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Peeling leather boots - any suggestions?

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I am having real trouble storing my shoes here. I'm in Thailand and it's so humid all my shoes are getting badly damaged.

 

My biggest dilemma is my jodhpur boots. The surface of the leather has cracked all over and is flaking off, so that I am basically left with a pair of boots that look like Nubuck and are totally non-weather proof. It reminds me of the lady esquire shoe dyes that used to be like a plastic layer which would peel off after a while, except this is brittle. I was thinking of making sure that the old surface is totally removed, getting some glycerine saddle soap to clean and nourish the leather and then trying the method they use in the army to get the high shine on their boots. Basically, covering with a layer of polish and then heating that up with a hot spoon or hairdryer so that the polish melts into the leather to waterproof it, then giving it a good polish again and a further 'spit polish' to get a shine. I have no idea if this will work or simply crack up again when I wear them and also may turn my socks black if the polish goes all the way through the leather... I remember that we used to use 'Dubbing' to waterproof hiking boots, but that's not available here. Brown, black and neutral Kiwi only. If there is anything specific I should use that is only available in the UK, I could ask a friend who is over soon to get it for me.

 

You may ask why I haven't taken these to a local repair shop... So far, all I've found are booths in supermarkets that cut keys and sole and heel shoes, usually staffed by teenagers, and little stalls by the roadside where they may have a sewing machine, but again are really only for basic repair. A pair of sandals I had re-soled weren't done too well.

 

Attaching a couple of images of the boots,to show the full horror...

 

Thanks in hope.

Michelle

 

PS Have more problems with heel coverings too (see my introduction post 'Hello from Thailand') All suggestions gratefully received.

IMG_1317-lo.jpg

IMG_1319-lo.jpg

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I know it doesn't look like a humidity problem, more that they've dried out. They are a pair of Regent boots (I have a pair of full length riding boots of the same make which are OK, but have been kept in a more ventilated environment. These were stored in a box with other shoes and they're the only ones that have gone like this. A lot of the others have the synthetic heel coverings and linings peeling away, but the leather uppers are OK. Also a pair with some sort of synthetic composite sole which has crumbled away to nothing, but again the uppers were fine. Very weird...

 

I guess you're probably right about buying a new pair, but I hate to see an otherwise perfectly good and hardly worn pair of boots go to waste.

 

Would be interested to know if anyone has ever seen anything like this before. Any good suggestions on storage would be useful. Bit late for these perhaps but may stop any more going the same way.

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Suppose it' likely that the leather was a duff batch - but who would know when they were being made - or bought for that matter. Have to admit that they may not have been stored properly for the conditions here, but I've always taken care of my shoes and these are probably around 20 years old, though not worn that often.

 

But hey, hasn't anyone got any constructive ideas to renovate them?

 

Come on guys, surely you have some thoughts other than telling me the ovbvious!!

 

Please... 8-[

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But hey, hasn't anyone got any constructive ideas to renovate them?

 

Come on guys, surely you have some thoughts other than telling me the ovbvious!!

 

Please... 8-[

 

Maybe other members agree with the advice already given and therefore have nothing more to add? Just my opion of course :wink:

 

I do not believe that these boots can be recovered :D

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Nope... they're definitely leather... 100% leather uppers.

 

Well in that case, here's my thoughts / observations.

The images make it look like a thin surface layer has cracked & is peeling away from a second layer.

 

Obviously if they are 100% leather uppers, this top layer is the thin leather layer that enables such a description to be made. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that a thin layer of leather such as this could go hard & crack, though the cracking is very evenly distributed across the surface of the boot. I would have expected it to vary more with the wear of the boot & the directional variation of the grain had it been leather.

 

The sub-surface layer that has been revealed is clearly man made. You can see in the image (zoomed in & enlarged below) that it is a man made fibre from the even threads running left to right & slightly diagonally down towards the bottom left corner of the image.

In my experience, this has all the hallmarks of a man made upper.

boot leather_2.jpg

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the label may say 100% leather & indead they may be leather however it is not a full tanned peice but a synthetically coated peice & its this manmade layer that has perished (imo)

 

Lee

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Steven, the photos were low resolution so what you're seeing is more to do with image pixelation than the actual leather.

 

I reckon Lee is probably closer. The leather wasn't properly tanned or it was some form of synthetic surface - though have to say have never seen anything like it happen before - synthetic layers tend to be much thinner and peel off differently rather than crack up like this. Also, the straps have a synthetic backing and they're fine...

 

Have taken another shot - as close up as I could get - where I've already removed the flaky surface - whatever it is - and you can see the pores of the leather, though have to say it does look on the photo as if there's a weave to it. I can actually tell the difference between leather and synthetic though... :roll: :lol:

 

Have contacted Regent, the manufacturers, but not holding out any hope of getting a reply. Not after money back or anything - far too late for that - just don't want it to happen to my other riding boots.

IMG_1345-lo-res.jpg

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At least these being Jodhpur boots (the short ones) they aren't as expensive as the full knee length riding boots which I have and are still OK. Same manufacturer though, so will have to keep a close eye on them. Maybe they build in a deterioration factor so you have to get a new pair after so many years!! :?

 

Yes they are expensive, and as I don't do that much riding these days, not worth replacing for that, though they do make very good wet weather wear... well... they did. I also have a real problem of not throwing away stuff that is still pretty serviceable in some form or another.

 

Now that I've pretty much removed all the flaky surface, they actually look like a good pair of Nubuck leather boots.

 

Could try and give them a really good spray of water-proofer, but think it might be better to go down the Army boot 'spit polishing' first to give them a good base... Will take a bit of time and effort, but will see how it goes. Certainly couldn't be any worse than they are now.

 

I'll try and keep a photo log of how it goes and post up, for your entertainment... you never know, might just work... :wink:

 

Michelle

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Guest lee.

Whilst label will state leather uppers , they appear to have been made using a PU Coated split leather , not so much an inferior leather , but used for a purpose . Originally this would have made them "wipe clean" with a silicone pad , and waterproof ,as oppossed to water resistant as with traditionally finished Crome tanned leathers ,this type of leather is often used in volume production equestrian products for these benifits, and is very popular when making leather childrens shoes . Downside is that over time the Polyurethane coating degrades , or" skuffs" off during wear , breakdown of coating accelerates due to extremes of temperature , hot or cold , which is what appears to have happened here . Sadly it is near impossible to reinstate the original surface finish due to the extent of the damage , smaller localised damage could have been "renovated" using Fiebings Acrylic edgekote dye ( or similar) which is both flexible and waterproof . If you have the time and the patience to do a complete pair it may be worth a try , it would give a "smooth leather" appearance as oppossed to the Grainy "Nubuck" finish you have now you have removed the flaked coating or if you are looking at using another "Dye" type treatment at least think of sealing it with Fiebings clear Acrylic Resolene

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Thanks for that explanation.

It makes sense, though have always used standard kiwi type polish and brush up as there were no instructions otherwise.

Since the temperature here very rarely goes below 29 degrees and is usually around 32+ and very humid, it does seem to explain it. I just hope that keeping my other boots in the bedroom, which does at least have air-con might stop them deteriorating the same way.

I do have plenty of time to try and make a new coating, but have no knowledge of the best type or brand of treatment or where to get it from. (Hence all these posts!) I would have to order on-line from a company who would be prepared to post out to Thailand as there is little chance of finding it here (have been searching the web with no luck so far) unless you might know of somewhere that does. I know they do leather tanning here, for export so it might be worth trying to contact someone here, though I would probably need to know exactly what I'm asking for.

If you think that using the Fiebings Acrylic edgekote dye or something similar would work and be a good waterproof solution, could you point me in the direction of a supplier and let me know how much I would need to buy to do the pair. I presume there would be full instructions with it, remembering that I'm not in the trade and have no equipment, so this would all have to be done by hand.

Thanks again for your post.

Michelle

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Guest lee.

The full range of Fiebings products is availiable to retail customers in Thailand through the US company Tandyleatherfactory http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/en-u ... 25-03.aspx will link you to the 946 ml size pack of Black Edge Kote, this is aimed at finishing the cut edges of belts and handmade leather items , very similar to the surface you are now left with on the boots ,which is neither suede or nubuck , but "open grain" ,it is a flexible water resistant surface coating that you paint on with a wool dauber or sponge , it dries to a bright finish , and can be lightly buffed to a gloss shine.

We use it both to finish the edges on the Leather items we produce in our workshop , and also to seal the backs on any split leathers we use . Should be just the job for you , as it will not only bring the boots back to a uniform black colour , but also give a smooth flexible waterproof finish that you would not achieve with just a spirit based dye or wax based shoe polish .

Hope this helps just message me if you need more details , not an expert , but do have 30 yrs experience working with Leathers

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That's brilliant. Thanks so much. I presume the size will be enough as just under a litre.

I do have some other problems with regards synthetic shoe linings and trimmings that have been damaged by storage in these conditions, but will take some photos first so that you can see what's what and message you.

Have bought a load of plastic boxes to store my shoes and boots in and have been going through each pair, drying out, removing mould growth, cleaning, making card shapers and stuffing with newspaper for protection and doing as much repair as I can. The only thing that I am concerned about is that I know shoes should have ventilation, but as the air is so humid I don't quite know what's the best solution. Any tips on storage would be great.

Will wait to do the order for the Edge Kote in case they have other products that would be useful. Been thinking that a good old fashioned bar of glycerine saddle soap would be good for cleaning and feeding my leather furniture too..

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1st class posts smmultiservices =D>

Bonded Leather (probably compressed Leather dust)onto a material backing and the "leather" has de-laminated.

As for Feibings....... best dyes/polishes by far. just dyed my Brown Camel boots that were coated in a mixture of Beeswax & Vaselene.

Wiped over with Aldi Paint brush cleaner and one single coat of Feibing black dye, perfect, re-applied waterproofing and look like a new pair even though they are 12 years old.

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I concur. Feibings (For some reason I want to call them Feiblings) suede dyes are good too, good range of colours, good coverage...Recommended........And proud of Hugh for not mentioning dust and superglue in the same sentence. Smiley face... :)

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I have checked the leather and there is no material backing anywhere, it's just leather. Have already removed all the flaking surface and brushed off the dust. The surface definitely appeared to be some form a plastic type coating and was quite brittle.

I have gone with smmultiservices advice and ordered Edge Kote, which will be coming over with a friend in a couple of weeks.

Was wondering if I should condition the leather first with anything. Have used Vaseline on all my other leather shoes to re-condition. Give a good coat, leave to dry for 24 hours, wipe off any residue, then apply polish as normal.

Not sure if applying any sort or conditioner to the leather first would prevent the Edge Kote from adhering to the surface properly. Also, presume that to keep the shoes in good condition after I should use a silicone based product rather than a standard Kiwi wax polish.

I have just got a bar of glycerine saddle soap and dubbin brought over from the UK, but would imagine that as the leather is at present unfinished, saddle soap would not be a good idea and the dubbin is best used for waterproofing already coated leather.

Thanks for the advice, it's really helpful.

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These are a pair of boots that many of us would like to see and examine as photos and explanations do not always come over as they should.

 

I used to see this problem occurring on a regular basis many years ago and it was caused by a self shine polish that dried like a laquer, frequent use caused the problem that is similiar to the problem on these boots. (the product was mainly used on school shoes for quickness of a cloour coat and instant shine that lasted all day).

It may very well be that a similiar product is on sale in Thailand!

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Sorry the photos and explanations don't really help, but would be a bit expensive to post back to the UK.

I have never used the quick shine stuff on these boots. Used to sometimes use Paddywax (however that's spelt) on my school shoes for speed many moons ago, but have only used Kiwi polish on these. Tried the sponge ended quick shine stuff on other shoes but never liked it. You can buy it here but I've always preferred Kiwi polish or Meltonian shoe cream. There's something satisfying about giving your shoes a real clean, polish and brush up to a shine. I sometimes use water and polish to get a real shine on some of my fashion shoes.(Never been in the army though, so perhaps I'm just weird).

Can see how a build up of a non-porous treatment could cause problems, but sure it's not the case on these.

smmultiservices post seemed to explain it more as he suggested that mass produced riding gear is treated with a waterproof coating and is not traditionally tanned leather. He also suggested that these should, in fact, have been treated with a silicon shine type polish rather than the wax variety. I tried contacting the manufacturer, Regent, but got no reply from them, so it's difficult to know, though it states quite clearly on the boots 'Leather uppers', there were no instructions with the boots for any specialist care.

I am 99% sure the boots are leather, though I can't smell it as everything here has a slightly musty odour and I have to say that the surface doesn't look exactly like leather, it seems to have a man made pattern to the inside that looks as if it is something that has come from the processing. Possibly from some sort of base when the leather was pressed out or coated. The edge certainly looks like leather, though I am no expert, have been trying to examine it with other edges under a magnifier and it is definitely one piece 2mm thick and not layers. The bizarre thing is that these are the only pair of leather shoes that have gone like this, all the others are fine, though none of the leather is as thick as these boots.

Whatever has caused the cracking and flaking has happened within the last 12 months - they were perfect before - and the only thing that has changed from their storage in the UK is the humidity, temperature and ventilation here. It's as if they dried out completely and the surface just cracked up. Similar to the way soil goes when there's no rain for months.

Anyway, I am just hoping that the Edge Kote will work, but would definitely be interested in advice on any preparation needed before applying. Don't want it all to flake off again.... :roll:

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