How To Patina Leather Dress Shoes | Kirby Allison

How To Patina Leather Dress Shoes | Kirby Allison

Hi, I’m Kirby Allison and we love helping the well-dressed
take care of their wardrobes. In today’s video I’m going to show
you how to antique a pair of shoes to add a little bit of extra patina to give your shoes just that added touch of character. If you have any questions or
comments during this video, please feel free to ask them to the
comments section below. I enjoy getting back to as many of those questions and comments as
possible. Shoe antiquing is the process by which you produce darker areas on an otherwise light colored pair of shoes. Antiquing is generally associated with an older pair of shoes because shoes naturally darken over time as you polish them. Generally this occurs on the edges of the toe cap and the heels. The natural process is just that natural buildup of the nutrients that you use in polish, the waxes, the butters just darken the leather. Over several years, as you’re polishing a pair of shoes, you’ll always see the color of a
pair of shoes with a patina evolve and change. Now that said, a lot of new pair of
shoes these days are being actually produced with antiquing or discoloration of the leather
itself either through darkening or lightening certain areas of the
leather just to produce additional
character. Now at the factory, this is normally done either through
burnishing which is where the leather is burnt with a fastly spinning wheel or it is produced
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with an alcohol based leather dye , where the leather itself is
permanently dyed. Now a third way that you can do this at home is by using a darker colored shoe polish to just simply darken those areas of the shoe you wish in order to produce the effect of antiquing. The beauty of the Saphir
Medaille d’Or Pigmented Cream Polish is that it
has a much higher concentration of pigments and it’s very effective at producing a do it yourself antiquing. In this video, I’m going to show you how to do this
on a pair of walnut Allen Edmonds that we purchased for our 50 dollar eBay challenge. Now another benefit of antiquing is that it can be used strategically to actually conceal water damage or any type of significant scuffing or scratching that results in the discoloration of your leather beyond what a traditional matching pigmented shoe polish can fix. Whenever you antique, you’re darkening this area, and that allows you to kind of blend a darkened area of the leather that
maybe was stained with oil or maybe a little bit of water or salt and it just allows you to conceal
those areas in addition to adding character to your shoe. So in this tutorial these shoes have
already been polished using something like our basic shoeshine routine. You could even do this after, say, the presidential shoeshine. So what you’re not going to see me
do is I’m not going to polish the entire shoe. I’m not going to condition it, because in this video I’m just
focusing on antiquing. Now to further elevate the
antiquing, I’m going to first use the Saphir Dark Brown Pommadier Cream Polish. But then I’m going to use the dark
brown Saphir Mirror Gloss to just provide some additional tint and pigment and really make the antiquing stand out. So let’s get started. Step 1 I’m going to apply the darker polish to begin the antiquing
process. It’s important to remember that the Saphir Pommadier Cream Polish and really all shoe polishes have a relatively transparent pigment. It’s not like an oil paint that the
moment that you put it on the shoe is going
a totally and completely saturate and change the color. Because of this, it’s important to
apply several coats and actually use a darker color polish that is one to two or even three shades darker than the shoes that you’re trying to
antique. If I wanted to, I could even use
black polish but I think that’s going to be a
little dramatic for these really light chestnut colored shoes. So here I’m gonna use the dark brown
Saphir Pommadier Cream Polish. I’m going to simply apply the polish
using a chamois. And this is important because you want to really massage the cream into the shoe itself. Applying medium to firm pressure just to ensure that the leather
itself is receiving the polish and the pigments. Traditionally, antiquing is just kind of on the edges of the toe, kind of right here at the tip. You could even do a little bit of
antiquing kind of right along this edge which I’m not going to here. And then of course, antiquing in the back quarters of the shoe right at the heel. So I’ve got the dark brown Saphir
Pommadier Cream Polish and I’m just going to kind of tap this around and then begin massaging it into the leather. Now you can see just exactly how transparent this pigment is. So it’s going to take several coats of polish in order to allow these shoes or the leather to begin absorbing that pigment with enough to actually change the color of the
shoes. After one coat you can really see
what I’m talking about, the pigment in the
Cream Polish, although very dark in the jar itself, is actually quite transparent. So we’re going to have to apply
several coats, 4, 5, 6 coats in order to really produce the desired antiquing
effect, and also the more you polish the
shoes over time, the better the antiquing will
become. So as you’re doing this, you’re just looking for the leather
to begin darkening along these areas. Again, you know you can really
buffer how dark or how dramatic the antiquing is by selecting a color of polish that either is a lot darker like this dark brown or only slightly darker. If I were to use a medium brown, again it would be an even more
subtle antiquing process. But as you can see, I’m really kind of rubbing the polish in quite aggressively with really medium to firm pressure kind of right here along the edges where I want to make sure that the polish is absorbed into the leather itself. Now one of the important things to
remember is that nothing is permanent
whenever you’re using shoe polish to antique and you could simply come over this with the Saphir Reno’Mat if you were
completely unhappy with the results and it would help remove a lot of this polish. So nothing is permanent whenever you’re using shoe polish antique, now if I was burnishing which you really wouldn’t do at home, or if I was trying to use a leather dye, then the antiquing would be absolutely permanent and you wouldn’t be able to reverse
that in any way if you were unhappy with the results. But as I really kind of push this polish into the leather, you can really begin to see this antiquing process take place. Now I’m not buffing this polish off
yet because again, I’m just working on getting as much
of this pigment into the leather as possible. Then what we’ll do is we’ll buff this off and then come over it with some wax polish to help really kind of further draw contrast to the antiquing by elevating the shine. One of the things that I’m doing is
as I’m really beginning to build up
this antiquing, I’ll take a little bit of the
polish, this dark brown polish kind of out of the area that I’m antiquing. The point is just to kind of help
provide a little bit more of a fade so that it’s not just a much darker area of the shoe and then no transition at all to the rest of the leather. So as I am kind of working this polish in, I’m just you know again, I don’t have a ton of polish on my
chamois. Just a little bit. I’m just, you know kind of working the rest of this area just to provide a little bit of that fade or kind of transition. Antiquing or that darkening most commonly, again, is kind of along the edges just because for whatever reason traditionally it kind of, as you’re polishing, the edges just seem to catch more polish and darken more easily than say the top of the toe cap. So just to try to make this look as
natural as possible, I’m really kind of working, you know, the front of the capo and the sides more than I am the top. Okay so I’ve spent about 5 minutes, five to 10 minutes, really kind of massaging that dark brown polish into the leather. You can really begin to see it kind
of build up right here. Now the shoe looks quite dull
because I haven’t buffed the polish yet, but next I’m going to buff the
Cream Polish using a horsehair brush to pull off any excess and really begin to develop that
shine. And I think that you’re going to
like the direction you see the shoes going. Another thing that I did is I just
did a few passes kind of along the side and across the vamp, again the darkening here is quite dramatic but mostly because we just haven’t
buffed off that extra polish yet with the horsehair brush. Because I’ve applied quite a bit of
polish here, several coats without buffing it off of the
horsehair brush, you’ll want it but quite vigorously and really, you know two to three
times longer than you would normally buff if you
were just applying a simple Cream Polish with one or two coats. Now if there’s any type of polish
buildup in the broguing, you know, a simple trick is to just
take your shoeshine brush and kind of tap that and the bristles will get in those
holes grab some of that polish off. There is some polish buildup right
here at the bottom of the upper where it
meets the heel. And so I’m just going to take my
chamois and really get in here just to kind of smooth that out because I don’t like the way that
that looks. Again, you kind of see it right here
again, your brush isn’t going to be able to
get in there and your chamois doesn’t get
in there very easily either. So I’m just going to really take
this and push it into the leather to get that out. More buffing. Looking fantastic. OK. So just right here, we’ve only done this once, right, as we do this additional times, so you could do this two
three four more times, you can see that we’re beginning to build up a nice beautiful antiquing on this right shoe. You compare it to the left one and you can really see the difference with what we’re talking about. I think that actually this shoe is really beginning to look great. This left shoe is a beautiful Allen
Edmonds Walnut. But you know it’s just a little bit one-dimensional, and you don’t see much kind of
dimension or any patina on the shoe and that’s great. Right. But on the right shoe you know, that we have polished with this dark brown polish, you know you really can begin to see
a little bit of dimensionality and character and texture begin to develop. You know it creates a slightly more
casual shoe I suppose, but certainly one with more character. And it really looks nice if this is
something that you enjoy. You know the heel, I think looks particularly good. You know, you compare this to the heel of the other shoe, the antiquing just gives the shoe a
little bit of that subtle character. Now if you were happy with these
results, and the really nice soft shine of just using your Cream Polish, then you could stop here. But for this video, I’m going to take it even a step
farther by applying a little bit of dark brown wax Pate de Luxe polish. And then I’m going to use the dark
brown Mirror Gloss on this toee and the edge to just further draw the attention to the beautiful
antiquing that we’ve accomplished. I’m actually going to start out
first with the Mirror Gloss. Now if you haven’t seen our series on how to do a mirror shine, check out our series that we have on
the YouTube channel. That’s an extensive five part series that goes into great detail about how to not only produce the ultimate mirror shine, but how to maintain
it, and what happens whenever it begins
to crack, which inevitably happens. So here I’m using our Hanger Project High Shine Chamois and this is the Saphir Mirror Gloss. Now as you can tell, it’s quite a dense polish because it has such a high
concentration of those hard waxes that allows you to produce that mirror shine. I’m just going to apply this onto the toe itself. And again you’ll see a little bit of
the original patina begin to shift, the simple reason is that especially wax polishes contain solvents in them, and so the solvents will help kind of melt off some of that
original patina if you will, so that’s why it’s good, if you’re antiquing your shoes, you definitely want to be using a
wax polish in the same color of the antiquing. Now I could have gone for a slightly
lighter brown, maybe, because the pigment is darkening this a little bit, but there’s not as much pigment in the Wax Polish as there is in the Cream Polish, so it’s not as dramatic. OK so I’m applying a generous coat of the Saphir Mirror Gloss. I’m going to do the same to the rear of the shoe. Now you want to smooth this out as you apply it. Make sure it’s not uneven because if
you have uneven contours in the Mirror Gloss, you won’t be able to buff that as
easily because it’s a hard wax and it will prevent the shine from
coming out. OK. So we’ve got one coat applied, then the next step is to find a clean portion of your chamois, take a little bit of water, and begin to buff it to a shine. So the dark brown Mirror Gloss is actually continuing to darken that cap. I’m actually going to transition to a neutral and just see how this works. I’m going to switch to a clean area of my chamois when applying this
because I don’t want to of that dark brown
pigment to rub off, going to a switch to a clean area of the
chamois just so I don’t have any dark brown
pigment rub off onto the wax. If it did, it’s really not a problem
you can just simply clean it with the chamois, but I’d like to avoid it if I can. So again another generous coat of the Mirror Gloss because
remember, we’re using the Mirror Gloss to
really build up that foundation of hard waxes that we are then going to use to produce
that mirror shine. Now you can see a little bit of
pigment rubbing up on the chamois. It’s totally normal. Again, even products such as the
Mirror Gloss that has a really high concentration of
hard waxes and a low solvent ratio still is going to pull off a little of the polish and pigment. It always happens. It’s totally normal and not anything to worry about. So again, just applying a nice generous thick layer of Mirror Gloss on the toe cap. I’m going to do the same on the heel. Now what I love about the
Mirror Gloss again, is that it dries very quickly especially compared to something
like that Pate de Luxe. You know if you were doing this just with the Pate de Luxe, you’d honestly want to have a
hairdryer with cold air blowing on the Pate de Luxe just to kind of
help expedite how quickly it dries, because you can’t buff the polish to a shine if it hasn’t dried yet
because what you’ll end up doing is just kind of
pushing it around on the leather versus buffing it so it’s important that the polish is dried. The wetter the polish, the more solvents in it, the longer it’s going to take to dry and that’s why the Mirror Gloss
dries so quickly. OK, so we’re on the third coat of
the Mirror Gloss here. Now I’m going to start using a little bit of the Pate de Luxe as I buff this off. Again, the Pate de Luxe really works absolutely brilliantly in conjunction of the Mirror Gloss, it has higher solvents, you really want to think
of as almost wet buffing so I’m not going to apply much. Maybe that was a little more than I
should have applied, and so just a little bit of water a little bit of Pate de Luxe and what I’m doing here is I’m just
going to begin that process of the buff. Now you really want to kind of feel
the polish at this point. As I said earlier, it needs to be dry. So if you feel that the polish is
wet or it’s not fully dry or it just feels soft, then allow it a little bit more time to dry. Cold water helps harden the waxes. So that’s another trick you can use. You can put it under a fan or a hairdryer just to give it some
air, but otherwise, you just want to start buffing it to shine. A little bit of Pate de Luxe. Here, if you look at this, you know I’m really just tapping it. Just that tiny tiny amount of
Pate de Luxe on my chamois. Another benefit of using the Mirror Gloss in the antiquing
process is that these hard waxes will
actually help seal the pigment into the leather and protect that pigment from coming off. So if you were to rebuff
this, you don’t have to worry about really
affecting any of the original pigment that you
put on with the Cream Polish because it’s behind several layers of these hard waxes from the Saphir Mirror Gloss. Little bit of water, a little bit of Pate de Luxe, just nice a nice buff. OK. So I think we’re really close to being done, and just going to buff across the vamp one more time. There’s a little bit of a dark
smudge there that I’m going to try to get off. So a little bit of pressure, water, and honestly like a neutral wax polish is actually a fantastic cleaner, again because you’ve got the solvents which are going to help loosen or soften any of the waxes and pigment and pull that off. So I just took a little bit of
Mirror Gloss, but it would have been even better with the Pate de Luxe, and that came off pretty easily. I’m just going to buff this with my chamois. Now the High Shine Chamois is really
exceptional at producing a high shine. It’s why we created it here at The
Hanger Project. We actually got the idea, you know, from a lot of the really renowned patina experts in Europe, a lot of them prefer to use
literally cut up cotton dress shirt t ings as their High Shine Chamois, which is what this is created out
of. And for buffing a wax off of a shoe and producing a high shine, there’s nothing better than the High Shine Chamois, the really tight cotton weave is perfect for producing a really high shine out of the wax polish. A horsehair brush is great for buffing creams ff and you could use it to buff a wax
off but it’s not going to produce a
beautiful high shine like what you’re seeing here. Even just along the edge, you know, with the high shine
chamois, a little bit of water, is just going to produce a higher shine than you could ever get out of a horsehair brush alone. Ok so I think we’re done here. Now you can see the right shoe. I’ve produced a beautiful kind of antiquing effect along with a toe along the outer edge and the back of the heel using the dark brown Saphir Pommadier Cream Polish and some of the Mirror Gloss
combination of the dark brown, neutral, and the dark brown Pate de Luxe. If you look at this shoe next to the left shoe where we
didn’t do anything, you can really see just how dramatic of an effect we were able to produce just using the Saphir shoe polish. This shoe has incredible dimension
to it, you know I shined up the toe and the heel, which again helps
further kind of draw your eye to the areas
of the shoe where you antiqued it. And I’d say that between these two shoes, the right one certainly has a
tremendous amount of additional character and dimension by virtue of the antiquing that we just performed. If you have any questions or
comments about anything I discussed in this video, please feel free to ask them in the
comments section below. I enjoy helping you guys, answering your questions and I try to get back to as many of
those questions and comments as absolutely
possible. If you enjoyed this video, give us a thumbs up and please subscribe to our channel and turn on your notifications by clicking the bell to the right of
the subscribe button so that you know whenever we release new videos. And of course, please visit where we have the
largest most comprehensive collection of
luxury garment care and shoe care accessories in the
world as well as many other incredible products for the well dressed. And while you’re there, subscribe to our newsletter to
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take care of their wardrobes. Thanks for joining me.

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  1. What do you do with the shoes after demonsstration. A u going to actually wear it? How do yo handle with hygien?

  2. What an amazing technique and beautiful finish to the shoe – thank Kirby for teaching me how to take care for my shoes (among others wardrobe pieces)

  3. A question, the shape of the shoe seems just rather off.. the heel seems off and the outer welt is too wide? Do you wear those yourself?

  4. Thank you Kirby .. wonderdul video..btw can you share you shine and rehydrate or perfect condition a woven type shoe.. like woaven tassel and etc.. it will be a great help

  5. Excellent! I tried this based on your earlier video, but this takes it to a new level! I’d like to buy you lunch at Capital Grille when schedules agree.

  6. Just in time! Recently bought a nice pair of Florsheim's with that antiqued look that are scuffing and in need of this very technique. Really takes the look of the shoe to the next level. I appreciate that you left in the bit with the blotch and demonstrating how to deal with it. Enjoying your channel very much, thanks!

  7. The Hanger Project drinking game: Drink every time Kirby says "Saphir pommadier cream polish" , "high concentration of hard waxes", "build up that foundation", "again", "shammy", and "bespoke".

  8. Kirby I have a question hopefully you can answer.

    I read in a few articles that wax is not good for the leather as it clogs up the pores and prevent the leather from breathing or receiving future essential oils. What is your stand on that. I purchased Mink oil, Cream, and Wax from the Hanger Project. A bit confuse how to fully polish a pair of leather boots.


  9. The antiqued shoes definitely have more depth into it, I prefer giving every shoes a bit of antiquing. For dress shoes, using multi-layers of wax can achieve an even and transpire coat of antiquing. Cream will have an uneven, museum calf effect.

  10. This is the video I’ve been waiting for. I’ve seen it so many times on different shoeshine videos but they failed to explain how to create the antiquing process, thank you Mr. Allison for being able to illustrate so profoundly on how this process is to be done.

  11. Kirby I have a question, about to place an order

    Do I get both the neutral and black horse hair brush for polishing black shoes and lighter shoes, or will one horsehair brush do?


  12. Nice to see this reuploaded, it's amazing work. Beautiful. I'd like to ask your opinion about a problem I've had recently. I've upgraded my shoes – bought a couple pairs of brown Loakes (not bespoke level, but good quality and value) along with the Loake-branded cream and wax polish. The polish is significantly darker than the shoe, and on the first pair this resulted in the first pair being darkened to a really lovely. The colour is consistent and smooth. The second pair I bought a polished a few weeks later, I used exactly the same technique, but the polish had ended up horribly streaky. Do you think it most likely that this is down to inconsistency in my technique or more likely the quality of the polish? I am thinking about getting some of the Saphir polish, but if it's down to me doing a bad job then better polish isn't really going to be the answer. Thanks.

  13. Here's a question for you — is there anything special I need to know about cleaning/maintaining the metal bit on bit loafers? Can you do a video on that?

  14. A great video.
    Would you consider making a video about how to take best care and wash cashmere (e. g. sweaters)? The guides you can see and read on the Internet all seem a bit weird and if someone knows how to take perfect care for cashmere garments, it's certainly you.
    Keep it up!

  15. Not sure what happened to my comment. So I will leave it again. Great topic! I really want a pair of walnut Strands by Allen Edmonds. However, I already have a walnut pair similar to those in the video. It is hard to justify buying another pair of walnut brogues, or getting rid of those I already have. Now I have the idea to antique my current pair whenever I get those Strands. Thanks!

  16. Hello Mr Allison! Remarkable video, as always.
    May I ask you how would you polish a pair of braided leather shoes?

  17. On an unrelated topic, how would you recommend storing woollen clothes in a tropical climate? Especially long-term? Your other wool video showed how to get rid of moths, but I couldnt find anything about this. Thanks

  18. Why do your camera angles have different color grading? The side angle isn't as vibrant as the main front camera. Noticed this in a lot of your videos.

  19. Your knowledge and the way you share it with us is really extraordinary; not only that, but you go into very fine detail, to make sure everything is clear. I also noticed that you reply to every question that is put to you. Congratulations

  20. Why not pull a John Chung and use your fingers? I did so today and achieved a ridiculously glorious shine. That man is a genius.

  21. Kirby,
    I know you used dark brown for the antiquing, what color was used for the original shine? Thank you, I really enjoy all you videos

  22. Do you ever recommend using a fine grit sandpaper or other lightly abrasive instruments? A colleague of mine has a pair of walnut colored bluchers that are highly distressed, but with a nice patina polish. They have a really nice look. Any way to get this look other than decades worth of normal wear and tear?

  23. How do you get a more burnished/solid color effect? Is that done more through Cream polish or wax? I recently tried antiquing and the cream just kind of created a streaky effect and I feel like the black wax polish barely did anything at all.

  24. I liked the idea until Kirby put the Mirror gloss which brought out that "stain" looking detail on the left shoe near the right toe vicinity. Is there a way to reverse that being it's so dark? I would like to know just in case I was to experience this. Thanks

  25. Hi
    I cleaned my shoe with just wet cloth and then a waterproof spray.. it has changed the color to dark tan from light tan. How can i get the color back and how to protect it from water stains in future without changing its color

  26. Dear Kirby – I noticed you never use any of the other english shoes (church's, crockett and jones) or french (jm weston, others). I have been always curious to know your view about those brands as they comprise a majority of my collection…

  27. Hello, I want to your help. I want to start patinate shoes. I don't now what should i start my studies about patinate.

  28. I think there is a typo on the hanger project website for the high-shine cotton chamois. Very last sentence under polishing notes section.

  29. I'm trying to 'antique' a brand new pair of Red Wing shoes (tan leather). I know, very different type of shoe as compared to this one, but they look too 'orange' and they could do with a bit of character. Perhaps you could give me a couple of suggestions? By the way, great video and channel, I'm learning a lot, thanks!

  30. Patina, I have never heard of as associated to leather, maybe wood, or metal – I personally have never seen any of the varieties of polish you used

  31. I absolutely love your videos. Found your page looking for instructions on using Saphir products, and the education I’ve received has transformed my entire collection of shoes. Thank you!!

  32. I don't get the hype with all those expensive saphir products.
    And also- the pigments aren't taken into the leather as you said. That is why it isn't permanent.
    I have dyed some boots perfectly using the cheapest of all products. It was solitaire iirc.

    Abrassives are definitely the way to mediate how much patina you get, not the shoe wax/cream/pigment carrier you are using.

  33. Hello Mr.Allison thanks a lot about this process learned a lot, please will you make a video about complete crust patina process.

  34. Try to do some detail shots with the end result. They look great, but I for one (maybe others too) would love to see the end result from different angles and some close ups.

  35. Franchescetti also darken their shoes along the stitches and they’re the best looking dark brown shoes in the world.

  36. Is anyone else having problems with youtube lately, videos hanging up, that evil circle rotating as if there were no wifi and such?

  37. So you can create a slighty brown and reddish toe and heel on any light colored (dark tan?) shoe. And it not permanent. Cool!

  38. Very happy to learn watch this. I have an all black which planning to use a navy blue cream on it, would it be a good outcome like a black bluish color?

  39. The patina will appear on its own in some years. So what's the point of this imitation (which quite reminds me of ready-frayed jeans lol)?

    Nevertheless, the right one looks quite nice. (Actually — looke. Before the glaçage.)

  40. You're always saying saphir is the best it has this and that but it doesn't say anything what's in it I bought couple of times saphir but once I tried Lincoln and Angelus I like them better sorry for all the hype

  41. Wonderful video but a bit long. It would benefit from some fast forwarding during the repetitive parts. Thank you.

  42. I did this by accident with a medium brown pair of shoes I have. Used dark brown polish…I kinda like the result LOL

  43. I have a pair of honey coloured penny loafers. Would a light antiquing with a bordeaux leather cream look just off ? Should I just go with medium brown ? Sounds less interesting though 🤔 great video !!

  44. Kirby, Love the channel, especially shoe care topics. I used to think I knew more than the average person about shoe care until I started watching, then realized how little I knew. I just tried this patina technique on a couple of my favorite pairs of shoes. The results are amazing. Thank you!

  45. That dark brown doesn't look good on those shoes and never spit shine the toe when the leather has those holes as a design. You totally messed up those beautiful shoes.

  46. The shoes were just beautiful how they were. You really really messed them up. Patina is a natural process.

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