Tuesday, March 02, 2010

How to Properly Shine your Shoes

Every pair of shoes needs some tender loving care to stay nice for years.  A good dress shoe can look good and last for decades, if taken care of properly.  It is common for men to have shoes for 30 or more years as long as they are polished and resoled as needed.  Due to such longevity, good dress shoes are the best investment a man can make in his wardrobe.

The more care and time taken at each step the better the shoes will look.  While a polish needs not take longer than 20-30 minutes the care some men desire to give a project can take it considerably longer.  Personally, I feel there is a therapeutic relaxation to polishing shoes.  While there are many debated techniques we at Modern Dignified feel the proper shoe care technique is quite simple, assuming you have the proper equipment.

The proper equipment can be bought in kits online like the one sold at Florsheim.  Or these items can picked up individually at any shoe store of quality.  Needed is shoe polish, the right color for the shoes.  A horse hair brush and a buffer cloth for polishing the shoes.   A liquid shoe polish for the edges.  As well as an old undershirt for applying the shoe polish.  At Modern Dignified we prefer shoe wax, commonly sold.  When working with shoe wax, hot water will be needed for best results.

Step #1: Clean the shoe - The shoe will need to be cleaned of any dirt or dust with the old shirt.  Do not use water on this step.  If the shoes are extremely dirty use saddle soap on the shoes.  If the shoes are receiving regular maintenance then a good rubdown with a cloth will do the trick.

Step #2: Polish the shoe - The best method is to wrap the cloth around two fingers and then dip the fingers into the hot water.  Then use the two fingers wrapped in the damp cloth to load up on shoe wax.  Take the shoe wax (Kiwi Shoe Polish is a wax) and apply it to the shoes in small circular motions.  Start the small circular motions at the heel of the shoe moving forward. 

This is the step that can take the longest time, depending on the desired effect.  The shoes will reach a deeper shine and polish the more time taken to ensure the leather has fully taken the polish.  Continued circles until nearly shiny will do the trick.  With regular use this step needs to only be done once.  But for badly maintained shoes, the process should be repeated twice.

Step #3: Buff the shoe - After letting the shoe dry for about ten minutes, usually the time taken to do the second shoe in the pair, the polish needs to be buffed.  Just like a car, the excess wax will need to be removed from the shoe.  Unlike a car wax job, the initial treatment works most of the wax into the leather leaving only a little residue to be buffed off the shoe.

Take the horse hair brush and vigorously brush the shoe.  This buffing should be done to all areas of the shoe, until it is shiny and all evidence of the original circular polish is removed.  At this time the clean buffer cloth is used to further enrich the shine.  Rub the buffer cloth on the shoe in a back and forth motion.  Continue until the shoes reach desired shine.

Step #4: Edge and Enjoy - Finish off the polish job by edging the shoe.  Let it dry and then enjoy the finished project.  A job that you can be proud of.

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