Friday, 21 February 2014

My Leather brogues

My leather brogues
“You need two things in life, good shoes and a good bed because if you’re not in one then you’re in the other”. I’ve no idea who wrote it, but it’s a quote I’ve remembered for years. I would love to say it was a nugget of wisdom my grandfather passed on as I perched on his knee listening to war stories in front of a roaring fire as a lad but that would be a lie. I think I instead just read it on the internet, somewhere.

Anyway enough procrastinating, this is my first blog for Mastershoe so go easy on me. It did get me thinking about my shoes though when I thought about what to write; you see a good quality pair of shoes will last a lifetime. Sure they’ll need repair and maintenance from time to time but that all adds to the character of your shoes, it’s what makes something unique to you in a world of mass production. I have a lovely pair of brogues at home which were custom made in Thailand for my girlfriend’s brother who has a healthy love of fashion cause them to become surplus to requirements. I love them as well, they are tan leather and they were perfect but this weather over the past few months has been relentless, my feet have got wet and I have to admit my shoes are in a pretty bad way.

What happened? Living in England wasn’t the best of starts but over the past few months they have now developed an ink stain from being in a gym bag with a pen, water marks and now the sole is also rather worn. Don’t get me wrong I can appreciate these things happen. I know I haven’t particularly cared for them how I should and I can be philosophical but I’d rather they just looked nice!

Obviously re-soling is standard practise in managing the on-going life of your shoes but it did get me wondering how you should actually care for your shoes. How do you care for them? For example you don’t just have leather anymore there’s patent leather, smooth leather, waxed leather and then you have suede and nubuck which are variations of leather and they all require different types of care. Then you have the sheepskin boots which seem to mark at the slightest contact with anything and the all elusive running shoes which seem to be permanently marked and even wellies. Do you clean your wellies? I didn’t even know you needed to care for wellies to be fair, but you can and then you have the range of care products. There are 3 or four different types of brushes you can get. You then have Gloss polish, restorative polish and dubbin. This is literally only halve of it as well so there’s no wonder people may not realise what they need.

I often get caught in a thought or an idea and once I get something in my head I find it hard to switch of, until I feel I have at least started to quench my thirst for knowledge. Did you know for example just because you bought leather boots they’re not actually waterproof leather boots unless they’re sold as waterproof or treated post purchase. Even then they only stay water proof if you continually maintain them as required. It’s sounds obvious now I think about it but until now it isn’t really anything I’ve given a lot of thought. Which is arguably part of the problem, why would you, it seems a thing of the past getting up in the morning and polishing shoes for school. Throughout my youth as a child I would only clean my shoes when they were particularly dirty and then if they started getting scuffed you just bin them and start again. It’s the same with suede shoes once they got stained I’d just stop wearing them, eventually buying a new pair and it would start all over again for the Saturday night on the town.

As a business, yes we want to make money but do we want to encourage this wastefulness? Surely it would be better helping you care for what you’ve got and then if you’ve got the spare cash in the future you can just get yourselves another pair to add to your collection. We at Mastershoe should be on hand to provide this kind of information. We should be identifying what care your shoes need, what products are worth investing in and also how to carry out this care and maintenance. Of course, doing all of this does take time and to be fair we haven’t got it ready yet but it will be soon.

In the meantime here’s a little treat for you, I was going to put about how to care for your Sheepskin Boots but men don’t have those, so… I decided I’ll tell you how to keep the waterproof stuff waterproof and if you don’t have anything waterproof the it’ll keep what you do have in the best possible condition. Just remember, look after your footwear ‘cause shoes have feelings too!

Waterproofing your footwear

Water and salt damage can be expensive! Water can destroy the suppleness of the leather, without protection, leather becomes dried out so it will eventually start to crack, damaging your footwear. You can prevent this and reduce the weathering of your shoes and boots by treating your leathers. Salt and other harsh chemicals can also stain and weaken your waterproof shoes whether they are made from leather, suede, nubuck, synthetics or textiles. Luckily this is easily avoided and can be fixed with the use of suitable cleaning products.

How to choose the right water proofing products

When choosing the right product for water proofing and protecting your shoes you need to consider what your shoes are going to be used for (i.e) if you‘re going to spend lots of time in wet conditions we would recommend using a wax product as opposed to a protective spray which is best suited for smart fashion based footwear.

I need to protect my leather shoes as I work in muddy and wet conditions

For this, we suggest using a wax product. These type of products form a protective layer over the surface of the shoe/boot, shielding leather footwear from the damp conditions rather than allowing it to be absorbed into the shoe, however this does temporarily alter the appearance of the shoe due to the nature of the wax based products.

I need to protect my suede, nubuck, synthetic or textile shoes

We recommend a waterproof spray: a spray will provide a mild moderate protection against wet conditions.

I want to protect my shoes but do not want the appearance to be effected

If the appearance of the shoe/boot is important to you then we suggest a weather proofing product such as a spray protection. This provides a breathable barrier against mild- moderate wet and dirt conditions. Sprays are invisible on your shoes/boots.

Any waterproofing treatment will need reapplying at regular intervals and after any cleaning.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Bye Bye Authentic Wedge

Dr Martens - The Authentic Wedge

The Authentic Wedge or 3A63 as it used to be know has to be one of Dr Martens most popular and classic styles.  A staple from the Dr Martens winter range for over 10 years it quickly became an all year boot and appeared in the Spring/Summer ranges as well.  So what do Dr Martens do with this fantastic wardrobe essential....they drop it from the range.  Seriously Dr Martens are no longer making the Authentic Wedge!! I think it's fair to say we are all gutted by this decision, not only is it one of our best sellers I think nearly every female member of our team owns at least one pair.

Dr Martens 3A63 (Authentic Wedge Black) 2013
The Authentic Wedge isn't without it's quirks, a typical DM they take a fair bit of wearing in and can be very stiff to begin with, but once you've worn them in the comfort they give is superb.  They soon become your go to boots for everyday wear.

The classic lines and a simple character of the Authentic Wedge compliments any outfit, so you can wear them all day, everyday whilst the sturdy leather uppers and the iconic AirWair outsole add protection and durability.  Unfortunately they are not waterproof, which for this winter is a bit of a disadvantage, but a simple dubbin treatment adds good water resistance.

The Authentic Wedge has been available in many different colours with Black, Bark & Red always being the staple colourways, but there has also been Blue, Purple, Peacock, Olive, Deep Mahogany and Grape added in for limited seasons.

A Few Authentic Wedge Colours

So what are they replacing it with?? Whilst Dr Martens do have a wide range of ladies boots including the iconic 1460, Brielle, Joylyn, Mayen and Rowena which all make great winter boots the new range for 2014 unfortunately has nothing like our beloved Authentic Wedge, so it's bye bye Authentic Wedge...for now at least, we're all hoping DM's realise how much we all love these boots and bring them back.