One of the first things I look at when I see another gentleman is their shoes. I consider whether he has made an effort to keep them looking sharp. What is to be said about a gent who has a pair of scruffy shoes to go with his tailored suit? It doesn’t put forward a great example of yourself. Whilst keeping your shoes smart says something about how you keep yourself, polishing them also ensures their longevity. A regular clean and polish will see you maximise the miles you’ll put in those treads of yours.
When polishing your shoes, you will need the following items. I keep them in a bag at the back of my sock draw:
- A cream or wax polish which matches the shade of the shoes you polish. My standards are always the Kiwi black, dark brown and light brown tubs.
- 2 x Horse hair brushes.
- 2 x cotton cloth – I keep an extra on spare.
Before you start, lay out some newspaper as the process tends to get a little messy.
STEP 1: CLEAN THE SHOW
Use one of the cotton cloths to clean any debris or dust off of the shoe. It is important that you do not skip this crucial step as the last thing you want to do is apply polish to a dirty shoe. This would completely defeat the purpose.
STEP 2: APPLY POLISH TO THE SHOE
I mark both horse hair brushes. One ‘Polish’ and the other ‘Shine’. Take your Polish Horse Hair brush and apply the polish evenly to the leather of the shoe. The key here is consistency. Remember that you are essentially feeding the leather so massage the polish into the leather consistently throughout.
STEP 4: SHINE THE SHOW
After you have allowed the polish to dry, take your Shine Horse Hair brush and lightly dust over the shoe. This is the most delicate process of them all. Soft quick movements are key as you are not looking re-massage the polish.
STEP 5: EXTRA SHINE (OPTIONAL)
At this stage an only if I am looking for that extra shine do I take my clean cotton cloth and re-buff the leather shoe. I generally only apply this step to my black dress-shoes and a selection of my smarter brogues.
It’s a pretty simple process and I find it quite therapeutic. I’d suggest you polish your shoes when they start to look a little scruffy or at the very least, once every month. Remember that your shoes – as simple as it may sound – are one of the top indications of how you carry yourself. And please, whatever you do, don’t use one of those ridiculous liquid-sponge-polish-gimmicks we all used for our school vellies. It was ok then because no one cared. You should now. Your shoes will thank you for it.
Why wouldn’t you want to take care of a pair of quality leather shoes and ensure that you keep looking sharp for many years to come? Why?
You stay classy,