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FedEx delivered a box at my doorstep yesterday. It contained my much anticpated new shoes from AE. I am a releatively new convert to AE and have really liked the shoes that I have prurchased from them so far. Previously most of my shoes came from J&M.

My new additions were the Strand, a beautiful captoe in black custom calf; and the McAllister wingtips in merlot burnished calf. I immediately laced these babies up and slid them on. Perfect fit!!!

But as I examined them closely, ready to put an inauguaral coat of polish on them, I noticed that the leather is not the silky smooth leather that I am used to from J&M, and I could not polish them to the deep military gloss that I can achieve with my J&M's. I pulled out a pair of my favorite J&M's, Deerfield wingtips in black calf, which I had polished after wearing them last (same polish -AE premium cream polish). The contrast to the new AE's was stark. The J&M's leather is silky smooth and shines to a deep military shine (something that I aspire to for all my shoes). Not a plastic looking shine, but one that makes you really appreciate the smooth finish of the leather.

So this leads me to several questions:

1. Is the shiney deep polished look desirable?
2. Is there a difference between calf and custom calf?
3. What does burnished mean?
4. Is there some kind of wax or coating on the AE shoes that needs to be removed to achieve the shine?
5. Are there different polishing techniques that should be used for different kinds of leather, colors, and finishes?
6. Is it true that black polish should be used on burnished shoes?
7. What terms or descriptions are out there to describe leather types and finishes, and colors (full grain, pebble grain, calf, burnished, analine, veal, soft grain, etc.) And what do these terms mean?

I apologize in advance if there is an existing thread that covers these topics. I did not find one that answers these specific questions.

Thanks for your help.
 

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So this leads me to several questions:

1. Is the shiney deep polished look desirable?
2. Is there a difference between calf and custom calf?
3. What does burnished mean?
4. Is there some kind of wax or coating on the AE shoes that needs to be removed to achieve the shine?
5. Are there different polishing techniques that should be used for different kinds of leather, colors, and finishes?
6. Is it true that black polish should be used on burnished shoes?
7. What terms or descriptions are out there to describe leather types and finishes, and colors (full grain, pebble grain, calf, burnished, analine, veal, soft grain, etc.) And what do these terms mean?
I'll take a shot at your questions, though I hope you also get some better-informed responses.

First let me say that I've been caring for shoes for over 50 years, including a stint in the USAF, so I have some experience with various methods and the results of each.

1. Not to me. I thought it was for many years, but came to prefer a lower luster glow. It looks richer to me, and tends not to show the inevitable mishaps encountered as much. And the way in which it's achieved is easier and IMO, better for the leather.

2. I suspect so. I'm not certain, but think custom calf may have an applied finish, perhaps also called correct grain.

3. Burnished usually means that the leather had some darker coloring added when the shoe was finished.

4. Can't say, except that I don't prefer AE shoe creme as it contains wax.

5. More than you can shake a stick at! Mine consists of a good cleaner and conditioner only (I use Meltonian saddle soap, many prefer Lexol products), plus a good shoe creme. I learned to avoid wax after 20 years of using it for the reasons stated in #1. I was surprised when others joined me in that on a recent thread.

6. If you wish to use wax, you might consider alternating the base color and black, and only using black until you achieve the desired results.

7. Wow! I betcha Andy has defined these terms. But - full grain should be whole hide as contrasted to split. Pebble grain is self-descriptive. Burnished means another color added, as explained. Calf is just that. Aniline is the type of die used. Veal can mean something older than calf, and is a nonspecific term. Soft grain can mean whatever they want it to.
 

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My Alden black calf captoes can be polished to a military shine - I wore them to the funeral of a former commander of Arlington National Cemetery, because I knew she'd appreciate the effort.

I have the same problem as you with the AEs. Each time they're polished they get a little bit shinier, so they'll get there. In the meantime appreciated the understated elegance. :)
 

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I am by no means an expert on leather goods but I bet your J&Ms are corrected grain or "waxed" leather. They will always looks shiny. Your AEs are calf. If you put A LOT of work into it you can make your AEs look like the J&Ms by spit shinning them a number of times over a period of time. However, you will not be able to make them shinny in the parts of the shoe that bend with your foot. I believe this is why they first made cap toes - so you could make the cap part shinny and let the rest of the shoe look not so shinny.

But seriously, calf looks nice in its less shinny form. Polish it regularly and keep an eggshall-like shine. Let all your friends walk around in their patent leather-esq shoes while you wear shoes that look like a nice pair of gloves.
 
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