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My Favorite Shoe Polish on my Favorite Work Boots

Mick D

New in Town
Messages
2
Maybe eight years or longer ago I bought a pair of ”Hand Made in USA” Chippewa boots. Horween leather was a great bonus. They’ve been resoled 3-4 times and some other stitching repairs but I really love these boots. Steel shank with Christy soles are perfect as I work mostly on gravel, great support and they don’t track pea gravel into my truck. Maybe a tad on the heavy side though.

When new I searched for good polish I came across Saphir products. They smell wonderful containing an array of different waxes. Everything leather. 24 colors! If you have Cordovan leather (if I could afford a pair of dress shoes) these are the only products I would use. Cordovan

This is my first post, members seem to be an eclectic group, hopefully it will
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be of some use or interest.

One of the most impressive things about this wax is its’ durability. As work boots go they don’t get polished often. Wiped off with wet towel and I can usually buff up a decent shine. This is the first time I’ve applied the polish with a brush and it went on a little thicker than with an old washcloth. Before I re-lace them I’ll buff them out again and should get a bit more gloss. As a cellular Field Tech the shine is a bit over the top but I feel that rotating my boots and keeping the leather maintained I’ll greatly extend the life of the boots. For their age, I think they look pretty good.

One thing I’ve learned is to use separate brushes for the black and brown colors. The brown pair ended up stained with black polish. I used the Reno Mat in the background to strip off the stains and moist of the wax. Use judiciously.

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TartuWolf

Practically Family
Messages
869
Location
Tartu, Estonia
Maybe I make to much of a distinction between conditioner and polish, but..
I understand cleaning them up and conditioning them to keep them healthy and lasting long. Maybe coating them with something extra to keep the elements from damaging them. But why polish a work boot?
 
Messages
10,237
Location
vancouver, canada
Maybe I make to much of a distinction between conditioner and polish, but..
I understand cleaning them up and conditioning them to keep them healthy and lasting long. Maybe coating them with something extra to keep the elements from damaging them. But why polish a work boot?
It is a way of coating them and protecting the leather from the elements.....as much protective as decorative.
 
Messages
10,237
Location
vancouver, canada
Maybe eight years or longer ago I bought a pair of ”Hand Made in USA” Chippewa boots. Horween leather was a great bonus. They’ve been resoled 3-4 times and some other stitching repairs but I really love these boots. Steel shank with Christy soles are perfect as I work mostly on gravel, great support and they don’t track pea gravel into my truck. Maybe a tad on the heavy side though.

When new I searched for good polish I came across Saphir products. They smell wonderful containing an array of different waxes. Everything leather. 24 colors! If you have Cordovan leather (if I could afford a pair of dress shoes) these are the only products I would use. Cordovan

This is my first post, members seem to be an eclectic group, hopefully it will View attachment 506045

be of some use or interest.

One of the most impressive things about this wax is its’ durability. As work boots go they don’t get polished often. Wiped off with wet towel and I can usually buff up a decent shine. This is the first time I’ve applied the polish with a brush and it went on a little thicker than with an old washcloth. Before I re-lace them I’ll buff them out again and should get a bit more gloss. As a cellular Field Tech the shine is a bit over the top but I feel that rotating my boots and keeping the leather maintained I’ll greatly extend the life of the boots. For their age, I think they look pretty good.

One thing I’ve learned is to use separate brushes for the black and brown colors. The brown pair ended up stained with black polish. I used the Reno Mat in the background to strip off the stains and moist of the wax. Use judiciously.

View attachment 506032
I like the Saphir products.....good stuff. But I suspect if you want to start an animated discussion with boot folks about polish and leather care you would get many willing participants.

I am a Lincoln products guy...that is my 'go to' boot care product.
 

TartuWolf

Practically Family
Messages
869
Location
Tartu, Estonia
For me polishing is a purely aesthetic treatment. I recently ordered some traditional natural english dubbin, want to try that out. Otherwise I use Fiebing's Aussie conditioner.
 

navetsea

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,697
Location
East Java
nice patina on the shoe tongue, nice yet luxurious set of boots care and I think it shows, if we wear boots as everyday town dweller I think it's more logical to polish it this way than using obenauf and other boots grease meant for outdoor and extreme condition so yea why not.
 

Mick D

New in Town
Messages
2
That's a fair question. These are "field" boots. So they get all weather conditions, wet, mud and scuffing. So by keeping the leather grit free and split duty between two pairs they'll last 12 years. With sneaker time thrown in of course.

But the leather, Horween Chromexcel looks awesome polished and deserves the love. Horween Leather also produces Shell Cordovan. Hats off (a straw Open Road) to folks buying those products.

Thank everyone for posting your thoughts.
 

Fifty150

One Too Many
Messages
1,829
Location
The Barbary Coast
But why polish a work boot?

For the same reason that you put polish on any shoe. The polish adds a protective barrier to the leather.

I guess most people think of shoe polish and shoe shines as something that you do with nice dress shoes. I get it. A guy steps up to a shoe shine stand, and spends $20 for a shoe shine. You usually see people with higher priced dress shoes. Not work boots.

Military and law enforcement boots are shined. In today's world, it's mostly as a uniform standard for inspections. Some boots that are being issued in the modern world are made to be practical in the field, and not buffed to a mirror shine. Where I work, there is seldom a need for a full dress uniform, or inspection for shiny shoes. For the last couple of decades, guys were wearing black high top sneakers or boots actually made by companies like Reebok. Comfort is key. It's more important for your feet to not hurt, and be able to actually run. When it's time to stand in line for some sort of formal affair, then you get those shiny shoes out of the back of the locker. Otherwise, I need to be able to chase someone down, climb a fence, et cetera. When riding motorcycles, it's perfectly acceptable to wear motorcross boots.


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Fifty150

One Too Many
Messages
1,829
Location
The Barbary Coast
And as we go back a few decades, when I first got into this hustle, it was perfectly acceptable to wear Dr. Martens. They weren't issued to us at the uniform shop. We had to buy them out of our own pocket. But a lot of guys preferred spending their own money on more comfortable, lighter weight shoes. I still have that pair, with the steel toes and the non-slip sole. Technically, they are work boots. I have polish on them. Over 25 years old, back when they were made in England, and they're still okay.


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Mick D

New in Town
Messages
2
I went Active Duty USAF in 1978. In Basic we spit shined our boots then wore the issued Chukkas daily, leaving the spit shined boots bedside.

High gloss boots were essentially banned. They were a huge Infra Red target troop indicator.

Polishing your boots also is kind of inspection. The brown pair needs some stitching on the next resole. Being semi cowboy, I had a pair of Nocona grey elephant boots that lasted more than 12 years. They had about 6 or more resoles.
 

Fifty150

One Too Many
Messages
1,829
Location
The Barbary Coast
Without a doubt, the absolute worse shoe sold on a large scale. Rothco Jungle Boots. If there was ever an example of "mass produced with the least expensive parts", this is it. The "leather" toe & heel are questionable. The footbed is cardboard. I add an insole. And the advantage is the nylon. It makes the boot lighter, and more comfortable.

I've always owned a pair of these as "disposable" shoes. Shoes that I wear when doing yard work, working on my cars, working on my house........ shoes that I wear when I don't want to ruin more expensive shoes.

When this pair falls apart, I will buy another pair. Since I don't wear them daily, these can last for years.

However, I will admit to wearing these boots even when I'm not doing work. These are my "casino shoes". I wear them when it's my turn to drive a bunch of senior citizens to an Indian Gaming place, and sit around all day while they play penny slots. They look perfect when worn with Bermuda shorts. I wore them today. Someone's kid was in a baseball game. Perfect for the dirt and grass in the park.


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Fifty150

One Too Many
Messages
1,829
Location
The Barbary Coast
I have to admit that the cheapest work boots can be the most comfortable. The X thought I wore uniform boots off-duty, because i was cheap. That's part of it. I am cheap. Uniform boots are free. But if they hurt my feet, I wouldn't wear them. And they are so shiny.



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