A Shoemaker's Blog

Shoe Shine Weekend: Mouldy Cordovan

Joseph Cheaney cordovan derby brogues

Leather Shoes & Mould

Left this pair of Joseph Cheaney derby brogues in the cabinet untouched for 2 months since returning back to Singapore and imagine the shock I got when I pulled them out of the cabinet.

The humidity is a real concern for leather here in Singapore, even for cordovan. The upper on this pair is English cordovan by Clayton tannery. Not quite as famous as Horween but still of fantastic quality.

The uppers were in bad shape with mould covering around 20% of the uppers.  I immediately brushed off the mould with a horse hair brush and only remembered to snap a photo after brushing.

Thankfully there was no mould in the lining and this was how the shoes looked after brushing.

Joseph Cheaney cordovan derby brogues before shining
Joseph Cheaney cordovan derby brogues before shining


After brushing, I did a quick wipe down with rubbing alcohol to clean as much as possible and to try to prevent any further mould growth. I also left these out in the sun for about 2hours to air out.

The shoes have lightened quite a bit from its original colour and I wanted to restore the original colour. I decided to go with the black water resistant cream polish and finish off with touch of high shine wax. (Tip: black or navy polish creates lots of depth on burgundy leather) 

I could have gone for the regular black cream polish but cordovan is known for spotting up after contact with water. Others seem to have excellent results from the water-proofing properties so I decided to give them a try.


Well the photos speak for themselves but i'll be keeping a close watch on this pair to see if any mould returns.

If any of you have a routine to prevent moudly shoes, especially in the tropical countries, please share them in the comments

Joseph Cheaney cordovan derby brogues after polishing

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