Basic renovation on a pair of vintage Edward Green Lazyman shoes
The Lazyman - was there ever a more appropriately named shoe design? Named for its elasticated side panels, the Lazyman is easy to slip on as a pair of Chelsea boots, but with the office-ready smartness of a pair of cap-toe dress shoes.
The Lazyman design was made most famous by G.J. Cleverley, derived from the influence of his mentor Nikolaus Tuczec. It’s still popular in bespoke shoemaking, and has made something of a resurgence in RTW collections.
I picked this pair from a charity / thrift shop - quite frankly, they had seen better days. But one of the great, simple pleasures in life is buying something well made but well used and restoring it to its previous beauty, and in the case of a pair of dress shoes this is relatively easy with the right equipment.
Note that this is only a cosmetic renovation - if you’re feeling more ambitious you might want to try reshaping the leather to try reducing creasing and wrinkles… but I’m too lazy, man.
The essential products are as follows. All of my products are from Saphir, though of course there are other brands available:
A cleaner like Saphir Renomat
A conditioner such as Saphir Renovateur
A coloured cream - I use Saphir Médaille d’Or Pommadier in the matching shade
A wax polish - I use Saphir Medaille D'Or Pate-De-Luxe in the matching shade
Coloured edge dressing - I use Saphir Renovatrice
Step one - clean
Insert shoe trees, and thoroughly scrub the shoes with a dry brush to remove any loose dirt or polish. You really don’t want any fragments of dirt on the leather when you start rubbing in cleaners, conditioners or polishes.
Now apply Renomat to a clean cloth, and work it across the uppers. The cloth should come away pretty dirty, and should also be picking up remnants of any previously applied polish. Leave to sit for 15 minutes, then buff with a brush.
At this point the shoe will probably look dull and dry - that’s normal.
Step two - condition
Apply Renovateur to a clean cloth, and work it into the shoe’s uppers. Leave for 15 minutes - if the Renovateur has been completely absorbed, apply another round of conditioner. Leave again, and then buff with a brush.
Be careful applying Renovateur to crust leather or exotic leathers - it can be quite harsh and strip colours if applied with too much force or left to sit too long.
At this point the shoe should start to look a bit “richer” again.
Step three - coloured cream
Apply the coloured cream to a cloth, and work into the uppers. Leave for 15 minutes, and then buff off with a cloth to pick up any excess and buff again with a brush. At this stage the shoe should be starting to regain its colour.
Step four - wax polish
Apply wax polish with a cloth to the toe and the heel sections. Don’t apply wax polish all over the shoe - it will start to crack as soon as the leather bends.
Basic polishing technique is to apply a layer of polish, then buff off with a cloth. Apply another layer, buff off. For a spit shine you can apply a few droplets of water on top of a wax layer before buffing.
Step five - edge dressing
Optional if the welt edges look scuffed or scratched - find a fine brush and and paint edge dressing in smooth, consistent strokes along the edge. Once dry. Apply a coat of wax polish and gently buff it off if you don’t want a matte finish.