Canoodling With Cordovan

Since few things bring out my guilt-ridden materialism more than a pair of supple leather boots—blame my collapsed consciousness and my climate—I find myself wanting a clear taxonomic picture of where boots fall in the universe’s shoe hierarchy. Perhaps BECAUSE I’m primarily a non-shoe person, I wonder: if shoes are a Kingdom, are boots filed under Phylum or relegated to a Family? Are they labelled a Genus or corralled in an Order?

I have no idea why I care. I can certainly sleep at night without the answer, as long as I haven’t Googled “boot lovers + photos” before bedtime. Being a boot lover has certain connotations, some of which I’ll (PRIVATELY) cop to enjoying, but so be it. Until I land somewhere puddles are an endangered species, I’m all about heeding the Boot-y Call.

Alas, I don’t think my closet accurately reflects my love; I tally three pairs. Now for a nun that seems like a lot, sure. However, I ask rhetorically, what’s excessive for a person who wears boots October to June? Especially when the only walk-happily-for-hours pair is starting to give me That Look? The look that translates as:

Honey, we’re on Year 4 together and while we appreciate the annual reheeling and spruce up, our high-wear zones are more polish than hide. And a few aftermarket gel pads can’t obscure the fact that we don’t have any more cushion for your pushin’. If you won’t bury us at sea then at least give us a rest, dammit!”

Once boots get vicious like that it’s time to put bare toes to floor and tiptoe away. Without turning one’s back.

Which is why I was seriously peeved when a comfort-feature-laden pair I’d been stalking through thick and starlet-sized prices sold out in my preferred non-color color. [Black, okay? Just in case Jay-Z called after all.] But I could nab a brown version. A weak, mangy brown that looked suspiciously “taupe” vs “dark chocolate” in person. Though I suppose if we’re talking about that dark, ashy chocolate that’s been forgotten in the cupboard too long and thus looks unappetizing even if it tastes fine, the adjective is technically correct.

Hmmmm. I didn’t want dead mouse boots, but I didn’t NOT want dead mouse boots since the price, comfort, heel shape, height, design and fit all worked for me.

That’s when I remembered my Danish Oil. Danish Oil is for wood, yes; I’d used it to turn the finish on a $135 table-plus-buffet set from a cracked blonde to a gleaming walnut without much more than a hint from Heloise. So why was I being such a wimp when it came to wardrobe DIY?


Why couldn’t I just go over my boots with a darker shade of shoe polish? Say maybe a true chocolate brown. Or even…because it got The Gilded Lily’s vote…cordovan, that passionate purplish hue?

Ready to change the status quo with Meltonian #78, Cordovan


And while of course I am a champion procrastinator if something NEEDS to be done, I couldn’t wait to break out the polish:

Getting the late-night cordovan party started (L) as the original boot (R) awaits some love

After two coats of polish, the exterior became a nicely complex shade with much more depth than the original hue:

The exterior's two coats of cordovan polish see daylight, while the original color lurks on the interior

Coincidentally, it also fit in perfectly with The Accidental Capsule’s color scheme. So I took out two of the items for a road test:

"Ooooh, a boot that's neither brown nor black? You shouldn't have!"

I'm suddenly feeling the urge to chew some Gonzo Grape Bubblicious


But could cordovan help a pair of shoes I’d bought in a fit of wanting footwear that was sky-high AND comfortable, then made me gag whenever I saw the color? Well, just one coat moved this BabyShitBrown Børn away from its original shade (glimpsed through the peeptoe area)

Cordovan Caper #2: Cordovan takes on a BabyShitBrown shoe (whose peeptoe zone show the original shade)

toward something that looked less atrocious with my year-round, underbelly-of-a-dead-fish leg color:

T (rightfully) thinks he's found a lost sibling

So if you’ve got some leather footwear in your closet that sports a shade that bores or horrifies you, why not get busy with a rag and polish? Stick with a classic, custom-mix your colors—or hey, see what happens when you decide to REALLY kick up your heels.

Go big or go home with Meltonian #185

For the spring/summer chapter of this story, check out my sandal transformations in “Is that platinum shoe cream in your pocket or are you just happy to see me”

5 Responses

  1. Ahhhh…. The elusive and slightly sexy Danish Oil….look at you slathering it on everything like an oil Ho!

    But lookie cookie. It works!

    So, Dear Vix, tell me where to find it. Eh?

  2. Dayum…that was me Linda (lime in the coconut) somehow my work blog answered.


  3. Hey, I thought it was my *other* invisipal with a table refinishing project on her mind! Keep the oil on the wood, er, furniture and use the shoe polish on footwear, ma’am.

    “Danish Oil” sounds fancy but it’s made by Watco (by way of Rustoleum). Should be at your local hardware store or a big box behemoth in any number of tempting shades.

  4. Great plan – I love the subtle color change you achieved.
    I was just thinking this morning (as I sploshed through the puddles on the way to work) that some more boots might be a good idea. I only have 2 pairs and I quite fancy trying cordovan polish on the brown (ancient) pair to see what happens!

  5. You only have about $3.99 to lose if you hate the result, Ms Struggler. [The polish can be stripped, though—disclaimer—you might have a slight color change.]

    If you try it, please do share the results with the class!

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