The interest in vintage shoes is big in for example the US, Japan and Germany where it’s a niche with a lot of commitment and knowledge among those who are interested. An inspirational source is the blog Vcleat that guides to different manufacturers, its history and how to care for and restore old shoes, something that also those who are not interested in vintage shoes can greatly benefit from.
It’s an American named David who is behind the site. He has during many years collected, bought and sold vintage shoes, and felt that he could make something of the knowledge he had gained, and in 2015 he started Vcleat. The name comes from the V-shaped piece of metal that many manufacturers back in the days put under the heels for improved durability, as a compromise between full leather or rubber. Vcleat is focusing on American brands, with special sections for manufacturers like Nettleton, Hanover and vintage models from Florsheim. He has made compilations of different brands’ models to help interested to find the model and the year it’s manufactured, he publishes old catalogs, and more. For the growing number of people interested in vintage shoes this is gold.
Several of the posts follow a restore of old shoes that David got hold of. They are often worn quite hard and can be many decades old, which then goes through a wash and several moisturising procedures and then polish with shoe cream and polish, to be restored to an often quite excellent condition again. He describes the process and what products are used, not least for cordovan, which of course is popular material among devotees of American vintage shoes, he has many good tips on how to care. These submissions can be really interesting even if you don’t care specifically about vintage shoes, but like to get input on shoe care and what you can achieve with this.