It’s On Sale: Filson Stuff

Sierra Trading Post just received a large shipment of new Filson items. Included are some of Filson’s bags, which are pictured above. As usual, to get the best prices, you’ll want to use one of Sierra’s many discount codes. They mail a new one out every day to their DealFlyer newsletter subscribers and post them on their Facebook page (the codes are different, so it’s good to both sign up for their newsletter and check their Facebook page). With the code, you an expect to knock another 30-45% off. 

It’s On Sale: Scottish Cashmere Sweaters

Two sales going on at the moment for Scottish cashmere sweaters. The first is at East Dane, where v-necks from Scott & Charters can be had for $135. Sadly, these are final sale, and I don’t have any experience with their v-necks, so I can’t give any advice on sizing. I do have one of their lambswool cardigans, however, and it’s very nicely made. The deep necklines on these sweaters would make them nice to wear with sport coats and ties. 

The second sale is at Sierra Trading Post, where crewnecks and v-necks from Johnstons of Elgin can be found on discount. As usual, you’ll want to apply one of Sierra Trading Post’s 30-45% off coupons to knock the price down further. You can get them by signing up for their DealFlyer newsletter (a new coupon is released every day through there), or by checking their Facebook page (where coupons are sometimes announced). Even with the coupon, these aren’t as affordable as the Scott & Charters, but at least they’re returnable if things don’t work out. 

It’s On Sale: Shoes, Shoes, Shoes
Shoe sales are happening everywhere today. 
Shoebuy.com: 30% off your purchase if you use the checkout code EMLFRIENDS14. Included in the stock are some Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. I wear and love these white hi-tops. Just be sure to size down half-a-size, as they run big (so if you normally wear a 9, take an 8.5).
Sierra Trading Post: Clarks Wallabees available in both the high and low top versions. As usual, you’ll want to apply one of Sierra Trading Post’s daily coupons. You can get them by signing up for their DealFlyer Newsletter (which will give you a different coupon every day) or by checking their Facebook page. Coupons will typically knock about 30-45% off the listed price. 
Ventee Privee: Clarks Wallabees are also available in bigger sizes today at Ventee Privee. If you don’t already have an account, you can use our referral link (note, we get a small kickback when you do). 
East Dane: The selection is a bit limited, but East Dane has Quoddy and Eastland Made in Maine shoes on discount. These Quoddy Kennebec chukkas and Perry boots could be good for fall. 
YCMC: Adidas’ Stan Smiths can be had for $60 with the coupon code 65YEARS. Note, there are other colors available, and the coupon expires today. 
(Above: Chuck Taylor All Stars worn by Team USA at the first ever Olympic basketball game in 1936)

It’s On Sale: Shoes, Shoes, Shoes

Shoe sales are happening everywhere today. 

  • Shoebuy.com: 30% off your purchase if you use the checkout code EMLFRIENDS14. Included in the stock are some Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. I wear and love these white hi-tops. Just be sure to size down half-a-size, as they run big (so if you normally wear a 9, take an 8.5).
  • Sierra Trading Post: Clarks Wallabees available in both the high and low top versions. As usual, you’ll want to apply one of Sierra Trading Post’s daily coupons. You can get them by signing up for their DealFlyer Newsletter (which will give you a different coupon every day) or by checking their Facebook page. Coupons will typically knock about 30-45% off the listed price. 
  • Ventee Privee: Clarks Wallabees are also available in bigger sizes today at Ventee Privee. If you don’t already have an account, you can use our referral link (note, we get a small kickback when you do). 
  • East Dane: The selection is a bit limited, but East Dane has Quoddy and Eastland Made in Maine shoes on discount. These Quoddy Kennebec chukkas and Perry boots could be good for fall. 
  • YCMC: Adidas’ Stan Smiths can be had for $60 with the coupon code 65YEARS. Note, there are other colors available, and the coupon expires today. 

(Above: Chuck Taylor All Stars worn by Team USA at the first ever Olympic basketball game in 1936)

It’s On Sale: Shoe Accessories at Sierra Trading Post

Sierra Trading Post has some good deals on shoe accessories. The first are cedar shoe trees from Woodlore, which — as I’m sure everyone reading this knows — are useful for helping your shoes keep their shape. Just insert a pair into your shoes whenever you’re not wearing them. Note, these are factory seconds, so sometimes you’ll get a pair with a slight blemish or something. I’ve bought dozens of these, however, and have never received a pair that didn’t work like it was supposed to. 

There are also some shoe racks available for sale. This model looks rather tidy, but if you have a ton of boots, this model might be more useful. It’s not only expandable, thus allowing you to fill the whole width of your closet, but you can also just install the metal bars on the second and forth tiers. This will allow you to fill the rack with everything from ankle-high chukkas to tall LL Bean boots. I use the same model to organize my boots. 

As usual with Sierra Trading Post, you’ll want to apply one of their coupons to get the best deals. If you sign up for their DealFlyer newsletter, you’ll get 30-40% off coupons pretty regularly. Otherwise, you can check their Facebook page, where coupon codes are regularly released. With a ~35% off coupon, you’re looking at about $12.30 for shoe trees and $16.20 for that shoe rack.

It’s On Sale: Faribault Woolen Mills Throws

Sierra Trading Post has Faribault Woolen Mills throws on sale for $40. Add one of those ~35% off coupons they send through their DealFlyer newsletter and you can knock the price down further to about $25. If you don’t want to sign up for a newsletter, you can also sometimes find deals on Sierra Trading Post’s Facebook page. Their last post, for example, has a link where you can get an extra 35% off if your order is over $100. 

Staying Warm at Home
I recently moved into a new apartment, and like most homes in the Bay Area, the insulation is terrible. Heat leaks through the windows and drafts come in from under the doors. It doesn’t get too cold here in the Bay, but it can get pretty dang chilly.
Rather than run my heating bill up, I often just rely on some simple at-home layering. Wool long johns can be put underneath a pair of pajamas to give some extra warmth, and a wool sweater can be thrown over whatever else I might wear at home. My favorite long johns are by Smartwool, who produces them in both light- and mid-weights (I prefer the latter). You can usually find them on sale at Camp Mor, Sierra Trading Post, or REI. Icebreakers is also pretty nice, though from my experience less warm than Smartwool, and I’ve heard good things about Uniqlo’s Heattech.
For sweaters, cashmere is obviously the warmest, but unless you’re going second-hand, the good stuff can be exorbitantly expensive. Cotton is pretty useless since it doesn’t retain heat all that well. Best, I think, are really thick sweaters made from lambswool or merino, which will have the kind of loft necessary to keep you comfortable. I personally wear a chunky, 6-ply lambswool cardigan from Ovadia and Sons (they’re having a sale right now, but sadly this season’s cardigan is not included). There similar pieces by Scott & Charters, Ben Silver, O’Connell’s, and Inverallan (the last of which Pete recently wrote about). Of course, you don’t have to wear a cardigan. Any style will do, so long as the sweater is thick.
In the mornings, I usually wear a pair of long johns and some pajamas, but once I come home at night, I’m usually in a pair of jeans, some at-home slippers, a button up shirt, and my chunky cardigan. It’s cheaper in the long-run than running the heater, more environmentally friendly, and frankly a good excuse to buy nice clothing.
And for those of us with significant others, sometimes excuses are necessary. 

Staying Warm at Home

I recently moved into a new apartment, and like most homes in the Bay Area, the insulation is terrible. Heat leaks through the windows and drafts come in from under the doors. It doesn’t get too cold here in the Bay, but it can get pretty dang chilly.

Rather than run my heating bill up, I often just rely on some simple at-home layering. Wool long johns can be put underneath a pair of pajamas to give some extra warmth, and a wool sweater can be thrown over whatever else I might wear at home. My favorite long johns are by Smartwool, who produces them in both light- and mid-weights (I prefer the latter). You can usually find them on sale at Camp MorSierra Trading Post, or REI. Icebreakers is also pretty nice, though from my experience less warm than Smartwool, and I’ve heard good things about Uniqlo’s Heattech.

For sweaters, cashmere is obviously the warmest, but unless you’re going second-hand, the good stuff can be exorbitantly expensive. Cotton is pretty useless since it doesn’t retain heat all that well. Best, I think, are really thick sweaters made from lambswool or merino, which will have the kind of loft necessary to keep you comfortable. I personally wear a chunky, 6-ply lambswool cardigan from Ovadia and Sons (they’re having a sale right now, but sadly this season’s cardigan is not included). There similar pieces by Scott & Charters, Ben Silver, O’Connell’s, and Inverallan (the last of which Pete recently wrote about). Of course, you don’t have to wear a cardigan. Any style will do, so long as the sweater is thick.

In the mornings, I usually wear a pair of long johns and some pajamas, but once I come home at night, I’m usually in a pair of jeans, some at-home slippers, a button up shirt, and my chunky cardigan. It’s cheaper in the long-run than running the heater, more environmentally friendly, and frankly a good excuse to buy nice clothing.

And for those of us with significant others, sometimes excuses are necessary. 

Sierra Trading Post
Sierra Trading Post is worth checking-in on every once in a while. They’re an online discount house that mostly specializes in outdoor gear, but if you know what to look for, they also often have pretty good menswear-related deals. For example:
Cedar shoe trees: You can find cheap cedar shoe trees for about $13/ pair at Nordstrom Rack, or get them at Sierra Trading Post for about $11/ pair with one of their coupons. 
Pantherella socks: Comfortable over-the-calf socks can be hard to find for less than $20/ pair. These Pantherellas, however, come down to $12 or so if you’re patient. Falke is also very nice, but a bit more expensive. 
Johnstons of Elgin: STP used to have some really handsome tartan scarves, which could be had for as little as $35. Those seem to be all gone, but there’s still a solid blue left that I think could be versatile. There are also some warm throws. I bought one a few years ago and really like it.
Baselayers: I’m a big believer in wool baselayers. Even if you don’t live in an area that gets serious winters, these are useful for wearing around the house in order to keep the heating bill down. Icebreaker and Smartwool are pretty good, though stocked in limited sizes at STP. Camp Mor has more, but at higher prices. I recommend the midweights.
Belts: A small selection of Allen Edmonds and Lands End belts can be had at great prices.
Trickers shoes: Very nice shoes for fall, though easier to swallow  once you get one of STP’s 30-40% off coupons.
Filson: I’ve been noticing a lot of Filson stuff pop up on STP this past year. The fit on these is presumably very full, but with pretty easy returns, these are potentially worth trying out if you see something you like.
Faribault Woolen Mills: At this price point, I assume the wool is somewhat thin. However, the price is pretty low, and I like these striped designs.
Wusthof: Not menswear related, but STP seems to have gotten in some Wusthof knives. I’d recommend sticking to the “Classic” line and Googling around before buying. The stated discount here is somewhat inflated.
Again, the key to getting a good deal at Sierra Trading Post is to apply one of their coupons, which range anywhere from 20 to 40%. You can find them on their Facebook page, or by signing up for their DealFlyer newsletter. A new coupon is released every day.

Sierra Trading Post

Sierra Trading Post is worth checking-in on every once in a while. They’re an online discount house that mostly specializes in outdoor gear, but if you know what to look for, they also often have pretty good menswear-related deals. For example:

  • Cedar shoe trees: You can find cheap cedar shoe trees for about $13/ pair at Nordstrom Rack, or get them at Sierra Trading Post for about $11/ pair with one of their coupons. 
  • Pantherella socks: Comfortable over-the-calf socks can be hard to find for less than $20/ pair. These Pantherellas, however, come down to $12 or so if you’re patient. Falke is also very nice, but a bit more expensive. 
  • Johnstons of Elgin: STP used to have some really handsome tartan scarves, which could be had for as little as $35. Those seem to be all gone, but there’s still a solid blue left that I think could be versatile. There are also some warm throws. I bought one a few years ago and really like it.
  • Baselayers: I’m a big believer in wool baselayers. Even if you don’t live in an area that gets serious winters, these are useful for wearing around the house in order to keep the heating bill down. Icebreaker and Smartwool are pretty good, though stocked in limited sizes at STP. Camp Mor has more, but at higher prices. I recommend the midweights.
  • Belts: A small selection of Allen Edmonds and Lands End belts can be had at great prices.
  • Trickers shoes: Very nice shoes for fall, though easier to swallow  once you get one of STP’s 30-40% off coupons.
  • Filson: I’ve been noticing a lot of Filson stuff pop up on STP this past year. The fit on these is presumably very full, but with pretty easy returns, these are potentially worth trying out if you see something you like.
  • Faribault Woolen Mills: At this price point, I assume the wool is somewhat thin. However, the price is pretty low, and I like these striped designs.
  • Wusthof: Not menswear related, but STP seems to have gotten in some Wusthof knives. I’d recommend sticking to the “Classic” line and Googling around before buying. The stated discount here is somewhat inflated.

Again, the key to getting a good deal at Sierra Trading Post is to apply one of their coupons, which range anywhere from 20 to 40%. You can find them on their Facebook page, or by signing up for their DealFlyer newsletter. A new coupon is released every day.

We Got It For Free: UnderFit Undershirts
Ben Brockland over at Underfit Shirts emailed me last January to see if I’d be interested in reviewing one of his undershirts. I said sure, why not, so long as I’d be able to take my time with it. The main problem with undershirts, from my experience, is that they typically don’t last very long.
The reason is simple. Cotton, unlike animal hair, doesn’t have a natural “spring back” quality to it, so the collar is prone to being stretched out and the waist is likely to lose shape. Plus, even if you hang dry all your clothes like I do, the length will inevitably shrink, making the shirt increasingly harder to tuck in.  
I’ve gone through a number of brands, mostly on the low- to mid-end of the market. 2(x)ist's most basic model is a good go-to, and can be found pretty affordably through Sierra Trading Post if you use one of their DealFlyer coupons. Those last for about a year for about a year before needing to be thrown out. Fruit of a Loom is more affordable, but also only lasts for about a year, and the v-neck is a bit high. Undershirts from The Gap and Brooks Brothers go for a bit longer, but they’re more expensive. 
It’s Not Cotton
Underfit is a bit different in that instead of being pure cotton, it’s a 57-38-5 blend of micro modal, Tencel, and Lycra. Modal is a type of rayon, a semi-synthetic cellulose fiber taken from beech trees. Its main advantage is that it’s silky soft and resistant to shrinking or being pulled out of shape. Its disadvantage is that it pills easily. I have a Tommy John undershirt, for example, made from a 90-10 micro modal, spandex blend. It feels amazing against the skin, but pills with every wear.
Tencel, like modal, is a also a rayon fabric, but is said to have the added advantage of being able to absorb sweat easily. It supposedly brings perspiration to the surface and allows it to evaporate, thus letting the wearer to stay odor free a bit longer. Lastly, Lycra, as I’m sure everyone knows, is a type of spandex valued for its elasticity.
Performance
I had a few reservations going in. First, I was concerned this would wear much warmer because of the materials used, but was surprised to find I didn’t notice any difference, even on hot days. And over the course of seven months, I haven’t seen any pilling, despite the predominance of modal. Most importantly, it hasn’t lost any shape. Whereas most of my undershirts would be starting to stretch out around the collar just about now, this Underfit seems pretty much the same as the day it came.
There are some other nice points. It fits very close to the body, which makes it more comfortable and attractive to wear. The length is plenty long to tuck in and the v-neck is just deep enough to allow me to unbutton the second button on all my shirts. Like Ledbury’s, my shirts have a slightly lowered second button, which I think makes for a more attractive collar line. Even with the lower second button undone, my undershirt never shows.
Recommended?
Naturally, there’s always a catch. Underfit’s shirts are pretty expensive at $25 a piece. Though I’ve found mine to fare much better, you can get 2(x)ist shirts for about $5 a piece at Sierra Trading Post if you wait for a DealFlyer coupon. Those only last for about a year, but Underfit would have to last five in order to make it equal in value. I obviously couldn’t ask the company to wait five years before I did a review, but based on how well it’s held up in the last seven months – as well as how much more comfortable and better fitting it’s been – I’m pretty impressed.
Still, $25 for an undershirt is a lot, and it would be up to you to figure out if buying something like this is a priority. Personally, I think if you already have all the shirts, pants, jackets, and shoes you need, it might be nice to upgrade your undergarments. I liked mine so much that I purchased thirteen more, so I’d have two weeks worth of these undershirts for my regular rotation. If the price doesn’t dissuade you, and you’re looking for a really nice undershirt, I think really nice ones can be found here. 

We Got It For Free: UnderFit Undershirts

Ben Brockland over at Underfit Shirts emailed me last January to see if I’d be interested in reviewing one of his undershirts. I said sure, why not, so long as I’d be able to take my time with it. The main problem with undershirts, from my experience, is that they typically don’t last very long.

The reason is simple. Cotton, unlike animal hair, doesn’t have a natural “spring back” quality to it, so the collar is prone to being stretched out and the waist is likely to lose shape. Plus, even if you hang dry all your clothes like I do, the length will inevitably shrink, making the shirt increasingly harder to tuck in.  

I’ve gone through a number of brands, mostly on the low- to mid-end of the market. 2(x)ist's most basic model is a good go-to, and can be found pretty affordably through Sierra Trading Post if you use one of their DealFlyer coupons. Those last for about a year for about a year before needing to be thrown out. Fruit of a Loom is more affordable, but also only lasts for about a year, and the v-neck is a bit high. Undershirts from The Gap and Brooks Brothers go for a bit longer, but they’re more expensive. 

It’s Not Cotton

Underfit is a bit different in that instead of being pure cotton, it’s a 57-38-5 blend of micro modal, Tencel, and Lycra. Modal is a type of rayon, a semi-synthetic cellulose fiber taken from beech trees. Its main advantage is that it’s silky soft and resistant to shrinking or being pulled out of shape. Its disadvantage is that it pills easily. I have a Tommy John undershirt, for example, made from a 90-10 micro modal, spandex blend. It feels amazing against the skin, but pills with every wear.

Tencel, like modal, is a also a rayon fabric, but is said to have the added advantage of being able to absorb sweat easily. It supposedly brings perspiration to the surface and allows it to evaporate, thus letting the wearer to stay odor free a bit longer. Lastly, Lycra, as I’m sure everyone knows, is a type of spandex valued for its elasticity.

Performance

I had a few reservations going in. First, I was concerned this would wear much warmer because of the materials used, but was surprised to find I didn’t notice any difference, even on hot days. And over the course of seven months, I haven’t seen any pilling, despite the predominance of modal. Most importantly, it hasn’t lost any shape. Whereas most of my undershirts would be starting to stretch out around the collar just about now, this Underfit seems pretty much the same as the day it came.

There are some other nice points. It fits very close to the body, which makes it more comfortable and attractive to wear. The length is plenty long to tuck in and the v-neck is just deep enough to allow me to unbutton the second button on all my shirts. Like Ledbury’s, my shirts have a slightly lowered second button, which I think makes for a more attractive collar line. Even with the lower second button undone, my undershirt never shows.

Recommended?

Naturally, there’s always a catch. Underfit’s shirts are pretty expensive at $25 a piece. Though I’ve found mine to fare much better, you can get 2(x)ist shirts for about $5 a piece at Sierra Trading Post if you wait for a DealFlyer coupon. Those only last for about a year, but Underfit would have to last five in order to make it equal in value. I obviously couldn’t ask the company to wait five years before I did a review, but based on how well it’s held up in the last seven months – as well as how much more comfortable and better fitting it’s been – I’m pretty impressed.

Still, $25 for an undershirt is a lot, and it would be up to you to figure out if buying something like this is a priority. Personally, I think if you already have all the shirts, pants, jackets, and shoes you need, it might be nice to upgrade your undergarments. I liked mine so much that I purchased thirteen more, so I’d have two weeks worth of these undershirts for my regular rotation. If the price doesn’t dissuade you, and you’re looking for a really nice undershirt, I think really nice ones can be found here. 

Q and Answer: What Shoe Care Products Should You Consider (Part One)
Lookyoungspeakold writes us to ask: I just watched the PTO episode on shoes and am now working on picking up some shoe care supplies. What things do you guys recommend?
It’s probably best to break this answer into parts, so you know what’s important to have, and what’s just nice to have. Today, we’ll cover the important stuff.
1. Leather conditioner: Leather needs to be conditioned every once in a while, otherwise it’ll dry out and crack. For this, Saphir Renovateur is commonly said to be the best, but I’ve gotten equally good results with Allen Edmonds’ Conditioner & Cleaner. Some say you shouldn’t mix conditioners and cleaners (just as you shouldn’t mix shampoo and conditioner), but I’ve used this stuff for years and haven’t seen any ill effects. If you’re worried about it, you can turn to Lexol, who sells them in separate bottles, or get Venetian cream. 
For workboots, I really like Obenauf’s Heavy Duty LP, which you can read about here, and if you have any exotics, Saphir makes a special conditioner called Reptan. 
2. Polishes and Waxes: To hide scuffs and build a shine, you’ll need an assortment of polishes and waxes. If you want to maintain your shoes’ original color, use a polish that best approximates it or go one shade lighter. To build a slightly more antiqued look over time, go with something a touch darker. For the most part, try to avoid neutrals, as they can sometimes build a white flakey residue. 
I use cream polish on all my shoes, but for any that need an extra layer of protection (e.g. winter boots) or a higher gloss finish (e.g. oxfords), I add a finishing layer of wax polish. 
Again, Saphir here is often said to be the best, and if you’re a shoe aficionado, these can feel a bit more fancy to use. You can get them from The Hanger Project (one of our advertisers), Exquisite Trimmings, A Suitable Wardrobe, and Gentlemen’s Footwear (the last of which is offering a free Saphir chamois cloth with any $50+ purchase of shoe care products this week). If Saphir is too expensive for you, however, I’ve gotten excellent results from Meltonian cream polishes and Lincoln waxes. 
3. Brushes: Obviously, to apply the creams and waxes, you’ll need some brushes. There’s some really nice stuff here by Edoya and Abbeyhorn, but they’re expensive. Check them out if you take a special interest in this stuff, but otherwise, know that you only really need a basic dauber and large horsehair brush, both of which you can buy for $5-15 from The Hanger Project and Allen Edmonds. 
4. Suede products: If you have suede shoes, you’ll want to get a couple of special products. First is a waterproofing spray, which will not only help protect your shoes from water, but also any stains that may come their way. A suede eraser can also be good for spot cleaning, and a suede brush is useful for rebuilding a nap. Suede brushes can come in crepe or wire. I really like the wire ones from Edoya, but Allen Edmonds has a much more affordable version for $6.50
5. Shoe trees and horns: Along with the leather conditioner, I think these last two products might be the most important to buy. First are cedar shoe trees, which you should always put into your shoes when you’re not wearing them. This will help maintain your shoes’ shape and minimize creases. You can buy them for about $11 a pair from Sierra Trading Post once you apply their DealFlyer coupons (they’re out of stock at the moment, but they’ll likely bring them back). Nordstrom Rack also sometimes has them in-store for about $12 a pair, and Jos A Bank will regularly do 3-for-1 deals. For boots, you’ll need something bigger to fill up the space. I recommend these from Woodlore. 
And lastly, you’ll want to use a shoehorn whenever you put on your shoes so that you don’t crush the heel counter. Abbeyhorn makes some really nice ones. For something more affordable, these basic metal ones will serve you fine, and if you’re ever in a pinch and find yourself without a shoehorn, try using your credit card or driver’s license. If you place it at the heel, just as you would with a shoehorn, your foot should slip in pretty easily.
Check back Wednesday for part two to this answer, where I’ll go over some stuff I think is nice to have, but not as essential as what’s mentioned above.

Q and Answer: What Shoe Care Products Should You Consider (Part One)

Lookyoungspeakold writes us to ask: I just watched the PTO episode on shoes and am now working on picking up some shoe care supplies. What things do you guys recommend?

It’s probably best to break this answer into parts, so you know what’s important to have, and what’s just nice to have. Today, we’ll cover the important stuff.

1. Leather conditioner: Leather needs to be conditioned every once in a while, otherwise it’ll dry out and crack. For this, Saphir Renovateur is commonly said to be the best, but I’ve gotten equally good results with Allen Edmonds’ Conditioner & Cleaner. Some say you shouldn’t mix conditioners and cleaners (just as you shouldn’t mix shampoo and conditioner), but I’ve used this stuff for years and haven’t seen any ill effects. If you’re worried about it, you can turn to Lexol, who sells them in separate bottles, or get Venetian cream.

For workboots, I really like Obenauf’s Heavy Duty LP, which you can read about here, and if you have any exotics, Saphir makes a special conditioner called Reptan.

2. Polishes and Waxes: To hide scuffs and build a shine, you’ll need an assortment of polishes and waxes. If you want to maintain your shoes’ original color, use a polish that best approximates it or go one shade lighter. To build a slightly more antiqued look over time, go with something a touch darker. For the most part, try to avoid neutrals, as they can sometimes build a white flakey residue.

I use cream polish on all my shoes, but for any that need an extra layer of protection (e.g. winter boots) or a higher gloss finish (e.g. oxfords), I add a finishing layer of wax polish.

Again, Saphir here is often said to be the best, and if you’re a shoe aficionado, these can feel a bit more fancy to use. You can get them from The Hanger Project (one of our advertisers), Exquisite Trimmings, A Suitable Wardrobe, and Gentlemen’s Footwear (the last of which is offering a free Saphir chamois cloth with any $50+ purchase of shoe care products this week). If Saphir is too expensive for you, however, I’ve gotten excellent results from Meltonian cream polishes and Lincoln waxes.

3. Brushes: Obviously, to apply the creams and waxes, you’ll need some brushes. There’s some really nice stuff here by Edoya and Abbeyhorn, but they’re expensive. Check them out if you take a special interest in this stuff, but otherwise, know that you only really need a basic dauber and large horsehair brush, both of which you can buy for $5-15 from The Hanger Project and Allen Edmonds

4. Suede products: If you have suede shoes, you’ll want to get a couple of special products. First is a waterproofing spray, which will not only help protect your shoes from water, but also any stains that may come their way. A suede eraser can also be good for spot cleaning, and a suede brush is useful for rebuilding a nap. Suede brushes can come in crepe or wire. I really like the wire ones from Edoya, but Allen Edmonds has a much more affordable version for $6.50

5. Shoe trees and horns: Along with the leather conditioner, I think these last two products might be the most important to buy. First are cedar shoe trees, which you should always put into your shoes when you’re not wearing them. This will help maintain your shoes’ shape and minimize creases. You can buy them for about $11 a pair from Sierra Trading Post once you apply their DealFlyer coupons (they’re out of stock at the moment, but they’ll likely bring them back). Nordstrom Rack also sometimes has them in-store for about $12 a pair, and Jos A Bank will regularly do 3-for-1 deals. For boots, you’ll need something bigger to fill up the space. I recommend these from Woodlore.

And lastly, you’ll want to use a shoehorn whenever you put on your shoes so that you don’t crush the heel counter. Abbeyhorn makes some really nice ones. For something more affordable, these basic metal ones will serve you fine, and if you’re ever in a pinch and find yourself without a shoehorn, try using your credit card or driver’s license. If you place it at the heel, just as you would with a shoehorn, your foot should slip in pretty easily.

Check back Wednesday for part two to this answer, where I’ll go over some stuff I think is nice to have, but not as essential as what’s mentioned above.

It’s On Sale: Cedar Shoe Trees

Sierra Trading Post just restocked their cedar shoe trees, and for today only, you can take another 30% off and get $0.99 shipping with the code SAU10515. That brings these down to about $12 a piece plus tax. 

There are also some really nice looking home throws by Johnstons of Elgin, but unfortunately, the discount code doesn’t work on clearance items.