On Changing The Color Of One's Shoes…

On Changing The Color Of One's Shoes…


A few weeks ago I received two pairs of shoes from Shipton & Heneage, an online only shoe retailer, the entire experience was extremely pleasant.  But we will discuss Shipton & Heneage at a later date.  What I want to cover today is how to change to color of your shoes, at least in a minor way.

You see, both pair of shoes I ordered were the same color, Chestnut Burnished Calf.  Out of the box the color was in between a mid-brown and a proper burgundy (oxblood).  However, to be honest, I didn’t really want to keep the shoes in this in between color.  The shoes had to go one way or the other, brown or burgundy.  A new project was born.

It was decided that my shoe collection was in greater need of a mid brown loafer than a burgundy one and that a pair of oxblood wing tips would be nothing short of badass.  So, anyway, some of you are likely wondering how I intend to go about changing the color of the shoes.  And really, it is quite simple; polish.  You see, by applying a polish of a certain color the leather of the shoes will over time develop along the lines of that color polish.  The shoes will develop a patina, if you will.  As more coats of mid brown polish are applied to the loafers they will develop a deeper and richer brown color, the same can be said for the wingtips but in burgundy.  As you can tell by the pictures below the brown and oxblood colorings have already become apparent after one polishing.  I am quite excited about this little project and cannot wait to see how things are looking after a few months of consistent polishing and wearing.

Before. The loafer after one coat of mid brown polish and the wingtip in its raw unpolished form. Note how there is already a slight color difference.
After. The loafer after one coat of mid brown polish and the wingtip after one coat of burgundy polish. Note how the color difference has become slightly greater with the application of burgundy polish to the wingtip.


  1. […] Months ago I hatched a plan to change the color of 2 pairs of shoes I had purchased.  They started as the same reddish brown color.  I wanted to take the loafers in the direction of medium brown and the wing tips toward burgundy.  A few months and a few polishes later the colors of each pair of shoes is easily distinguishable.  I expect the difference to further develop over time, but we shall see.  I am quite happy with the colors in their current state. […]

  2. During WWII boot makers made boots for the Australian army in colours that varied between red & brown. Enlisted men were expected to polish them black. As the men of each division were enlisted together officers could tell who the lazier solders were by seeing who boots were less black than his comrades & were sarcastically chastised about where they got their commissions from or where were their match pips (Officers didn’t have to go though this routine, they got an allowance to equip themselves & could keep their boots red/brown). Another thing, enlisted mens’ boots were full hobnailed (later full cleated) to minimise sole wear. Officers were assumed to be able to afford to resole their boots when need.