good buy, checked x3
One of the things I was particularly thrilled to find in the sales are these Dieppa Restrepo Calis in a lovely, classic burgundy. I seem to specialise in landing these shoes during sales - my first and second pairs were sale finds too in 2013, and I find them to be pretty value, given the quality.
I was giving my old ones a good clean a couple weeks back, and realised that lining them them up side by side gives a good idea of how these shoes hold up to frequent wear.
I don't take especially good care of my shoes and it shows - the tan pair, the oldest pair, has obvious discolouration, probably from the times I carelessly cleaned them with a wet wipe. After I started applying leather conditioner regularly - once every few months - they started to look much better, but the damage is done and it's undeniably lost some of its richness.
Nonetheless, I think they're holding up well. Don't be put off by the peeling edge on the sole of the tan pair - that's the Vibram sole I had added to the shoes when I first bought them. Vibram soles are essential since it rains here a lot, and apart from protecting the leather soles it also saves me from slipping. Not terribly impressed that one side is peeling though - going to need to have a word with my cobbler about that.
The thickness of the leather soles has largely remained, and there's no sign of the shoe coming apart anywhere else yet. The leather darkens when rain gets on it but it's so far dried without leaving visible watermarks.
The white pair was always going to be high maintenance, but I think I'm doing all right. Like my first pair, it always looks better after I've given it a good clean and condition (sadly, all of twice a year). There's no visible discolouration. The heel cap is a little worn in one corner, so I may replace it soon - the first time I'll be doing so for this pair.
Clearly, they wrinkle quite a bit, so if you're looking for that glossy, immaculate, shell-like finish, these are not for you. But they have kept their shape pretty well and I don't keep them stuffed or use shoe trees. The discolouration of the tan pair made me hesitate a bit about choosing a pair in a rich colour like burgundy - how do I know it won't happen? But my feeling is that had I taken better care of the tan pair, it might have aged better, colour-wise. After conditioning them regularly (twice in six months), I thought they were looking better. I don't polish my shoes though - too much work!
I've replaced the heel cap on the tan ones once, and I'm due to replace the ones on the white one soon - I've been told to be careful about that; once the wooden part gets worn it's pretty pointless replacing the cap after, diminishing the lifespan of the shoes.
Miss Sophie recently posted about the diminishing returns we get from brands as they grow in popularity - I hope this isn't the case with Dieppa Restrepos. They've become my staple, the grown-up version of the sneakers that used to rule my life. Are these the best-made options out there? There are doubtless better shoes, but then those options are also more expensive. My Margaret Howell oxfords roundly beats the Dieppas in terms of workmanship and quality of materials, but then MH shoes start at about GBP300 (I could afford mine only because I was at a sample sale). Dieppas are half the price, and less, if you, as I do, wait for the right pair to show up at the sales. They suit my wide feet and I never had to break them in - I go sockless and haven't gotten a single blister. I like how they're more casual and laidback than a classic oxford shoe but they're still elegant and more substantial than say, a pair of jazz shoes.
I'm also a big believer of never depending on a single pair of shoes. The most well-made pair of shoes are unlikely to last long if they're worn every day, year in year out, and rotating shoes is a good way of extending the lifespan of a beloved pair of shoes.
In terms of care and maintenance, I can't profess to be an expert. I bought the Ecco leather cleaner and conditioner at a department store because I have store credit, and so far they work pretty well.
For leather shoes like the Dieppas, I spray the shoe cleaner into some kind of cloth that doesn't scratch - old ones for cleaning spectacles, or ones used to polish shoee, and just wipe the shoes. I rub the grubbier bits a little harder and so far haven't experienced any discolouration - I clean a bit at time, let it dry out, and check if I've done any damage, to be safe. When I'm done I wipe all over with a clean dry cloth, let it air a bit, and then I apply the conditioner - again, I do a small section at a time, and I don't use too much on the cloth at a time. The best is not to press too hard at one point for too long - some shoes darken a bit overall, and I want it to look as even as possible.
I'm always impressed how good the shoes look when I make the effort - the leather really glows after conditioning, even the shabbier, scuffed up bit.
Suede, unfortunately, is more of a pain - I have a suede brush and eraser but I can't seem to get the dirty spots off. I'm definitely thinking twice before I get any suede shoes in future - certainly it has to be in a pair that looks good even when dirty.
I particularly like nubuck - they're soft and they looks pretty good dirty and stained! I like that matte quality they have, in contrast to the polished look of other leathers. I follow the same cleaning process described above for my nubuck boots, and the only difference is that nubuck darkens more when I apply the conditioner.
What are your go-to shoes?