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Shine Your Shoes

I can't even remember the last time I saw a shoe shine stand. Yeah, I shine mine, the way I learned in the Navy. I enjoy doing it, it is relaxing. I use the regular KIWI polish and an old cotton tee shirt. A little water in the lid of the can (I always considered spit unsanitary), apply it to a s small area at a time, work in little circles...Takes me back to my youth. The ship is standing off some great liberty port, maybe Subic Bay, going to pull in at daybreak. You can smell the land. No one can sleep, we all have Chnnel Fever. THe lights are still on, way past taps. Our "dress canvas" (best uniforms) are brushed and pressed, everyone is sitting around shining their shoes to a mirror gloss, discussing our plans for when we hit the beach. Remembering previous visits, favorite bars, good friends, old girl friends...shining my shoes evokes those old memories. When Corfam shoes came out, imitation leather that does not require polish, a lot of sailors switched to them. Until they discovered that the material does not breath, they bake your feet on a hot parade ground or ship's deck. And in a fire they melt onto your feet! Leather is the thing for shoes, and frequent polishing keeps it in good shape forever.
 
I take good care of my shoes, shining my dress shoes up (Allen Edmonds and Cole Haan) and treating my casual footwear (deck shoes and Blundstone boots). Take care of them, they will take care you your feet.

If I see someone with unpolished dress shoes, my opinion of them drops, sort of not looking after the details.
 

mark the shoeshine boy

Moderator Emeritus
i use a saddle soap after a few weeks of wearing the shoes....i hardly get mine that dirty, so i brush or wipe them off and reapply some polish, then i finish them off with a shine rag.

saddle soap can be both a conditioner and cleaner.....i used both creams and pastes and really havent noticed any difference.

i just clean em then shine em....done....next !!!!
 
Yeah, when you think about it, shoes are your most basic foirn of transportation. What a useful invention! And given basic care, a good pair will last forever. I have a pair of half-wellingtons I bought back in the 1970's. I put new heels on them a couple of times, clean them up with saddle soap every few years to keep the leather supple. When I sit down and put a good shine on them, the satisfaction is similar to what I get from a good shave. Makes me look good, whether I am in a suit or a pair of faded jeans. Puts a little spring in my step.
 
Start posting pictures of those shined shoes!

A spit shoe shine pictorial should be put up for reference.

*** Anyone recommend a good dress shoe brand that is comfortable? I work on my feet all day on concrete floors. I need a good, comfortable shoe. I was suggested Johnson & Murphy but have yet to try them.

I've tried every insole known to man. While some help, the problem is they often are too thick and cause more displeasure and pain rather than help as my heel sticks too far out of the shoe.
 
Start posting pictures of those shined shoes!

A spit shoe shine pictorial should be put up for reference.

*** Anyone recommend a good dress shoe brand that is comfortable? I work on my feet all day on concrete floors. I need a good, comfortable shoe. I was suggested Johnson & Murphy but have yet to try them.

I've tried every insole known to man. While some help, the problem is they often are too thick and cause more displeasure and pain rather than help as my heel sticks too far out of the shoe.
Clarks is a great brand. They are more on the casual side of dress shoes but they are so comfortable (I have 2 pairs):

http://clarks.zappos.com/n/es/d/722668889/page/1.html
 

The Knize

Moderator Emeritus
Ko Cho Line leather dressing and Chelsea leather food were the two Brit products I was thinking of. The former is definitely a saddlery product originally.

The other product made by several places is glycerine saddle soap. Easy to use. Put a nice quick shine on shoes. But I wonder if it is really good for them or not.

Also I like Dynashine liquid for edges and scuffs. Darn hard to find these days though. Most "edge treatment" seems way too thick, shiny, and slow to dry.

When I worked in a plant that had concrete floors we wore shoes that had desert boot type crepe bottoms. I assume that is what the Clarks have. Concrete is very hard on feet, back, and for some reason will give one hemroids! So it is worth figuring out so way to get some cushioning.
 
I usually get a couple of layers of Meltonian cream on the shoe before I spit shine it using KIWI. I've never had any problems and can (eventually) get near-mirror finishes on dress shoes. Semi-frequent re-polishing plus gratuitous use of cedar shoe trees mean that I have great faith in the longevity of my shoes.
 

The Knize

Moderator Emeritus
Ditto on the Dyanshine for edges and scuffs, but I haven't seen it anywhere in years.
Yeah, isn't it weird that that has happened? I just did a tour around the net. You can still find it, so they must still make it, but there seems to be fewer places that carry it than the last time I Googled it.

Edge dressing I guess they call what I, and assume you, use it for. It was really made as an all over shoe polish n mind, and I can see how sales would go down for it for that purpose. Seems like it would be drying for leather. But is works great on edges, and regular edge dressing just seems horrible. I really was not interested in painting the edge of my soles a shiny, drippy black. I would like they to be nicely and evenly the color of my shoes though.
 
I must confess my shoe shining came to an abrupt halt when I retired from the military and for a while so did my shaving for that matter :lol: My shaving came back so maybe shoe shining will come back in time too. I really don't see much of a way for shoe shining to be fun though. I also seem to have developed a mental block against black shoes. I never wear them and in fact most of the time my shoes of choice are buck oxfords, brown Doc Martens, and of course Florida Old Fart standard issue Sperry Topsiders.
 
I must confess my shoe shining came to an abrupt halt when I retired from the military and for a while so did my shaving for that matter :lol:
I second that!

I just give a good black brushing on my work boots and call it a day.. still got those parade boots in the box, a little wet dusting and they'll still shine like a gem.. Who in their right minds want to polish shoes???? The minor scuffle mark or imperfection of the wax coating is magnify.. and it sort of sounds wrong when you go to your buddy and say "Hey man lots pop some cold ones and shine our shoes." :blink:
 
I was about to start a thread of my own when I saw this one and decided to post my rambling here.

I was letting some shoe polish dry before getting to the buffing this afternoon.

Someone I know and usually take the word of pointed out that I am the only one on our side of the office (actually, a separate building) that does anything with clothes at all.

No, I don't mean I work with nudists. Despite the fact that I --at least 60 % of the time-- am in the field for work, I brush the dust off my shoes and polish them in a meticulous order (that any old army guy would recognize) and take an iron to my clothes before work.

We're not "officially" allowed to wear jeans at work (and I don't anyway because I don't like them) but most of the guys do anyway, along with nylon hikers, various kinds of flannel shirts and the like.

I don't wear a suit or anything but I put on slacks and muted print single pocket shirts for work and about once a week, a tie. The fact that I change to field boots (also polished, by the way) and coveralls (clean and pressed) three days a week doesn't even enter my head.

The little whispering bird was right in that I am all alone in our building in doing this but I feel naked if I go out to work or a social function any other way.

Comments?

Regards,

- John
 

The Knize

Moderator Emeritus
I think in the corporate world one should generally dress like one's more or less immediate superiors that seem successful.

Clothing, whether we like it or not, or mean it or not, carries a lot of symbolism. Wearing jeans, although not officially allowed, for instance, may be a statement or individuality or non-conformity or may come across that way whether meant that way or not.

So long as what you are wearing does not make you seem like you are some rigid old guy that cannot adapt, seems like you are okay or better. Your dress may be making a statement that you do not approve of the sloth you perceive around you. That may or may not be advantegeous to you. To me, hate to admit it but getting kind of old myself, what you are most likely projecting is that you are serious about your job, and that also you are dressing appropriate to your age and your background. Nothing worse that some older guy uncomfortably trying to fit in with younger folks by dressing the way they do. It does not make them appear younger!
 
I think in the corporate world one should generally dress like one's more or less immediate superiors that seem successful.

Clothing, whether we like it or not, or mean it or not, carries a lot of symbolism. Wearing jeans, although not officially allowed, for instance, may be a statement or individuality or non-conformity or may come across that way whether meant that way or not.
Actually, I should have clarified this. The building I work in is largely comprised of people who spend some amount of time in the field, hence the jeans. Your note about dressing like your boss is valid most of the time; in this particular case, the boss is the last guy standing. My immediate boss was doing my job right up until the day I was hired, a couple of months ago and HE became the boss because his boss had left. In short, I don't know if that "rule" applies at my asylum, err, I mean employer.

So long as what you are wearing does not make you seem like you are some rigid old guy that cannot adapt, seems like you are okay or better. Your dress may be making a statement that you do not approve of the sloth you perceive around you. That may or may not be advantegeous to you. To me, hate to admit it but getting kind of old myself, what you are most likely projecting is that you are serious about your job, and that also you are dressing appropriate to your age and your background. Nothing worse that some older guy uncomfortably trying to fit in with younger folks by dressing the way they do. It does not make them appear younger!
:lol: No, it sure doesn't. I guess the point of my post is: do I dress like this because I believe I should look at least semi-professional or do I dress like this because I was trained to by what is the most old fashioned of institutions? You are correct, by the way: I do not approve of my co-workers meeting with clients while looking like they dressed by cashing a welfare cheque at the SallyAnn store.

Regards,

- John
 
Hi everyone! Ah, a can of kiwi....one of the best (and most masculine) smells out there. There's just something therapuetic about the routine, from the perfectly engineered can of polish to brushing your shoes and after a little elbow grease, seeing your reflection in your shoes.

My father gave me the rudimentary class when I was 17 using his military shoe-shine kit. Then, it didn't make sense to me. After a stint in the military myself, everything became clear. It's all about a sense of pride in self and accomplishment.

Shined shoes present better, and no, windex on patent leather does not count as putting a shine to your shoes! :tongue_sm But I can tell you what does work: Time and patience. Sure, you can put a Zippo to your shoe, but let us be practical for a moment...we are men, after all and what are men if not practical beings? If you put a flame to your skin, it wouldn't like it. Shoe leather is no different. Just don't do it. Any kind of heat is bad for leather. I know in our society, everyone wants instant results. I have tried all the fads while I was running amok with the Army, from placing my boots in the oven to flaming them with a zippo to using a hair dryer....all of these melt the polish to get it into the pores of the leather, but these methods dry out and damage the leather. Yeah, they work, but so does the old-fashioned t-shirt wrapped around the fingers...and the latter won't damage your shoes.

Now, what works? Allow me to give you a step by step for new shoes and your old beaters as well.

1. Clean your shoes with saddle soap following the instructions on the tin and allow them to dry completely.
2. Brush shine your shoes. This amounts to adding some polish to your shoes with either a brush or cloth and using another brush to clean off the excess polish. Do this a few times to build up a base coat. Once you have a base coat well-established, you can...
3. Spit shine. This is adding very THIN layers of polish, one over the other to attain a deep, high-gloss shine. This is where I think a lot of folks get lost. This is easy once you learn the proper way to do it. Use a very soft t shirt or cloth wrapped around your fingers and wet it with water (I keep mine in the top lid of the wax tin), then tap the surface of the polish once or twice. THAT IS IT. You don't want more polish than that. Now, apply to your shoe in a circular motion until all the swirls are gone, using a very light touch. Keep the cloth moist. When you see the swirls disappear, add more polish as per above.

If you notice the polish stripping off when you are spit shining, it means the base coat is not well established yet, the cloth is too dry, you are using too much pressure or adding too much polish at one time.

Once you have it down, it is a snap to maintain. And people notice. :001_smile
 

jwhite

Moderator Emeritus
Is not using parade gloss just the look you do not like or some other reason. I think PG has a good deal of silicon in it which always worried me as to whether it ws hurting the leather, but I have heard mixed things about whether it does.

Agree re shoe trees' importances.

What are folks using for saddle soap and or lotions? Does anyone use anything else like some of those saddle preservatives? I have had mixed results?

Anyone figure out how to get rid of or minimize cracks once they are there?
I have a fair amount of leather items and if the leather really needs some love I use Wolverine leather conditioner for oil cured leather. I massage it into the leather with an old soft bristle tooth brush paying special attention to any seams or lacing, (if shoes lacing removed), let sit for a few and buff out with a clean cotton rag. I use neatsfoot oil for regular cleaning or maintenance. I wear deck shoes or loafers most of the time so that keeps them looking good as well as long wearing. I typically walk the soles trough before I have any issue with the uppers. Though credit belongs to the manufacturer as well for providing a well made shoe to start with.
 

The Knize

Moderator Emeritus
<I guess the point of my post is: do I dress like this because I believe I should look at least semi-professional or do I dress like this because I was trained to by what is the most old fashioned of institutions? >

Well, I have a limited ability to "look into your soul" on this! <G> You have put too much thought into it for it to be simply habit "trained to by what is the most old fashioned of institutions." I think you want to and should "look at least semi-professional." Your question may be what passes for "semi-professional" these days. I am not exactly sure what you do, but I sure do not remember ever interacting with someone in a professional setting and thinking they were too well groomed, with is what shining one's shoes and pressing one's clothes amounts to. I myself like a tie in a business setting, so if you are trying to impress me, it would work!
 
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