Beeswax keeps your footwear protected from the elements April 03 2015

Everyone knows what beeswax is but have you ever really considered where it comes from?  It's created by worker bees to build a honeycomb where food is stored and eggs are laid.  That means that beeswax is downright essential to the very existence of bees everywhere.

Honeycombs are often built in protected areas, but that doesn't mean they're not subject to some pretty rough conditions--especially moisture.  Fortunately for bees, their wax has some very unique properties that make it resistant to water and solvents.

Petri Polish leverages the power of beeswax to afford your fine leather shoes and bags that same level of protection.  Shoes treated with our formulas feature great protection from rain, meaning your feet will stay drier and your shine will stay intact through the harshest of April showers. 

The beeswax in our formulas also serves as a protective barrier between your leather and all sorts of potential issues.  Scuff your toe on the curb with a pair of shoes that haven't seen much care and you can be sure that the scuff will go right into the leather and remain.  Treat your shoes with Petri Polish and that very same scuff remains in the layer of protective wax, meaning it can be removed with a quick buff.

Protecting your shoes and looking better at the same time?  That's a win-win for leather lovers everywhere.

Orange Oil: Good for your shoes, great for your state of mind March 26 2015


According to wikipedia, "aromatherapy uses plant materials and aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering one's moodcognitive, psychological or physical wellbeing".  Several ancient civilizations including the Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans understood and utilized the power of aromatherapy.  If you think it sounds a bit hokey at first, you're not alone--I felt the same way when I learned about it.  But try inhaling the fragrance of some peppermint essential oil on a morning when you're having difficulty waking up.  You'll bounce out of bed like you just drank a triple grande latte from Starbucks--it's true!  In the same vein, lavender has been known to help even the staunchest of insomniacs to drift off to a rejuvenating sleep.

So what's all of this have to do with shining shoes?  Well, we know that aromatherapy can have a powerful impact on our state of mind and our wellbeing.  We leveraged this power to formulate Petri Polish to offer its own brand of aromatherapy through the use of essential orange oil.  That fantastic fragrance that Petri Polish offers isn't just for show; in fact, it offers incredible mental benefits for hours after you've used it.

Orange essential oil lives in the rind of the fruit and is extracted through simple pressing.  If you've ever peeled an orange and noticed droplets of moisture fly from the peel and simultaneously noticed an intense orange fragrance then you know what we're talking about here.  Essential orange oil is an excellent solvent, and it's one of the main ingredients in Petri Polish due to its ability to clean and deliver nourishing ingredients to the leather without harming it.

On top of all of that, it's been known for centuries to offer incredible mood-uplifting and stabilizing properties.  It has been used with great success as an antidepressant, and lingering in the scent for a few moments can surely enhance your mood for the day.  It's also been used in aromatherapy for an aphrodisiac, a diuretic and an anti-inflammatory tool, among others.

Orange oil is truly an incredible essential oil; next time you're using Petri Polish, take a moment to enjoy the experience and recognize that you're nourishing more than just your shoes!

Summer Shoe Guide March 24 2015


Because They're Meant to Be Enjoyed... March 13 2015

Leather is tough, leather ages why should caring for your shoes and bags be so complicated?  We feel the same way, and that's why we created Petri Polish.

We want you to wear your favorite pair of shoes and wear them hard and we want you to always look polished and put-together.  To keep your shoes looking fresh, you don't need a cleaner with enough alcohol in it to get a frat house loaded.  You don't need to follow that up with 2 more steps (at least one coat each of cream polish and wax polish).  That sounds like a lot of work and it is.

We believe that you should enjoy wearing your favorite boots, and you should enjoy the minute or two of effort it takes to care for them.  

So enjoy your weekend, and if you get some St. Patrick's Day beer spilled on your favorite shoes this weekend, don't sweat it...just order some Leather Balm from Petri Polish and clean them right up!

Top 3 Reasons to Buy and Maintain Quality Footwear March 03 2015

There are tons of experts out there to persuade you to purchase high quality, blake or goodyear constructed footwear.  Sure, it costs more than the alternative (cheap, glued construction shoes), but what does it really get you beyond durability and resole-ability?  Because while it's nice to consider having the same pair of shoes for 20 years, the math breaks down when you think about how much fun it is to buy and wear new stuff every couple of years.  

The problem is, these cheaper shoes will buy you far less comfort, style and materials from the get go.  In our opinion, these 3 items are huge considerations when buying a new pair of shoes or boots, and should be near the top of the list when making a decision.  So let's forget about wearing our shoes through 2050 for a minute and look at some of the great features a few more bucks can buy you today--all great features worth maintaining with Petri Polish products, of course!

Oh yeah, and if you don't already know, it's worth your while to learn a bit about construction methods and such before jumping into the fun stuff here.  Check out our friends at Urban Beardsman for a great piece on starting out in the world of heritage boots.  Then pop over to The Silentist for a master's course.  Finally, a quick view of the Alden Factory in action should round out your knowledge for the time being.

1)  Leather:

Quality shoes are virtually always going to feature some sort of full grain leather uppers (uppers are pretty much everything but the sole).  Full grain leather is most easily described for what it isn't.  It isn't corrected grain leather, of which the most extreme example is patent leather (leather woven with plastic fibers...yuck).  Most leather out there does not feature the flawless surface required for use in a top quality shoe.  So modern manufacturing techniques are used to artificially create this flawless surface.  Problem is, once your start adding "artificial" to leather you lose the very essence of the material: no more beautiful patina, no more lustrous shine. 

How can you be sure what you're looking at is full grain?  For starters, high quality shoemakers are proud of the material they use, and will usually state exactly what the leather is somewhere on the shoe or its packaging.  If that fails, you can get a pretty good idea by touching, feeling, smelling and trusting your instincts.  One of the greatest parts of full grain leather is the visceral experience it offers, so use your senses to pick the footwear that speaks to you.  

two gorgeous examples of full grain leather.  Notice the luster, depth of shine, and lack of imperfections.  from

2)  Comfort:

High quality shoes are shaped over a piece of wood called a last.  The last holds the place of the foot and makes construction of different shoes and sizes and highly repeatable process with little in the way of variation.  This time-tested method ensures that your shoes will fit as designed and cradle your feet for years just as they did on day one.

Stitched construction also allows for breathability while blocking moisture from entering shoes.  The ramifications on comfort are obvious and profound.

3)  Design:

Shoemakers working the old fashioned way have perfected their craft and their particular style.  They know how to incorporate interesting materials while maintaining the heart of their creations, and they know how to tweak existing lasts to create striking silhouettes in keeping with the day's trends.  Below, we have a beautifully crafted Viberg boot in Natural Chromexcel Roughout.  Chromexcel is a chromium tanned pull-up leather that has interesting stretching tendencies and is not the easiest leather to work with for a bookmaker.  Everything on this particular makeup has been chosen with Viberg's expertise of this leather and their own boots, from the unstructured toe to the striking contrast stitching.  Simply put, you will never find this gorgeous leather in a cheap boot.  Similarly, the geniuses at Enzo Bonafe create an amazing shape with their Norwegian-welted wingtip derbies.  Either of these works of art will last for decades and never fall out of fashion.

High quality footwear with a solid care regimen is a recipe for sartorial success!  Stay shiny everyone.

Get It Done February 27 2015

The inimitable Seth Godin describes a rarely-discussed feeling on his blog today entitled "Here Comes 'Uh-Oh'".  What's that feeling?  The universal moment of "oh crap here we go again" that everyone (and every organization) experiences during certain key moments that serve as reminders of past failures.  

That's all well and good, but what's it got to do with shoe polish?  Polishing shoes is one of those things that seems like a real chore before you get started...then, 20 minutes go by and you've shine several pairs of shoes and you're ready for the week.  "Damn...why didn't I do that sooner?" is the inevitable response.

There are plenty of "uh-oh" moments in your week that you can't avoid.  This weekend, try getting ahead of the curve by shining your shoes, cleaning out your car, or organizing your desk before heading out on Friday.  We guarantee it will be way easier than you think and you'll thank yourself (and us!) when an uh-oh moment comes and you've got one less thing to worry about.

Have a great weekend and--as always--stay shiny!

Coconut Oil: Great for Leather, Great for your Skin! February 26 2015

We just came across an awesome natural skin care company out of Brooklyn, S.W. Basics.  They've got some amazing offerings to keep your skin clean and beautiful, and they've also got a great write-up on our favorite moisturizing oil (coconut oil, of course!) right here.

We love coconut oil for its amazing ability to hydrate leather.  Some of its great traits include its extremely high saturated fat content (92% as opposed to mink oil's 80%).  This has a great impact on its oxidative stability, a measure which indicates coconut oil's extreme resilience to bacteria and general rotting as compared to other natural oils.  Do you want rotting shoes or couches?  Neither do we! Gratuitous palm tree shot...

Here's some great info from S.W. Basics on coconut oil's performance on skin--we think these are all great properties for a leather care product as well (maybe in a slightly different manner...but still):

  • It’s amazingly moisturizing, gliding on your body smoothly (and less messily than other oils) and leaving you hydrated for hours. 
  • It is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, meaning it helps heal rashes, scars, infections, and even ACNE. Yes, people, it’s okay to put oil on acne. 
  • Loaded with healthy fats and antioxidants, it offers tons of nutrition for your skin. Good fats = healthy skin. 

And our formulas use organic, extra-virgin coconut oil, by the way!  Thanks for reading and stay shiny.

Men's Footwear Shopping Guide: Part 1 Boutiques February 09 2015

Building a great men’s footwear collection is an exciting albeit daunting exercise.  Shoes built with Goodyear or Blake construction methods using high quality, durable leathers can last a liftetime if cared for regularly with Petri Polish products.  

To help you on your search for the finest footwear in the world, we’ve put together the following list of some of our favorite places to shop.  Each offers unique twists on classics made by some of the most venerable shoemakers on the planet.  

Get your feet properly measured, stock up on Petri Polish and enjoy your growing collection!

  1. Skoaktiebolaget may be located in Sweden, but for customers here in the States they offer fast and cheap shipping along with automatic VAT deductions.  This means that shoes purchased from their world-class selection come in at 20% off from the start.  With a beautifully curated selection from four of our favorite brands, these Skoaktiebolaget is tough to beat for anything from a relatively rare pair of button-boots from Enzo Bonafe to a more subdued pair of wholecuts in Carmina’s gorgeous Museum Calf.  Gaziano & Girling and Edward Green round out the selection at the high end, with the finest footwear in the world.  Don’t let the prices scare you though, as many shoes can be found in the $300-range in the  Carmina collection--and you’ll be getting shoes of a quality far exceeding that price tag.  Check out the “odd-stock” selection frequently for can’t-miss deals on leftover sizes.
  2. Epaulet New York is a fabulous menswear boutique with locations in New York and California.  Check out their website for some of the finest Alden and Carmina makeups to be found.  Epaulet’s owners go out of their way to bring their customers some of the most interesting (yet timeless) shoe designs available today through collaborations with the finest shoemakers in the world.  Check out their Alden Innsbruk collection for Epaulet, featuring bulletproof construction and knockout looks: rich brown Horween Chromexcel uppers, antique pre-stitch reverse welts, and brass eyelets combine for a tough-to-beat combination.  Check out Epaulet’s new line of tennis sneakers for a wide array of classic colors in a casual yet sophisticated style.  
  3. Leffot’s boutique on Manhattan’s Christopher Street stuns with just a single table filled with its offerings--offerings that include a breathtaking assortment of the most incredible shoes from around the world.  Corthay’s classic Arca model features lines as exquisite as those found on any sports car, with deep, sensual colors to match.  No one’s interpretation of a classic oxford could possibly be more beautful than that of Saint Crispin’s.  And rugged, stylish boots from Viberg (in rare leather such as buffalo!) reward owners with looks and longevity that are unrivaled among bootmakers.  Be sure to stay up to date on the group orders that frequently take place.  Currently, a great selection of Alden makeups in Natural CXL is on offer.

Next time we’ll take a look at some of the larger web retailers...

Before & After with Petri Polish February 06 2015

With the dead of winter upon us, I thought that this would be an excellent time to do a little show and tell to demonstrate the performance attributes of the Petri Polish line of products.

Yes, our formulas are all-natural and they smell incredible.  No, they do not contain petroleum distillates such as naphtha nor do they include similarly harmful ingredients like turpentine.  Above all, our formulas do their job and do it well, with less elbow-grease from you!

For today’s purposes, I’ve temporarily sacrificed a pair of gorgeous Allen Edmonds Norwich monk straps in Brown Shell Cordovan.  Shell Cordovan is one of the most prized leathers available for shoe construction due to its beauty and its relative longevity as compared to your typical calfskins.  

The process of tanning shell cordovan is extremely complicated and no one does it better than the folks at Horween Tannery, where they’ve been doing this for over a century.  For all of its durability, the finish on shell cordovan is notoriously fickle and, as a result, difficult to care for.  Harsh solvents are to be avoided at all costs; prior to Petri Polish, I didn’t feel safe using much of anything on shell cordovan besides a horsehair brush.

To kick off this experiment, I took these beautiful loafers and traipsed though some snow, salt and slush leftover from Blizzard Juno (a bit of a letdown here in Bedford, New York).  I let that stuff dry and set into the leather a bit before touching it.  Here are a couple of “before shots”:

Now pay attention, because this whole process took less than 15 minutes.  First i used a Petri Polish shine cloth to coat the entire upper of each shoe with Leather Balm.  For optimal results, you want to use just enough to coat each shoe as lightly as possible--no more.  Excess won’t do any harm but it will make buffing a bit more difficult.  Here’s what they look like when properly coated:

I let that sit on there for about 8 minutes before using a horsehair brush to buff out all of the dried Leather Balm.  One could also use the soft side of a Shine Cloth if a brush isn’t handy.  I could stop there but I felt like adding a bit of pigment back to the leather, along with some water protection and scuff protection.  So I grabbed a jar of Brown Potion and repeated the process above (with a slightly shorter drying period).  Here’s what I ended up with:

Not only did this quick and gentle routine clean up all all of the water spots and grime, it left a glowing surface that's now protected from the elements.