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Tag: horween leather chicago

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.

Natural Elston Re-Issue

Our Horween x Leffot Elston belt is now available in Natural Chromexcel the prefect mate to your Natural Quoddy’s & Alden LWB or Indy boots. For that matter it’s just an excellent neutral color belt to wear with anything.

Horween Chromexcel is the original pull-up leather made with old world craftsmanship; it carries on a long history of superior comfort and durability.

Belts are measured in the following way.

Click HERE for price and size availability

Elston, Natural Chromexcel 35 mm Wide, Brass Roller Buckle


The Greenwich Boot Breakdown

We received a new delivery of our Greenwich Boot by Alden. If you missed them the first time you might want to check them out this time. The boots are made by Alden to our exact specifications and we thought you might like to know the level of detail that goes into creating a new model with Alden.

To begin with we chose the last, in this case the Barrie last arguably the most comfortable and best fitting of all Alden lasts. The uppers are Horween Chamois* a fat liquored, mill dyed leather, that is incredibly soft and supple. Next we removed the speed hooks and went with agatine eyelets all the way up for a simple unified look.

We built these boots on Flex Welt soles, which are oil soaked for flexibility but also have a high degree of water resistance and often referred to as double water-lock soles. We then requested a mid tan pre-stitch reverse welt** to give it some muscle, and had the welt continue around the back of the heel rather than stop at the breast ***. The last step was the laces and for that we chose flat waxed.

And there you have it. That and a great shoe company to work with and you got yourself a real beauty, a boot the New York Times called “strapping” and made “Exclusively for Leffot, a stylish downtown men’s shoe store”.

Greenwich Boot Barrie Last, Navy Chamois, Flex Welt Soles – Sold Out

*oiled nubuc leather

**storm welt

***a term that refers to the front edge of the heel