As I’m a footwear obsessive you might imagine that I have so many pairs of shoes, I don’t wear any of them long enough for them to need a polish. In actual fact, like most people, I wear some pairs more frequently than others. All of my shoes need a little TLC from time to time.
My parents instilled a fortnightly shoe polishing ritual into myself and my three siblings when we were growing up. As much as this felt like a chore, I quite liked the smell of the polish, and gained satisfaction from achieving a good shine. As I grew older, the cool kids at school had scuffed shoes, whereas the geeks like me had shiny shoes.
Whilst working in shoe shops, my performance would be judged on how many pairs I sold (naturally), and how many shoe care items I could persuade customers to purchase. I even got a higher commission rate on shoe trees and polishes. The Holy Grail for the staff was to sell a shoe care kit which came in a fancy wooden box. That meant a nice extra chunk of money in our pay packets. I still have some polishes and brushes from those days that I bought with my staff discount.
When I was at university studying footwear design, I experimented with different coloured polishes on an assortment of leathers, further adding to my collection.
This is how it looks today:
My shoe care collection has almost outgrown its cardboard shoe box. Perhaps it’s time for me to look for something fancy and wooden.
I’m not an expert in the fine art of shoe shining and patina work like this guy, but I have learnt enough on my shoe journey to impart some useful knowledge. So begins my shoe care series.
People often ask me what they can do to repair scuffed shoes. Another common question is how to fix marks caused by salt used on pavements in winter time. The great news is that these shoes are not beyond repair.
Footwear can take some time to wear in and form to your feet, so it’s always worth trying to repair your favourite shoes. You’ll save money, and get to hold on to that much-loved pair.
A favourite pair of leather trainers had gone from pristine, to relaxed and artfully shabby, and were now just looking tired. I discovered a product which claimed to be able to spruce up the uppers, bringing them back to their gleaming white selves. It was even going to cover the dark crease marks and hide the scuffs. With rain coming down outside, I had time to give it a go.
Famaco Dye Cream comes in cute 15ml pots, which you would expect to find posh face cream in. The consistency is something between a shoe cream and a paint. I decided to apply the product with kitchen roll, as I do with all shoe creams and waxes. You could also use a lint-free cloth or a brush.
How to apply it
Remove the laces, put them in a delicates bag, and on a cool machine wash (or buy new ones).
Wipe the shoes with diluted washing up liquid to remove grease and general dirt. Let them dry completely.
Step 3. (optional)
If you want to keep the soles completely free of the Dye Cream, I would recommend applying masking tape around the soles where they meet the uppers.
Apply one coat of the Famaco Dye Cream quite liberally, working it into the creases and scuffs. Wipe off any excess to create a smooth finish and avoid lumps.
If your shoes or boots have a tongue, it might be easier to apply the product to this section separately, and leave it to dry before coating the rest of the upper. This would help to avoid getting the Dye Cream on the linings.
Leave to dry for an hour or more
If you’re happy with the finish, then stop there. Otherwise, apply a further one or two coats, allowing time to dry in between.
After three coats, the trainers were now back to their bright white selves, so once they had dried, I put the washed laces back in, and off I went.
I still have a little of the dye left, that I can use if I scuff them again.
Footwear treated with Famaco Dye Cream can remain slightly tacky in texture, similar to the feel of patent leather.
Next time, I’ll show you how to completely recolour a pair of shoes.