Saturday, November 26, 2011

make-do: waxed suede shoes

my old oxfords were literally falling apart after Europe - I'd had them four years and walked oh so many miles in them. When these Matt Bernson shoes came up on sale for $30 (down from $150) at Urban Outfitters, I snapped up a pair for my mother and one for myself. They needed a few tweaks, though; these were laceless oxfords, the top of the shoe held together by a strip of elastic affixed between the suede and the leather lining, and fed through the two layers of the tongue. They were too loose on my narrow feet. So I cut the elastic out and sealed the slit in the layers shut with shoe goo. Next problem: I needed oxfords I could wear year-round here in Seattle, and these are made of suede.

The inexpensive solution? Sno-seal. Sno-seal is a beeswax-based leather sealant, and it really works. We would use sno-seal to seal a new pair of ice skates - you did four coats over four days when you first got your new skates, and never had to worry about it again. Use a hair dryer to heat the shoe to a comfortably warm temperature, then just rub gobs of the sno-seal in with a rag (I cut up Cass' old shirts and boxers into rags for just this kind of thing - you're going to have to throw the rag away afterward). Let the shoe sit for 10-15 minutes, and wipe away excess. TO do multiple coats, just warm the shoe back up and apply again, wait, wipe excess.

The sno-seal darkened the colour from a very lackluster, ho-hum grey to a nice slate. I even sealed the sole and heel, to protect them from water damage as well. Then I threaded in an old pair of laces leftover from when I painted my fryes green and switched out their laces, and there you have it! New, winter-ready brogues!

Of course, now I'm on a sno-sealing kick - all my boots are getting a good coat, especially my poor frye boots that got completely soaked in a rainstorm last year.


Jennifer said...

Great shoe makeover! I am thrilled to learn about Sno-Seal... I really can use it for so many of my shoes, and maybe some handbags too...

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this! Just bought a pair of Opening Ceremony boots on super sale, but problem is, I live in Portland they they are..bum ba baaa...SUEDE. This is exactly the info I was looking for : )

Dan said...

Hi, nice post. Never heard of snow seal before this, which would you choose form the lot on here?


fleur_delicious said...

Hi Dan -

I always get the 8 oz jar, with the lid. I'm not sure if the stuff in the tube is the same formula (because the stuff in the jar is so thick, it doesn't seem like it could be squeezed out of a tube).

Happy waterproofing!

Anonymous said...

the jar and the tube is the same - i've got them both.