Will from A Suitable Wardrobe just posted a wonderful video on how to polish shell cordovan shoes. The video features KeaLani Lada from A Shine & Co., who has been a guest on Will’s podcast and clearly knows her way around shoes.
KeaLani demonstrates the importance of preparing the surface of your shoes before you apply any leather treatment. Many men forget to give their shoes a good buffing before they start working on their shoes. As a result, they can rub in dirt and dust as they condition and polish, which ends up scratching the leather. She also shows the importance of buffing in between each kind of treatment, which helps smooth out each layer and helps prevent build-up. Without such care, you risk creating spots where material has caked up, which will later create unsightly flakes or creases.
There’s also a part about deer bone, which I had previously not known about. I find it curious, to be honest, since shell cordovan is so dense that I wonder how any of those oils can penetrate it. I talked to Nate Humble once and he told me that shell only needs a good layer or two of wax every few months. Who knows who is right, but I’ll tell you this - if I had shell cordovan boots as nice as Will’s, I’d pour kitten blood on it if I believed it would help maintain them. Those are some damn nice shoes.