day (unless it was a new, made in USA good year welt shoe from them at that price point... Which would never happen). And as you've said, now you're all set up for maintenance of these and other shoes.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by elpenguinoloco View Post
                          Update for those of you who helped me out. I did pull the trigger on these, and seller took $30. I bought leather cleaner, conditioner, cream polish, and a horsehair brush -- about $40 on eBay. So including shipping I am about $75 all in, and I am pretty satisfied with the result. I followed the process on the Vcleat website almost to the letter, though I did not do an extensive cleaning of the welt stitching, nor did I go for sole edging or new laces. I might. There were some good scuffs on both heels as well as the right toe, but they have mostly disappeared after polishing, and I may do another coat before a wedding next weekend.

                          Posting images never works for me, so I hope this is visible:

                          https://imgur.com/5x1F5nW

                          Would I maybe have rather had a $75 pair of new shoes? Perhaps, but now that I've incurred this "startup cost," I think I'm much more likely to do this again with another pair, hopefully with similar results.

                          Thanks all!
                          I think you're nuts if you think a 75$ pair would match this quality.

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