I think we all can agree that shoes are an essential part of any man’s wardrobe. Buying shoes is a task in itself. There are several questions that must go through your mind when you’re purchasing the perfect pair. Are the going to loosen over time? How fast will they lose their new shoe look? Would you really have to make frequent visits to the cobbler? Is the price of the shoe justified? Even if you’re able to overcome all these questions you’ve still got expensive shoes that you need to care for.
There are three things men are really attentive towards in their lives: their car, their shoes and their woman. Just like the other two things, your shoes need a little love and care as well.
Unlike your woman, your shoes don’t need expensive stuff to keep them happy. For shoes, a little goes a long way, there’s no need to buy overpriced ‘shoe care essentials’.
Clean it as you mean it
Just like your body, your shoes also need a frequent cleaning. To prevent settling of rigid and irremovable dust and grime, leather shoes should be brushed gently and regularly with a horsehair brush as any other kind will result in scratches. For shoes made with synthetic upper, fabric, or suede a gentle shoe brush would do. But you need to make sure you don’t get it wet as wet stains are difficult to remove from shoes with the upper made of cloth.
For proper maintenance of leather shoes (Because most expensive dress shoes for men are usually leather), cleaning them regularly is essential. I would advise you to clean your shoes with a damp microfiber cloth dipped in a mild leather shoe cleaning solution.
Now what people tend to do is, they neglect the attention your shoelaces need. How would you feel when you see someone with shiniest and classiest shoes with muddy and worn out laces? It probably won’t set well with you, would it? So if you feel that your laces require cleaning, remove them from the shoe and clean them separately with mild detergent and warm water.
Conditioning is not only for the hair
So you’ve cleaned your shoes. Now what? You’d want to dry them, i’d presume. Wet shoes lead to mold growth and giving away your 5-10k worth of shoes to fungus is not an economical option. Not only that, bacterial and fungal growth can lead to putrid, musty smell which could make your feet and socks smell just as bad as those shoes.
So what do you do after you’ve dried them off? Well like the title suggests, you’re going to condition them.
It’s probably easier if your shoes have a cloth upper, you don’t need conditioner for such shoes. For shoes with a synthetic, polyurethane (PU) or a leather upper you would surely need some conditioning if your want your shoe shine to last for decades. For proper conditioning, use a clean soft fibre cloth and a Oil for Leather Boots and rub it along the surface of the shoe. If you’ve got some remaining conditioner on the shoe surface, buff it out gently with a horsehair brush.
Let the polish shine through
You’ve done all that and you still think your shoes still don’t look as if you’ve just bought them. That’s because there’s a simple thing you forgot to do, Polishing.
Nowadays, shoe polish comes in a wide range of liquids, pastes and creams with a variety of colors. So deciding upon the right kind can become difficult. I would recommend you to make that choice based on the longevity, ease of application and availability of colors.
Imagine you’ve bought the polish but how’re you going to apply it?
Best way to apply shoe polish is to use your fingers or a horsehair brush to work a neutral leather polish across the leather and you can remove the excess by buffing it with the brush.
For leather shoes, if you wish for a high shine, it’s recommended to use wax paste instead of shoe cream or polish but It’s also important to remember that wax would dry out your shoes at a faster rate.
After you’ve polished/waxed, you can also protect your leather shoes from water by using water protection sprays.
Pro tip: You can always polish the heel and the toe of your shoes a second time after the first polish. Since these parts are most visible to the eye, they’ll make your shoe look good with the extra shine.