PDA

View Full Version : breaking in new brogans



wilber6150
08-23-2006, 09:49 PM
HI list,
fresh fish question here..
Just got my new shoes today and was wondering the best way to break them in..Ok before I get blasted by the (just wear them answers), I've heard of wearing them in the shower and couple of off beat ideas like that..Also, do the heel plates really work or better off without them...
Thanks
Will

iron_schweick90
08-23-2006, 10:19 PM
Yah dip them in water and wear them for most of the day around the house and outside. The heel plates dig into the ground better than none at all but slip on flooring. I can't offer a better idea then just wearing them but get them wet and DONT TAKE THEM OFF TIL THER DRY. Also a boot tree? That may keep its shape when your not wearing them.
Joshua Schweickhardt

MStuart
08-23-2006, 10:36 PM
I'd also use some Huberd's Shoe Grease. It's made with beeswax and not only does it help waterproof the shoe, it also softens up the leather. Use this after wetting them and wearing them as above.

"The shower"?

Mark

reddcorp
08-23-2006, 11:09 PM
Some good advice already.
Be sure to give them a good cleaning after use, let dry and treat with a good leather conditioner, i.e.Pecards or similiar product. Don't use a petroleum based product. And invest in a good pair of shoe trees, preferably wooden, as opposed to the plastic or metal ones. This will help keep the brogan's shape and extend their life considerably. Heel plates seem to extend the life of the heels, but as noted, you can slip and bust your keester real easily on flooring. Last time I was at the Antietam visitors' center, for an event, they had duct tape available for the soles to avoid falls.

Happy marching,

Andy Redd

Doug Cooper
08-24-2006, 06:38 AM
HI list,
fresh fish question here..
Just got my new shoes today and was wondering the best way to break them in..Ok before I get blasted by the (just wear them answers), I've heard of wearing them in the shower and couple of off beat ideas like that..Also, do the heel plates really work or better off without them...
Thanks
Will

Will heel plates are a matter of preference - they do work to protect the heel from wear, which is the intended purpose, but the vast majority of surviving shoes do not have them. As most roads were not macadamized back then, traction was not the concern. I prefer to go without and have many, many miles on all my shoes. You will remember well the first time your feet slip out from under you due to your heel plates on a slick surface.

As far as breaking them in - there really is no substitute for walking many miles in your shoes, for your feet as well as the rest of your equipment (you learn alot about how to wear your stuff). Experiment with sock thickness as well (wool socks). Cotton socks are for living history - if you walk more than a couple miles in cotton socks and get them wet through rain or sweat, they can turn into cheese graters.

As for care, use Hubard's shoe grease or other non-petroleum, non-synthetic product. Brush the mud off, use some saddle soap if required and then oil them. Don't forget the inside and the tongue. Oiling them makes them softer and aids the break-in process.

Rob Weaver
08-24-2006, 07:58 AM
I saddlesoaped my last pair once a day for 4 or 5 days, then began to break them in by wearing them. Around the hours for a few hours at first, then for some walks around the park, or down the street. I work ina profession where no one is going to mind if I wear my Civil War shoes to work, so I wore them for a couple days all day long. By the time I wore them for the first time in the field, they were soft and comfortable.
A word of caution - if you're an older person, and you know you need some support in your shoes, don't be afraid to add some insoles. These are your feet, after all, and nothing is as bad as the discomfort of hurt feet one day into a four day event, not to mention the week afterwards when you get home. Take care of your real world self, should you need to.

huntdaw
08-24-2006, 10:40 AM
I have a pair of Federal brogans, a pair of Confederate oxfords and a pair of civilian tie shoes. All are made by a major maker in the hobby and none have heel plates. I chose to go this route because I feel heel plates are much too overrepresented in the hobby. I understand the rationale behind them due to the cost of shoes but still thought I would not put them on and see what would happen. They have held up well. In fact, as the top leather of the heel has worn down it has exposed all of the nails holding the heel in place. So, in effect, I have heel plates. I am sure that over time they will wear down and there may be a problem but I would not be surprised if these do me well for a long, long time to come.

Whether this works for all though well definitely depend on who made the shoes and how they are constructed. I would wager that an owner of a sutler row pair of brogans would not get the same results.

Rob Weaver
08-24-2006, 11:54 AM
Heel plates or no are a matter of personal choice. i have heard for several years that they're over-represented. Take that for what it's worth. If you're going to spend much time marhing on paved surfaces ('streamer marching in local parades, campaigner doing long commemorative marches, etc.), you're going to wear down the heels quickly. When the heels wear down, the shoes get more and uncomfortable. Resoling costs around $40-$50 dollars where I live. So, pair of heell plates for under $10 can save you the cost of a new pair of shoes fairly quickly. I'd recommend them as the best period solution to the problem.

Kimmel
08-24-2006, 12:19 PM
Some good advice already.
Be sure to give them a good cleaning after use, let dry and treat with a good leather conditioner, i.e.Pecards or similiar product. Don't use a petroleum based product. And invest in a good pair of shoe trees, preferably wooden, as opposed to the plastic or metal ones. This will help keep the brogan's shape and extend their life considerably. Heel plates seem to extend the life of the heels, but as noted, you can slip and bust your keester real easily on flooring. Last time I was at the Antietam visitors' center, for an event, they had duct tape available for the soles to avoid falls.

Happy marching,

Andy Redd


I think antietam also has duct tape so you don't ruin their floors.... thats what I heard when I was there. I'm following this tread because I put my old pair o fbrogans to close to the fire a couple of times.... now there's a nice crack and hole in the toe right above the sole! There only 2 years old... but I've learned my lesson!. I will soon be needing to break in another pair...

ewtaylor
08-24-2006, 12:29 PM
I have a pair of Federal brogans, a pair of Confederate oxfords and a pair of civilian tie shoes. All are made by a major maker in the hobby and none have heel plates. I chose to go this route because I feel heel plates are much too overrepresented in the hobby. I understand the rationale behind them due to the cost of shoes but still thought I would not put them on and see what would happen. They have held up well. In fact, as the top leather of the heel has worn down it has exposed all of the nails holding the heel in place. So, in effect, I have heel plates. I am sure that over time they will wear down and there may be a problem but I would not be surprised if these do me well for a long, long time to come.

Whether this works for all though well definitely depend on who made the shoes and how they are constructed. I would wager that an owner of a sutler row pair of brogans would not get the same results.

My first pair of Brogans came from Mattimore Harness and needed NO breakng in. I marched 2 miles with them the first day I wore them and to my surprise they were very comfortable. The guys wearing the skinner row stuff complained the whole time about their feet, and their shoes were broken in! I walked thru creeks with water gushing out with every step, on pavement, and up wooded hill sides and never had a problem. I wore them for 3 years and sold them for the price of a skinner row pair and the new owner loved them too.
You can't go wrong with a quality maker. And I never installed heel plates.
ew taylor

wilber6150
08-24-2006, 04:32 PM
hi all,
thanks for all the great info from everyone..Just a couple of qucik questions, where could I pick up some of the leather cream like hubbards, and is it possible to remove heel plates if I choose too without ruining the shoe..
thanks all
Will

MStuart
08-24-2006, 04:35 PM
Will:

I know that Fall Creek Sutlery sells the Huberds Shoe Grease www.fcsutler.com

Mark

Frenchie
08-24-2006, 04:49 PM
Removing the heel savers without damaging the heels depends on how they're attached. If they're inset into the heel so their bottoms are flush with the bottoms of the heel, you're out of luck and might as well keep them on. If they're set on the bottom surface of the heel you may be able to carefully pry them off. Look at them carefully and think a lot about how to do it.

toptimlrd
08-24-2006, 04:58 PM
hi all,
thanks for all the great info from everyone..Just a couple of qucik questions, where could I pick up some of the leather cream like hubbards, and is it possible to remove heel plates if I choose too without ruining the shoe..
thanks all
Will

Hubards or Pecards (my preference) can be bought at most sutlers. Heel plates can be removed as they too have to be replaced time to time. They may be over represented, but after spending about double what one does on standard sutler shoes for a pair of Missori Boot & Shoe (HIGHLY RECCOMENDED!) I want them to last as long as possible. Please do not go cheap on the shoes or you will regret it. MB&S (as well as other better vendors) require foot measurments and make the shoe specifically to fit YOU. I wore mine right out of the box and other than the usual slipping until the slickness wore off the sole and a small hot spot on the ankle bone where the leather came just under it (anatomy problem not the shoe), never had a problem or had to really "break them in"

Andy Fulks at Fall Creek is a good man to deal with as long as one realizes most of his wares are more for the mainstream and not an authentic type person. I do try to buy from him when I can as he is a pleasure to deal with and does stand behind his products.

Brandon313
08-24-2006, 05:21 PM
i didnt have any Hubberds on hand when i got my first pair of brogans, so i used your standard baseball glove softener/breaker inner (lol) I dont know about anyone else but it worked just fine, but at my first reenactment i picked up some real shoe grease, it works wonders for tough leather.

reddcorp
08-25-2006, 03:55 PM
Both Pecard's and Huberd's have websites and online ordering.
If you have a local Tack or Saddle shop, check with them as well.
And some sporting goods shops may carry these products. You can't go wrong with either to keep your brogans in good shape.

AWRedd

reddcorp
08-25-2006, 09:11 PM
Just in case:

Don't forget to grease or treat the soles as well as the uppers.

AWRedd