How to shine your shoes
The man who knows how to shine his own shoes would also have a handle on most things. It is certainly a skill that deserves to be passed down from father to son. There is a definite pleasure in being able to care for your own footwear. Unfortunately most people today have little appreciation for the process, opting for convenient liquid shiners and the like.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
Shining is not just about removing dirt and grime from the shoe, but also refreshing the leather, prepping it for colouring, treatment or oiling, depending on the type of shoe. Even old shoes can be made to look good through polishing as scuffs and marks can be diminished.
A standard shoe shine kit will have all you need to take care of every item of footwear in your closet, from leather to nubuck. Most shoemakers offer such a kit. Just enquire at the counter. There are variations from each label, but most kits are relatively comparable. Specialised shoe labels may offer more comprehensive sets with various leather colour polishes.
At the most rudimentary, your shoe shine kit should contain: 1 polishing cloth 1 soft brush 1 hard brush 1 or more colour wax/paste 1 colourless conditioner cream
AD SOME WINE
Berluti has a rather useful and unexpected tip for ensuring your shoes stay perfectly conditioned. According to Ms Olga Berluti, the trick to a well-polished shoe is to massage in some chianti, pinot noir or vintage champagne in order to remove excess wax from the polishing process and make the shoe sparkle. (Obviously, red wines should not be used on light coloured leather.)
FOR LEATHER SHOES
STEP 1 First, brush off any dirt on the sole or any part of the shoe.
STEP 2 Next, add some warm water to the shoe polish, which should be of the same colour as the shoe. i.e. brown polish for brown shoes, et cetera.
STEP 3 Apply the softened polish on your cloth. Using gentle pressure on one finger, rub the polish evenly onto the shoe in a circular motion. STEP 4 Finally, use a clean portion of the soft cloth or a soft brush to buff the shoe to a shine.
STEP 5 Use shoe trees to keep your footwear in shape and absorb moisture and odours from them.
FOR NUBUCK/SUEDE SHOES
Contrary to expectation, nubuck and suede are incredibly durable materials. Should they get wet, air-dry them, brush them out and all will be fine.