Shoe Shining

I think there are a lot of women out there with scuffed up dress shoes who simply throw them away rather than revive them with shoe polish. I have no way to support this theory other than anecdotes. Literally, a friend saying, “I can’t wear my cute black shoes, I scuffed the toes.” And myself, who was never taught to polish her shoes.

My dad would occasionally shine up my sister’s black leather shoes before band concerts, but usually our dress shoes were satin and our school shoes were sneakers. So we never learned to shine our shoes. My father is an oddly dedicated shoe polisher, but I never learned to shine my shoes.

Eventually, my grandmother bought me a pair of black leather boots and a shoeshine sponge to go with it. But the sponge only made my boots glossy – they did nothing for the scuffs. I then assumed that shoe polish only made things shiny, it couldn’t heal broken leather.

It wasn’t until I was watching a male friend of mine polish his shoes that I realized that shoe polish – proper, smells terrible, stains your hands if you’re not careful, shoe polish – actually fills in the scuffs in shoes. It gives them new life. I’m always surprised when I see women in pointy toed shoes with bad scuffs. Some shoe polish would fix those right up, but instead women act like scuffed toes are inevitable.

I’m not an expert on shoe polish, by any means, but to get a proper shoeshine, you need more than just a tin of shoe polish (which I bought in college and then realized there was more to it than applying it with a paper towel – which will work for you in a pinch.) You can find kits on Amazon for between $10 and $20, or you can get yourself two rags – both of a thick-ish, soft material (t-shirts or flannel should work). Apply the polish with one rag, let it dry (I don’t know for how long), then shine it up with the other rag.

Here’s the thing though – a lot of ladies, myself included, wear shoes that are non-standard colors. That’s okay though. You can buy shoe polish for those shoes too.

Do you shine your shoes? Did you learn growing up, like boys do, or did you learn as an adult, like me?


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