There are few things that will elevate your outfit more than a well polished pair of wingtips. If your jeans are haggard, your jacket is looking a bit worn, or your shirt has seen better days with the ironing board, your saving grace should definitely be your shoes. A dull shoe is just that, dull, and a quick shine can make all the difference. Ideally, when your kicks are feeling a little down you can take a seat and let the professionals go to work. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better shine than some of the regulars on the streets of New York, but if you don’t have time to step out before your date, or you’re a young man whose budget doesn’t allow for the extras, then you need to know how to make your shoes stand out on your own. It’s simple, it’s cheap and it doesn’t take more than ten minutes. Here is the Life, Tailored guide on how to shine your shoes.
Get Your Materials
Here’s a list of what you’re going to need: – Some news paper (or an old towel) to lay on the floor – Polish closely matching the color of your shoe (wax or cream, your call) – Horsehair brush – An old t-shirt/towel/chammy/ – Toothbrush (optional but helpful) If you’re unsure your items will work (though I can all but guarantee they will) you can pick up a complete shoe shine kit. The all in one, low priced, perfect for every guy shoe shining kit by Kiwi, $13.99
Quick Clean Up
You first want to remove your shoe trees and laces before you get started. A lot of people tend to skip the lace removal, but getting polish on them can weaken your laces and cause you to neglect the tongue, which over time will cause it to be a different color than the rest of the shoe. Once laces and shoe trees are removed, take your non-dominant hand and place it inside the shoe, holding it firmly in place. Using a damp cloth/old t-shirt/towel wipe away all the surface dirt and debris. You want to make sure to get all the little pieces of dirt off before you start applying polish to avoid scratching the leather. After you have wiped down each shoe, let them sit for a few minutes until they are completely dry.
Using an old cloth apply a reasonable amount of polish to the shoe, making sure to hit all the ins and outs. For that little extra shine on the toe and heel, take another dab of polish and apply it in a circular motion after the shoe is covered. Take an old toothbrush and get polish into all the nooks and crannies you missed. Set shoe number one aside for the polish to set in and repeat on shoe number two.
Now that shoe number one is good and dry, grab your horsehair brush. Using quick, short strokes, remove the polish from the shoe (like the gentleman above.) Using small, fast strokes like this allows each piece of leather to get more attention than it would with longer strokes across the entire shoe. This also creates friction to heat up the leather, allowing the polish to better sink in. When you’re finished, grab shoe number two and do the same.
Remove Excess Polish
Once you have strained your wrist and simply can’t go on, set the brush down and grab another old cloth. Wipe away all the extra polish you may have missed, paying special attention to the top of the shoe where polish tends to collect and make its way to your pants. Give your shoes a good buffing with the rag and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.
Yes, It’s Really That Easy…
Sit back, take a look at your freshly polished kicks and enjoy your evening knowing that at least one part of you will be looking dead on. Keep checking back for more ways keep your Life, Tailored specifically to you. Cheers!