I’ve been sinking into some YouTube holes lately and one lead me to some old videos I absolutely loved when I was younger. I ran into Grav3yardgirls channel, more specifically her old shoe collection videos. I spent many years trying to get my hands on a pair of Jeffrey Campbells because she talked them up so much. Because of her videos I decided to film one of my own and write this post at the same time.
Jeffrey Campbell – Litas
While these shoes are absolutely beautiful, they usually come with a price tag. $220-ish in CAD. I managed to get them brand new at just under $60 which was such a steal. They may be a little intimidating to look at but they are incredibly easy to walk in and the break in period is really short. I love them because they are a closed shoe and they lace over the ankle. With such a high heel and platform it’s important to me to have that ankle support just in case I run into an incline or slippery floors.
Le Chateau – Unknown
Once again a steal! I got these around $30.00 and have been wearing them for years. They have a very structured toe and lovely detail work. While I have had a couple pair of Le Chateau shoes fall apart pretty quickly, these have never let me down. The rear heel is just starting to show some wear and I don’t think I’ll invest much in keeping them going but they were certainly a good purchase. They wipe clean really easily and the zipper has gotten a little sticky this last month, but I think that’s more so due to me getting some leather treatment in the zipper than anything else.
Jeffrey Campbell – Litas
Oh Lita number 2. I got these second hand for around $50. Though they were previously broken in they fit very nicely. These are an older pair than the white lace ones so they are actually a little shorter in the platform and the heel. They came with a couple scuffs but I couldn’t be happier with them. Such a sturdy shoe, very structured and once again, very easy to walk and run in.
Steve Madden – Booties
You might notice immediately that these are in shabby shape. I have owned them for 6 years and admittedly I didn’t take the best care of them for the first two years. I wore them daily for a couple years and took them in twice to have the heels fixed due to wear. They are a very comfortable shoe due to the thick heel and structure in the arch. I wish I had been kinder to them as they were in the $220 range. That being said, they took years of winter melting agents, heat, cold and running through downtown very well. The overall style and quality is remarkable and if I ever found another pair I would buy them in a second.
These were purchased to replace my much loved Nike Greco Supremes. When they went out of production I bought two pairs but when they finally died, it was time to find a new casual daily wear shoe. These were fairly reasonably priced at around $120 new. Once again they lace over the ankle when I need them to, but in this case I nearly never tie them up. They are incredibly comfortable to run around in and pretty comfortable to wear with wool socks in the winter. I have been vigilant with treating them often and I think they are ageing well. I’ve been wearing them as my daily sneakers for around 3 years and they are just starting to show wear on the soles and in the back of the heel. A supremely good purchase.
I prefer leather shoes as they have more longevity and I feel they are a better investment. Leather can be treated at home to protect and restore it whereas synthetics cannot really be “fixed”. Before treatment I use Saddle Soap to clean the shoes. Saddle Soap is a soap designed to clean leather without stripping it. I use a beeswax protectant on most of my leathers with the exception of my leather work boots who generally get a good soaking of mink oil before beeswax to make them more flexible and stop them from making my feet bleed. Using mink oil on heels isn’t recommended as it does shorten the life of the leather, but for work boots I would rather have them live a little shorter and not bleed my way through breaking them in.
Getting leather to absorb oils requires heat but you have to be careful not to melt or burn the shoe. You can use a hair dryer to heat leather before and after smearing the treatment or you can do what I do, which is set my oven to 175 F and put my shoes and boots in for a few minutes before and after. I do the oven method because I like to treat all my leather at once and because it’s easy to keep them warm as I layer treatments into the leather. It’s very important not to let your shoes sit in there too long, especially if you have any plastic on them as they will melt. Be very careful touching them when removing them as any metal will burn you. If this method sounds a little questionable, use the hair dryer method. There are great YouTube videos to follow for restoring shoes if you are interested in trying it yourself.