Whether it is European Calf, Calf Suede tanned in England or Cordovan from Horween in North America, Crockett & Jones prides itself on using the finest quality leathers available. By doing so, we provide our customers with a product that will continue to age well given the right care and attention.
How to Care for Grain Leathers
The Grain skins used by Crockett & Jones are of the highest quality, tanned by the finest and most knowledgeable European tanneries still in operation today. All of the grain leathers used are embossed Calf skins. With a little help from Ben and Chris, both managers of Crockett & Jones stores in London, we have produced a short film to help you care for and appreciate the grain used to produce your fine footwear.
REMOVE THE DUST & DIRT
Brush your shoes to remove dirt and dust. (You should have a brush specifically for this job, do not use your horsehair polishing brush). Grain shoes might require slightly more pressure than smooth calf. The grain surface is uneven and often contains broguing.
If brushing your shoes does not remove all of the dirt, you can use a damp cloth (do not use any soap or solvent based fluid) to clean away the areas.
Make sure you leave the shoes to dry naturally; you must not dry your shoes on a radiator or heater.
For very stubborn stains, you can use a light mixture of detergent and water.
NOURISH THE LEATHER
Before polish can be applied, we recommend using a moisturising renovator cream called Renovateur. This non-greasy beeswax based cream gently cleans the surface by removing unwanted wax, whilst nourishing the natural leather underneath to help to protect it from cracking in the future and thus prolonging the life of your shoes.
Apply with a cotton cloth or brush (clean, without wax) all over your shoes. Do not put too much product on the shoes as you should be able to work in relatively small amounts into an area. Leave to dry before you buff off with a brush. Due to the harsher conditions your grain shoes & boots may be exposed to, using the Renovateur more often will help protect them and length their life span.
Once dry, spread a small amount of polish evenly over the shoes with a cotton cloth or an applicator brush and leave to rest (dry) for a moment. For shoes or boots with a storm welt, it is very important to be fairly generous with shoe cream and wax polish in this area. The welt is where water will accumulate so added protection will once again aid lifespan. We advise you to use shoe cream for more regular shoe care. shoe cream is also recommended if the leather looks dry or has at all faded.
Usually the time it takes to cover the other shoe is an adequate time period. This process can be repeated multiple times depending on the condition of the shoes.
Each time, a little more wax polish will remain on the leather. It is important to do this in stages if you wish to repeat. Do not cover the shoes in too much product at one time.
After the polish has had the chance to settle into the calf, brush the shoes all over with a back-and-forth motion, using a fine/soft horsehair brush (Ben's favourite!).
Brushing should have removed most of the polish and evened up the colouration of the shoes once again.
Buffing the shoes with a cotton cloth for a final shine removes the tiny brush marks from the previous stage. (Try not to buff the shoes too hard as this causes friction and excessive heat can darken the leather)
Before you get started
A FEW ADDITIONAL TIPS...
USE SHOE TREES - Using wooden shoe trees will help to absorb moisture and maintain the shape of the shoes as they dry out. Using a shoe horn prevents damage to the heels, counter and top line.
CHAMOIS LEATHER - After a quick buff with a cotton cloth, use a chamois leather (well used if possible). Chamois have an oily feel to them and present the softest type of material to achieve the highest possible shine without going to the trouble of Mirror Shine / High Shine / Bulling.
COLOUR LIFT - If your grain shoes or boots have lost a little colour due to the elements or sun bleaching, use your shoe cream a little more often. Shoe cream has more colour pigment than the wax polish and will maintain a rich depth of colour in the calf grain leathers. Once the shoe cream has been applied, follow with a wax polish for added protection.
STORM WELT CARE - A storm welt aids waterproofing along the feather-edge (between the sole and the upper). This storm-welt can really benefit from a coating or wax. Unlike the upper leather, we recommend putting a healthy amount of wax using a smaller welt brush. Allow to dry (soak in) and buff off with a different buffing brush.
WAX CRAYON - During the manufacturing process, we ink stain and wax set the sole edges to increase water resistance. As one can imagine, soles take the most abuse during wear, coming into contact with hard surfaces regularly. At home, you can use a hard wax crayon to apply a similar colour wax to the edges where any raw fibres from the leather welt or sole are visible or where the factory wax has been damaged through wear.
Getting a Grip on Calf Grain Leather
The tanneries we buy our calf grain from are the most expensive and skilled in the world. We could snap up printed leathers for 20 per cent less elsewhere, but we choose not to, these tanneries get it right...