Shine Of The Times
Chances are, unless you join the military, you will never have to face punishment for not having shiny shoes. Nonetheless, it is a great skill to have in your man arsenal. Whether it's an upcoming wedding, graduation or simply another day at the office, a pair of shiny shoes can set you apart as a man that knows how to take care of himself. Not only does shining your shoes look good, it is a necessary part of properly caring for and maintaining a nice pair of leather shoes or boots. The polish itself helps moisturise and waterproof the leather, lengthening a shoes lifespan. Here are some tips:
- Polish your shoes regularly. This means once a week, if you wear the pair in question two or three times a week, or once a month if you wear them once a week.
- Use a small amount of polish. There is no point using too much as you will not be able to work it into the leather. Avoid putting too much on the sides s this will end up on your trousers.
- Brushes are better for a quick polish. But cloths are ideal if you want to achieve a really high polish or do something different with the colour. For example, some people will use black polish on chestnut leather to deepen the patina that builds up over time – shoes should get better with age. Use a small brush to apply the polish and really work it into the welt.
- If shoes are light in colour you may find that polish darkens the leather. To keep this to a minimum you can use neutral rather than coloured polish will collect in the holes, giving the effect of white spots.
- Right now it is on-trend to keep the toecaps much shinier than the rest of the shoe. Use a cloth and add a little water to help work the polish into the leather and polish until you achieve a high shine. The water breaks down the polish and helps to work it into the leather – this is the origin of the expression "spit and polish". For the general polish you can spray the polishing brush with a little water.
- To achieve a really high-shine toe it can take up to an hour to work the polish in. Spend three hours on the first polish of a new pair of shoes – and the result is apparently worth it.
- To achieve a darker toe, it is better to blend the colour in. Use a layer of neutral polish and then add the coloured polish to create a graduation – you can even play with contrasting colour for a more edgy look.
- Never polish shoes immediately after wearing them. The heat from your feet will have left moisture in the leather. It is much better to polish your shoes in the morning rather than the evening.
- If shoes get wet, take them off and stuff them with newspaper. Then leave them away from direct heat on their sides so that the soles can dry out thoroughly. Never put polish on.
Breaking Shoes In
Having made your purchase, here's how to make sure you don't injure yourself in your new pair of shoes
1. Before buying pair of shoes think what socks you will be wearing with them and stick to that from the beginning. There is no point wearing thick woolen socks with a pair of dress shoes that realistically you will wear with thin cotton lisle numbers. Also, avoid thick socks with loafers as these will stretch the leather, causing the shoes to start falling off over time.
2. Wear your new shoes when walking around the house – there's no point wearing them while you are stationary, like sitting on the sofa watching television.
3. Increase the amount of time you wear the shoes for each time. Begin by wearing them for an hour; two hours the next time and so on.
4. The size of your feet changes throughout the day. By the evening, feet will be at their most swollen as you have been using them all day – this is why it is better to buy trousers in the afternoon to ensure the fit is right. When breaking them in, wear your shoes at different times of the day so that your feet will get used to wearing them at each stage.