My heavily waxed Indy Boots...a tutorial for those who dare!

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by JanSolo, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. JanSolo

    JanSolo Practically Family

    Hello everyone,

    The following pictures might be interesting for those of you who possess a pair of Alden Indy Boots and think that their current colour is too bright and too red.
    When I received my pair my initial impression was that they were good looking and well made shoes (despite the lack of a full leather lining. Better semi-custom Aldens are available from LeatherSoul from time to time). But I instantly thought that the leather was much too light in colour. Also the leather wasn’t water proof at all. So I decided to do a little trick and applied several even layers of Barbour Thornproof Dressing to the leather and the welt. A hairdryer was used to melt the wax. Once it gets liquid it is soaked in instantly. You have to make sure that you apply the wax very evenly to the upper leather. Don’t forget the welt and the tongue!
    I used 5 or 6 layers of wax on both shoes and the result is quite remarkable. The leather is much darker now, almost a dark chestnut. It’s defintively more pliable due to the higher wax content and the leather, welt and all seams are now 100% water-proof. Note how the former off-white moc toe stitching has turned into dark caramel due to colour migration from the leather (result of the wax treatment). I also waxed the laces because it makes them more durable and it looks better.
    For colour comparison I’ve taken a picture along with my late 50s Seamaster. The watch is currently on an oxblood Horween Shell Cordovan strap which is in fact dark chocolate in colour (almost black coffee).
    What do you think?

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  2. Creeping Past

    Creeping Past One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,567
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    Good idea! A big improvement on the colour, I think.
     
  3. andy richards

    andy richards Practically Family

    Messages:
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    The Netherlands
    Excellent idea! I did exactly the same thing with my Red Wing boots. It really works! Nice watch too!
     
  4. Tokyo Jones

    Tokyo Jones New in Town

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Great looking shoes, and watch!

    I wonder how a similar treatment would affect this pair of Alden wing-tip boots I'm considering.

    Does waxing the laces affect their ability to stay tied?
     
  5. AlanC

    AlanC My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
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    They look nice. I use Obenauf's on mine, which might be more readily available in the US.

    Alden is also coming out with a new range of Indy boots, which will be leather lined. There is a browner version in that range. They will be more expensive than the current standard model, however. Here's what they look like.

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  6. JanSolo

    JanSolo Practically Family

    Thanks for the nice comments. No, waxing the laces does not affect their ability to stay tied.
    Wow those new boots from Alden look really nice. Nice to hear that they are now available with leather lining.
    My idea of the perfect Indy Boot would be a shoe made from premium mid to dark brown waxed calfskin (boxcalf), full leather lining, leather outersole with Alden Commando heel and overlay for two thirds of the sole and better stitching. Competativly priced at 400 Euro/ 500 Dollars.:p
     
  7. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

    Messages:
    5,472
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    South of Nashville
    Jan, how well do the boots breathe after the treatment?

    I use Obenauf's on my boots, and they still seem to breathe OK. In fact my boots treated with Obenauf's seem to breathe better than my Gore Tex boots. Never thought about using my Barbour's wax for waterproofing boots. Sounds like a good idea, though.
     
  8. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    22,391
    Location:
    London, UK
    Jan, your boots look great. I imagine, too, using wax on shiny leather avoids a problem I had once... some yeaars ago, I owned a pair of waxy brown DMs. They obviously had always had something of a 'raw' finish, with wax applied to that. The difficulty I had with them was that if they got damp and did not dry out properly - such as the time I wore them at a festival for four days - they smelled, well, of wee wee. Not pleasant! By applying the wax over the top of a regular (shiny) finish liike that, you can avoid such indelicate problems! :)
     
  9. Very nice JanSolo! Seeing these pics has inspired me to pull out my LL Bean Chippewas from the back of my closet. I've had them for 12-15 yrs..and prob only wore them a few times. They are similar to yours in medium brown waxed leather...only with a cap toe and round waxed laces ....leather lined with a cushioneed innersole...although oil resistant soles. I'm assuming they were upgraded especially for LL Bean at the time. I'm going to try Obenaufs..and put them to use.
    I'll try and post pics after a little rejuvenating.
    HD
     
  10. JanSolo

    JanSolo Practically Family

    The boots haven't changed in terms of breathability during the last 3 years. I've even worn them during summer for a couple of times without problems.
    Barbour's current wax is a good choice. Years ago it was quite smelly had a strange colour and wasn't very easy to apply but they seem to have changed the "recipe". Their current wax is fully synthetic, odourless and very easy to apply. Due to the fact that it's synthetic I had no worries using it on leather as it won't do any harm to the leather fibres. I've used it on several pairs of shoes and boots over the last couple of years and I am always pleased with the result. I even used it on several pairs of black dress shoes which had some deep creases and it helped a lot relaxing the leather. The wax always improves the mechanical properties of leather (but never ever use it on suede, nubuck etc.)

    I would love to see some pics of your shoes or boots as well!
     
  11. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
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    Jan, interested to hear how it helped your black dress shoes - will they still take polish now?
     
  12. OneEyeMan

    OneEyeMan Practically Family

    Messages:
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    Here's a shot of the Filson's I purchased.
    They came very waxy feeling.
    Very water resistant and very breathable.
    And they're fully leather lined.
    I paid like $170 for them, direct from Filson.[​IMG]
    Lenny
     
  13. JanSolo

    JanSolo Practically Family

    Lenny, those Filsons look beautiful and they are very reasonably priced!!!

    Edward, they do take a polish after the wax treatment. Look at those double-stitched Derbys. They were badly creased after I forgot them in my trunk for over 3 month of hot summer days. But after 3 even coatings of wax, hairdryer, 2 hours on shoetrees and one final buff with a soft old t-shirt they were ready for a good polish with Kiwi black.

    Here they are: Hungarian double-stitched Derbys, once resoled, 6 years old:

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  14. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    22,391
    Location:
    London, UK
    Turned out well - I have a pair of boots I think I'll try that on. :)
     
  15. 58panheadfan

    58panheadfan Practically Family

    Messages:
    745
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Would it be a good idea to use this technique/application (Thornproof Dressing) on a leather jacket (of course only on smooth leather & no HH, naturally waterproof) to improve water-repellent...!?
     
  16. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

    Messages:
    5,472
    Location:
    South of Nashville
    Lenny, those are great looking boots. Going to have to get a pair. I usually only get Redwings, but those Filsons are really nice. Thanks.

    Jan, your treatment of those shoes, which look great, is what we used to do in the Army to bring a deep and high gloss shine to our boots. You did a fine job on them.
     
  17. kaiser

    kaiser A-List Customer

    Messages:
    394
    Location:
    Germany, NRW, HSK
    The wax treatment reminds me of using Snow Seal on Hicking Boots years ago.

    I am going to give this a try, one question though Jan, do you pre-soften the wax before applying it to the leather ? or apply it right our of the can ?
     

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