The Suggestion: Brown Stafford Boots + Black Shoe Creme

Messing with a $60 boot.
JCPenney Stafford Wingtip Boot – $60 – $70.00 (ships free with JCPSHIP)

Click here for the original review/post about these boots.

One of the problems with inexpensive leather is that the color can be so uniform that it can look unnatural.  Think of that guy who’s fighting off some grey hairs by turning to a box of cheap hair dye.  Instead of getting any kind of natural color variations in his hair, all of a sudden it looks like he’s dumped a bucket of paint on his head.

The leather on JCPenney’s Stafford Wingtip Boot isn’t half bad.  But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t stand for a little experimentation and improvement.  And with the price on these boots being so low ($60) the risk is lower than most even if you don’t like the results.  Here’s how to do it:

  • You’re going to shine these like you do any other pairs of shoes
  • Only instead of using a matching shoe creme, go with black.  (Sounds odd, but it’s not.)
  • Don’t gob it on (you shouldn’t gob even if this were a standard shine job).  Apply a thin layer with a dauber and work it in with circular brush strokes until you get some decent coverage.  Not blanket coverage.  Decent.
  • Step away for 10 or 12 minutes.  Let that creme dry.
  • Buff the hell out of them with an old t-shirt or buffing cloth.  You’re going to take a lot of this black shoe creme off with the buffing, but that’s the point.  You want some residual creme left in the leather, but not all of it.

Left: Before.  Right: After. 

Up close with some of the color variation.  It’s more subtle the farther away you get.

You’re left with a darker brown pair of boots with some slight marbling in the leather when viewed up close.  If these boots were suiting fabric, they were a standard solid and you’ve now turned them into a worsted.  The marbling of the black shoe creme in the brown leather won’t be consistent, and you might end up with a couple of streaks, but as long as it’s not too noticeable from a few feet up you should be golden.

And speaking of, if you bought the Staffords because you wanted a more golden/cognac brown, then ignore all of this.  They’re more than just fine out of the box the way they are.