The 5 Shoe Amendments – How To Take Care Of Leather Shoes

A Story About Crotch Ripped Jeans

I think we´ve all experienced our jeans beginning to rip around the crotch area and with time create an awkward hole that you don´t want anyone to see.

I’m not sure if companies do this intentionally to make us consumers buy more jeans or if it’s just a coincidence. But never the less it’s annoying, and every time my jeans began to rip around that area I would normally just buy new ones.

And every time I could see that it was about to happen I always shouted to myself “ARE YOU SERIOUS!?!. I bought this pair two months ago?!?” it was always frustrating and I wished there was a cheaper way to fix this problem than spending money on a new pair of jeans.

One day on my way home from high school. I passed by a shop that turned out to be run by a tailor. I had passed this shop every day on my way home ever since I began high school. But only now really paid attention to it and the reason why was because it had a sign on the window that offered to fix unwanted holes any kind of clothing INCLUDING JEANS for a good price.

I felt as my prayers had been heard.

I was honestly a bit embarrassed the first time I went. I had 3 pairs that desperately needed fixing and I was uncomfortable, to say the least.

Asking someone you don´t know if they would please fix that hole around your crotch area in your pair of jeans was a bit awkward in my opinion, looking back at it now I see how dumb I was for thinking that.

Afterall it was the man’s job to fix stuff like this.

Never the less I was happy to be met with an understanding expression from a guy that told me “give me 15 min. then I will fix those holes, no problem”

I took a seat and then fiddled with my phone until he got back. He said 15 minutes but he did all three in 12 and when I looked at the job that he had done.

It looked as if the jeans never had a hole, to begin with. I was impressed and thanked him many times because these were my favourite pairs of jeans that I thought was done for.

As I was about to pay I discovered that not only did he fix clothing put also shoes. I asked him about it and he told me that he indeed also fixed shoes.

I began talking about my passion for sneakers and while he didn´t know that much about sneakers he knew a lot about dressing shoes including leather shoes. For the sake of simplicity and to keep his identity anonymous I will refer to the shop owner as “Dan”.

Dan had been in this tailor/shoe worker profession most of his life due to his father being the tailor/shoe worker in the village where he grew up.

He took on his fathers profession and moved to the city where I lived, to open up a business that specialized in fixing clothes and shoes.

It is his wisdom on leather shoes that I want to share today. So here you have it, this is Dans 5 amendments on how to take care of leather shoes!

 

1. The Number Of Protective Coats

One of the tasks that Dan was often faced with when a customer had problems with leather shoes was fixing scuffings and overall damage to the shoes. And while most of the problems were relatively easy for him to fix and he enjoyed the easy money made from these jobs.

He told me that these problems were easy to prevent if the person just made sure to apply protective coats to his shoes effectively.

He told me that he had met people who would come in with shoes worth hundreds of dollars that needed fixing, and when he asked what kind of protection they used to make sure he knew what precautions to take to ensure the shoe wasn’t damaged.

They would look at him with a confused look and ask “protection? What protection?”

These people were highly preferred in contrast to those who told him that they had used one big coat of protection every time it was due. While he again, did enjoy the money from these easy jobs.

He told me that most people could easily prevent a majority of these expenses if they protected their shoes the right may.

The best way to protect your leather shoes according to Dan was to first get hold of either a preventive spray or some shoe wax.

And then apply a thin layer of coating 3 times. DO NOT JUST APPLY 1 BIG COAT, THIS WILL DAMAGE THE SHOE. This was according to Dan. the best preventive method to ensure that your leather shoes are well protected. But you also have to make sure to do it frequently. Just because you do it well one time, does not mean it will last forever.

 

2. Wet Shoes Near A Heater Is A No Go

One of the most annoying requests Dan would get was to fix shoes that had been damaged due to the customer drying them close to the heater. The reason for this is that these requests are almost impossible to fulfil and most customers don´t understand that.

Drying leather shoes or any kind of shoe for that matter, next to a heater is the worst solution for drying wet shoes since this method will make the materials harden and with time the shoe will begin to tear apart and crack.

He told me about one customer who had done this to his business shoes a couple of times and was, of course, beginning to experience tears and cracks in the material.

When Dan told him that there was nothing for him to do, the customer insisted on that he could just paint the cracks over with some paint to hide the marks.

Dan expressed that this would not be a viable solution to his problem and that it would most likely just fix the problem temporarily. But the customer still insisted on getting the shoes painted.

Dan did the work and was paid for it, some might say that this was a rather immoral decision since he took money for something that only creates a temporary solution. But this is was Dan had to say on the matter

I told him several times that this would be a bad solution for him. But he wouldn´t listen to me. He kept insisting on paying to get the shoes painted and to be honest who was I to refuse what was essentially free money

His advice on how to best fix wet shoes is to, first of all, KEEP THEM AWAY FROM THE HEATER. Second of all, take some old newspapers, curl them up inside the shoe and then give it time to dry.

It may not dry as fast as if you had put them near or on a heater. But not only will this method NOT ruin your shoes. But it will also help keep the overall shape of the shoe intact.

3. Always Clean Your Shoes First

This is also something that I have touched on, in my guide on “how to paint your shoes”. But its just a great advice in general.

Before you plan on dying anything surrounding the care of your shoes, make sure you clean them first.

Dan would always make sure to give the shoes he worked on a good clean before beginning to apply any form of protection, paint or polish on them.

Some cleanings would be more thorough than others. But this little detail is important no matter what because applying anything to your shoes when they are dirty is a bad idea because the dirt then sticks to the overall all shoe.

Not only does this make the shoe look ugly but if the dirt falls off the shoe again, It may leave untreated spots on your shoes that will be visible to others when you are wearing the shoe in question.

So always remember to give your shoe a good clean before doing anything else. It’s a simple thing to do yet people tend to forget it or skip it because they think it doesn’t matter.

In Dan’s own words “cleaning DOES matter!”

 

4. Let Your Shoes Breath

One of the downsides to working with shoes in Dan’s opinion is that he sometimes has was to work on a shoe that smells like the cross between old fish and plant fertilizer (his words not mine). and while he enjoys what he does, he would still wish that more people would be better at letting their shoes breathe a little.

We humans sweat about 25ml from our feet every day. And because of this, it’s important to let out shoes breathe to avoid making them stinky. Every time Dan had a customer with smelly shoes, he had a way of subtlely hinting the problem at them, to make them consider buying a can of shoe spray to fight the smell.

He would do this by telling the customer in question a fictive story about his brother and his smelly shoes, and about how Dan fixed this problem by buying his “brother” a can of shoe deodorant for his brothers birthday when the customer came to get their shoe.

Dan knew that smelly shoes can be an embarrassing subject to some, and going about it in this way would help the customer save face.

The story was, of course, a lie but Dan still hoped the customer would get the hint about their shoes smelling bad so that they would be inclined to buy some shoe deodorant spray either form him or another store. sometimes they got the hint others times they didn´t but what can you do I guess.

Dan’s method to prevent smelly shoes is to again “let them breathe”. Switching out shoes during the week to give each pair a little bit of breathing time is a good way to prevent them catching a hideous smell.

But I also do understand that most people don´t own more than one pair of shoes. And if that’s the case I Highly suggest that you consider buying another pair of shoes if you face this kind of problem frequently, or at least go out and invest in shoe deodorant spray. Your shoes and your feet will thank you for it.

 

5. Use The Right Products

Something that really grinds Dan’s gears is when he gets a request from a customer about a damaged shoe and he then asks if there are any products used on the shoe that he should be aware of. And the customer then goes on to list a product that is not supposed to be used on their shoes in the first place.

He predominately experiences this with people who own leather shoes but don´t know anything about taking care of them.

Dan is usually a calm and cool guy. But when he begins to talk about those customers that come into his shop, in hope that he can fix a problem that could´ve easily been avoided if they had just used the right product.

You can hear how much they really annoy him by the way he talks about them, and you can also see a vein around his eye that begins to pop due to complete annoyance. It’s really fun seeing him this way, to be honest.

But despite some of these jobs being doable and provides him with good money for his business. He can not state how important it is to look up the materials of your shoe, and also what materials your shoe care products are intended for.

This is possibly the most important thing to remember when it comes to protecting your new shoes, since ignoring this can destroy your shoes completely and where the best case scenario is that they are salvageable. But at a high cost.

To Dan, this is rather ironic since He thinks that the reason why people would willingly use the wrong products on their shoes, is so that they don´t have to go out and spend money on the right product.

The ironic part is that this “saving” can end up costing them more money, than if they had just gone out and bought the right product in the first place.

 

To Dan

Dan fixed a lot of crotch holes in my jeans throughout my time in high school. And I’m very thankful for the jobs that he did.

I would sometimes spend an hour or two at his shop when I was down there to have something fixed and just talk to him about shoes and hear his stories about his customers, it was great.

Unfortunately, I had to move to another city due to college and I never managed to say goodbye because of the process. It’s sad and I really regret not taking the time to say goodbye.

In case you see this “Dan” thank you for all the times you fixed my jeans and I’m sorry I never said goodbye to you. I just had a lot going on in my mind when I had to plan my move. I also hope you don´t mind me sharing your wisdom here on my website :).

In case you are not Dan but just another awesome reader, I then hope you found my article helpful or at least a good read!

If you have any questions make sure to leave them in a comment below and I will happily get back to you!

6 comments

  1. This is very informative writing on an often overlooked topic. Love the completeness of your writing and your style. Keep up the good work!

    1. thanks!
      I thought that since all men at some point in their life are going to own leather shoes. it’s important to have this information out there

  2. Hi Nikolas
    That was a great read! I had no knowldege of how to take of leather shoes. I never did any of the above! But I will keep these points in mind and try and do them.

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