The Shabby Professor

Starting Member
I think I know the answer to this one, but I don't want to screw up my shoes without checking first. I got a new pair of Regal dress shoes a while ago, and they've had nothing but a few coats of creme shoe polish. However, I noticed that the creases that are forming are kind of...sparkly. I hope the picture shows it well enough:



I picked at the problem area, off to the edges, a little bit and got flakes of something coming off.

Ages ago, when I was at MCRD San Diego, the DIs said that our shoes and boots came with a plastic coating, and they'd never shine properly unless we scrubbed them to death with stiff bristle brushes and saddle soap. At that time, we scrubbed them down to a grayish-white and re-dyed them black. I assumed it was a boot camp game, but now I wonder.

Is this the mythical "plastic" coating that they spoke of? If not, anybody know what I'm dealing with? I haven't had the problems with any of my other dress shoes, but they are off-brand and quite a bit cheaper.

If so, is saddle soap and a stiff bristle brush the best way to go about cleaning it, or is there a less labor intensive solution?

Thanks for looking.

-val
 

momsdoc

Connoisseur
justonemore, is confused, because he buys quality footwear. Inexpensive CG leather can have a coating on it. Whether it is plastic or some other substance I do not know. If he had made the unfortunate mistake I have in purchasing some CG shoes, he would have encountered something like this. Thankfully I have not worn them, nor will I, enough to start developing the creases you show. But I have feared that a similar occurrence would eventually result.

Since you said they are off brand and quite a bit cheaper, I think the best resolution would be to replace them with a full grained shoe. As you can now see, spending more up front becomes cheaper in the long run. How many wears did you get out of those shoes? A well made full grained calf shoe will provide 150-200 wears if cared for before needing another $120 investment in recrafting, or just heels and soles for a bit less. Then you have another 150-200 wears for probably what those shoes cost you in the first place. And on and on.
 

Fred G. Unn

Super Member
momsdoc nailed it, those are corrected grain. I had a pair of Fratelli Rossettis a couple of years ago that I had purchased without realizing they were CG, and they developed the same sort of creasing. I tried stripping the shiny finish off with Renomat, but only succeeded in making the whole shoe sort of dull instead of the sort of high shine the CG had. No matter what sort of creme and wax I tried I couldn't get them really looking respectable. I just ended up thrifting them. CG shoes are not worth it IMO and are basically disposable.

(Of course styles such as pebble grain are technically corrected grain too. I don't mean those, which can be done with high quality leather. I just mean the type of CG where inferior leather is sanded smooth to remove imperfections, then coated with some sort of plastic. Don't buy those.)
 

justonemore

Elite Member
justonemore, is confused, because he buys quality footwear. Inexpensive CG leather can have a coating on it. Whether it is plastic or some other substance I do not know. If he had made the unfortunate mistake I have in purchasing some CG shoes, he would have encountered something like this. Thankfully I have not worn them, nor will I, enough to start developing the creases you show. But I have feared that a similar occurrence would eventually result.

Since you said they are off brand and quite a bit cheaper, I think the best resolution would be to replace them with a full grained shoe. As you can now see, spending more up front becomes cheaper in the long run. How many wears did you get out of those shoes? A well made full grained calf shoe will provide 150-200 wears if cared for before needing another $120 investment in recrafting, or just heels and soles for a bit less. Then you have another 150-200 wears for probably what those shoes cost you in the first place. And on and on.
I'm guessing that as I'm so disconnected from the masses that my political career is over. Lol. :tongue2:
 
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espressocycle

Senior Member
momsdoc nailed it, those are corrected grain. I had a pair of Fratelli Rossettis a couple of years ago that I had purchased without realizing they were CG, and they developed the same sort of creasing. I tried stripping the shiny finish off with Renomat, but only succeeded in making the whole shoe sort of dull instead of the sort of high shine the CG had. No matter what sort of creme and wax I tried I couldn't get them really looking respectable. I just ended up thrifting them. CG shoes are not worth it IMO and are basically disposable.

(Of course styles such as pebble grain are technically corrected grain too. I don't mean those, which can be done with high quality leather. I just mean the type of CG where inferior leather is sanded smooth to remove imperfections, then coated with some sort of plastic. Don't buy those.)
I've seen some quite serviceable corrected grain shoes, but they are few and far between.
 

The Shabby Professor

Starting Member
Sorry, I seem to have phrased things badly. The shoes in question are Regal, the only model information I have is on the box where it says "811BR AL", and they ran around 200USD (I'm in Japan) The off-brand shoes I was referring to are my other dress shoes, which were considerably cheaper, around the 100USD mark.

When in the shop, is there any way short of reading the label (obvious, I know, but I'm functionally illiterate in Japanese) to tell whether leather is full-grained or corrected grain? I don't recall any information on the the tags other than price, and chose the Regal brand partly because many of the other shoes in the place were brands I wasn't familiar with at all, and Japan is infested with "Italian" brand names that have little or nothing to do with Italy beyond someone spinning a roulette wheel of Italian given and family names.

Thanks again.

-val
 

calfnkip

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
@Shabby Professor

I could be wrong, and I wouldn't be able to tell for certain without actually having your shoes in my hands, but I'm going to do the best I can at long distance here :)

The problem you describe is likely not due to the resins in the corrected grain leather, but from a dressing shoe factories sometimes apply in the packing room.

The purpose of this dressing is to give the shoes an attractive look in the box. It's essentially a spray on shine.

Your best bet is to refrain from applying too much polish until this overspray wears off, which it will through a combination of use and brushing with a regular horsehair brush.
From the photo the shoes are an attractive color, and you shouldn't be ashamed of them for being CG. CG has a place in any man's rotation of shoes, especially for inclement weather.

Hope this helps.
 

momsdoc

Connoisseur
You could ask the SA. That is if they speak enough English, and if they even know the difference between CG, and full grain calf.

Otherwise, it's a matter of experience. After seeing enough quality full grain leather, you will know the difference, except maybe some of the good CG. Black is much more difficult to discern, as it's hard to see the pores and grain, and the coloration is so uniform.
 

TheoProf

Senior Member
Agree with calfnip on this one. J&M Meltons, as one example, look fine and are especially good on rainy days as they have better water resistance. Follow his instructions and it should solve the problem eventually. Let me also add that you should use a wax based polish rather than shoe cream on CG. I think that's part of your problem.
 

Fred G. Unn

Super Member
When in the shop, is there any way short of reading the label (obvious, I know, but I'm functionally illiterate in Japanese) to tell whether leather is full-grained or corrected grain?
At the risk of mentioning the obvious, calfskin shoes are made from the skin of a calf. Since they are skin, when examined closely you should be able to see the fine pores. Sometimes you can even make out other flaws such as scarring or insect bites, but these should usually get the shoes designated as "seconds" or "subs." If you can't make out any pores they likely were sanded off, given some sort of coating and you have corrected grain. Manufacturers often give CG leather other names such as binder leather, bookbinder leather, high shine leather, etc., but it's all the same thing and really should be avoided.
 

The Shabby Professor

Starting Member
You could ask the SA. That is if they speak enough English, and if they even know the difference between CG, and full grain calf.
Funny you should mention that. I'd been looking at shoes in that particular shop on and off for a few weeks, trying to decide what I liked best. The day I actually bought them, the clerk on duty assiduously busied himself tidying up in whatever corner of the store I wasn't. Fortunately, the pair I chose had my size on display, so I took them to the counter and said (in Japanese) "I'd like these, please." Clerk replied (in Japanese) with, basically, "Oh thank goodness, you speak Japanese. I was so scared I wouldn't be able to understand you."

Nearly walked out, that sort of prejudice gets old real fast, but I really liked the color of the shoes. Suffice to say I won't be headed back there any time soon though.
 

Fred G. Unn

Super Member

The Shabby Professor

Starting Member
Typical of my luck, the Regal Shoes Japan site doesn't show the ones that I bought. Anyway, I'd rather educate myself on leather for the future, so that I'm not dependent on whatever word the advertising department decided to stick into the description.

However, I'd like to offer my thanks to everyone for your help, advice, and suggestions. Armed with your information, I headed into the city today. First stop was a dedicated Regal shop, where they told me it was normal, and the flaking would gradually disappear. Second stop was the shoe repair corner of a reasonably high-end men's department store (Hankyu Men's), which sells shoes from Regal up to "oh my god that costs more than a used car." I told the cobbler (if that's the right term) that the shoes were about a month old, had been worn maybe five times, and had had a couple coats of Saphir creme on them. He asked me if I was sure I hadn't sprayed anything on them, and recommended that I bring them back later so that he could strip the coating off of them, won't cost much but it'll take about a week for them to be ready. I think that's the path I'm going to take, since I really like the look of them, and my paycheck won't allow me to just write them off and buy something else, even in the same price range.

Again gentlemen, thanks for your help. I'll try and remember to update with the results once I get them stripped of the "mirror finish," and pay considerably more educated attention the next time I buy dress shoes.
 
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