The pithy, opinionated, and sometimes brutally frank Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke challenges average guys to live a life less ordinary and embrace classic style in the broadest sense. it's time to rise above the trite, the boring, the predictable, the mundane, the banal, and the commonplace. It's time to stop behaving like barnyard animals at the trough and leave behind the perpetually sloppy man-child aesthetic of the last two decades or so. It's time to learn once again how to present and conduct yourself like an adult with some grooming, finesse, and sophistication. And here is where you can learn how.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Recondition Your Dress Shoes!

The newly arrived reconditioned Allen Edmonds shoes, courtesy of Allen Edmonds, along with a few unexpected customer appreciation gifts.

Readers of The Average Guy's Guide to Classic Style will know that I generally advocate thrifting and watching for sales as cost-conscious ways of building one's wardrobe.  And the same goes for footwear.  I've been lucky enough to spot half a dozen pairs of Allen Edmonds dress shoes in two local thrift stores and online during the last couple of years, building a small but respectable collection of very nice dress shoes for a fraction of their retail cost.  Some among you might be able to acquire a good basic collection of dress shoes more rapidly if you have more and better thrift shops in your area, but I suffer from smaller than average feet for a guy, and narrower too.  So, it has taken a bit longer than I thought it initially might to find and add several pairs of quality dress shoes to the wardrobe.

The pair of Allen Edmonds shoes pictured above were purchased this winter via Ebay for US$15 and arrived looking pretty worn, scuffed, and dried out with several coats of old, cracked cordovan polish on them.  Not ripped, torn, or beyond repair, mind you, but definitely not in wearable condition either. However, the Allen Edmonds company, based just outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, offers an array of recrafting packages for their shoes.  And since I paid such a cheap price for the pair above to begin with, I thought, why not spend a bit to get them looking really good once again?

The finished shoes arrived by FedEx a little while ago, and I cannot say enough good about them.  I did not opt for the top of the line Prestige reconditioning package, but the next notch below that, the most popular Standard option.  In a little over three weeks, the shoes have been fully restored: old coats of wax stripped away, moisturizer applied to the leather, redyed to their original color (more or less), and newly polished.  The welting, soles, and heels have also been replaced along with the cork bed below the soles and with new waxed laces too.  

The verdict?  The shoes look exquisite to my eyes.  A tan-brown color with a lovely patina to them that I was not expecting.   The shoes do not look brand new by any stretch of the imagination, but rather loved, worn routinely, maintained, and with a history behind them. Oh, and a wonderfully soft suppleness has been restored to the leather as well.  I am, as the British might say, pleased as punch with the AE cobblers' work.

On top of that, those savvy folks at Allen Edmonds tossed in a US$35 gift card, good toward the future purchase of their products or shoes (I'll need to watch their upcoming online sales) plus a couple of pairs of dress socks, one in cotton and one in Merino wool.  All of that is, of course, terrific incentive for clients to continue doing business with Allen Edmonds directly, but I absolutely cannot wait to wear these shoes come Monday morning.  Talk about adding a spring to your step as you leave the house!

For all of my teeny-bopper fan-boy gushing about Allen Edmonds, their products,  and fine customer service, the main point of all this shoe-talk today, gentlemen, is that you should never overlook a potentially great purchase just because that pair of shoes you're ogling in a thriftshop or online looks a little (ahem) down-at-the-heels.  Especially where quality footwear is concerned.  

Sometimes, it makes good sense to make what amounts to a ridiculously inexpensive purchase anyway, and then follow up by spending some additional money for skilled reconditioning like that offered by Allen Edmonds.  You won't be disappointed.  To paraphrase those annoying television commercials for the Men's Warehouse, you're going to like how your feet look and feel. . .  I guarantee it!

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