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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just ran a search on this and am still somewhat puzzled.

A lot of leather shoes have a smooth/pigmented top layer coating which is often a plastic of some kind. I'm thinking that this being so, shoe care is almost a waste of time as you cannot condition the interior, only buff the exterior.

Can anyone suggest the best way to 'open' up the top layer of smooth/pigmented leather without ruining it, to prepare for conditioning?
 

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Hi Simj

I cannot answer your question directly. However, on this subject I would recommend that even with such a shoe, that is protected in perhaps a plastic outer layer, the practise of adding another layer of polish should still be beneficial. My thought is that the additional polish would protect the shoe's plastic outer layer from incurring scratches.

What do you think?

Pipps
 

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Just ran a search on this and am still somewhat puzzled.

A lot of leather shoes have a smooth/pigmented top layer coating which is often a plastic of some kind. I'm thinking that this being so, shoe care is almost a waste of time as you cannot condition the interior, only buff the exterior.

Can anyone suggest the best way to 'open' up the top layer of smooth/pigmented leather without ruining it, to prepare for conditioning?
Are you referring to shoes that use a plastic coating like patent leather?

The only shoes I know that have a plastic like finish are patent leather shoes. Those only require mild soap and a damp cloth to remove any dirt and residue. And then buff with a cloth. No wax is required, it won't penetrate the surface.

Other leather shoes regardless of how they're dyed will benefit from polish/wax and leather conditioner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Are you referring to shoes that use a plastic coating like patent leather?quote]

It's not patent leather, it's regular smooth/pigmented leather which is finished with a plastic like coating. I use regular wax polish on some pairs and there is a tendency for build up which suggests that it is not soaking in :confused:

Maybe right Pipps
 

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I think the OP is talking about hi-shine, cavalry calf, polished binder (and whatever else this low maintenance finish is known as by the various makers).I recall Leatherman saying that he had talked to Church's about this and that is a plastic polymer applied to the shoe after the leather has been prepared by sanding to ensure adhesion. I have always polished 'polished' leather in the normal way.
 

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Plastic?

In my 60+ years of shoe ownership, the only pair of shoes I've ever owned that might have something that resembles plastic applied to them is a pair of corrected grain penny loafers. All of my other smooth leather shoes are not evidently plastic coated in any way. Plastic of my experience is a non-permeable substance that resists water and any other liquid, whereas my shoes can get wet, and happily soak up the pigment from the shoe cremes I use. However some leathers are apparently treated with silicone for waterproofing. At least, that's what Russell Moccasins says is true of the Weather Tuff leather they employ for some models.

As to the issue of paste wax, I stopped using it over thirty years ago because I found the use of cremes kept the leather in better condition than waxes. My experience is that the concept that paste wax somehow protects the leather from harm is an old cobbler's tale.
 

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Just ran a search on this and am still somewhat puzzled.

A lot of leather shoes have a smooth/pigmented top layer coating which is often a plastic of some kind. I'm thinking that this being so, shoe care is almost a waste of time as you cannot condition the interior, only buff the exterior.

Can anyone suggest the best way to 'open' up the top layer of smooth/pigmented leather without ruining it, to prepare for conditioning?
Simj, I know exactly what you mean.

The same seems to be true for Loakes. i.e. the dye is sealed in, behind a hard smooth shell, so polish and brushing is only affecting the shell not the leather.
The only method I ever used, that didn't involve stripping with chemicals, was an old military method when I was in the RAF which is not recommended if you don't know what you're doing.

It involved heating a tea spoon over an open flame and then applying the hot metal directly to the leather, this melted off the old polish and for want of a better word "plastic" coating and allowed for the build-up of new polish to the now bare,rough leather. It gave good results but it was a laborious process.

Nowadays there are chemicals you can buy to do the same job.
Have a look at the thread posted a couple of days ago from the chap who antiqued his Oxford brogues. He used chemcials
 

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If they have a plastic outer finish you could use armor-all on them ! Of course i would stink to high heaven but what's the point of rubbing a shoe polish over plastic, when it finally vents out all of its solvents and waxes etc. it would be a dry powder layer on top of plastic wouldn't it? I dont think that many shoes have this plastic coating on them.
 

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If they have a plastic outer finish you could use armor-all on them ! Of course i would stink to high heaven but what's the point of rubbing a shoe polish over plastic, when it finally vents out all of its solvents and waxes etc. it would be a dry powder layer on top of plastic wouldn't it? I dont think that many shoes have this plastic coating on them.
The probelm with that is that if the armor-all coat isn't 100% all over then when it rains the shoes will go white when the water gets under the coating.

We had RAF chaps tried this with disastorus results as they got found out in the rain and were put on a charge for damage to govt property.
 
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