Monday, February 26, 2007

How To Shine A Shoe

I'm not talking about sucking up to your boss or apple polishing someone's arse.

It was Huzir Sulaiman's article in yesterday's paper that got me this excited.

Nothing less than leather, that's a proper shoe!

I totally agree with him with what he says (but not with what he bought to keep his pairs shiny, too expensive la!).

My humble opinion is that Kiwi or just about any reputable shoe polish paste/wax will work wonderfully if the correct steps and technique are used.

And it's true, nothing is a bigger turn off than a man with nice clothes but dirty unkept shoes!

By the way, those quick shine liquid doesn't count! Those are just plain lazy way to keep your shoe shiny!

So, armed with years of training and a habitual need to keep my shoes it is, how you could turn your pairs into a showpiece and in return, walk with pride with every step you take!

A toothbrush, shoe wax/polish and a piece of used cotton t

In Huzir's article, he uses products which i can't even pronounce their names (and therefore, expensive). But nevermind, a can of Kiwi or in this case, Pacico Guard would work. Back in my days in RMC, we were given Day & Martin shoe polish, which we do not use except to blacken the ledges of the staircases and the ledges of our room's louvers. As this was given as standard issue, we also uses this to blacken the base of our boots and shoes. And believe me when i say this, a blackened sole dos not pick up dirt as easily and it ensure that we do clean our shoes, which would be laid out properly under the bed. Any dirty unpolished shoes would earn them a wing. That is, being thrown out or your room down to the lower floor (depending on which floor you are staying) by the seniors or officers that come inspect our room for cleaniness.

A tip to remember, to polish shoe, always buy smaller can of wax as cried up wax serves no purpose!

the new Day & Martin, i still have the original canister with HAK KERAJAAN MALAYSIA printed on it

I'll show how it's done on my pair of Wingtip shoe. Also fondly known as Officers' Shoe back in RMC. Wingtip is the proper executive shoe a man should wear to work, assuming that they are at the executive level or higher.

Dirty Wingtip with faded shine. Ugly!

Dirty Sole!!! Also a No No!

The first step in polishing the shoe is to make sure the ledges of the shoe are properly cleaned. This would involve you cleaning it with a toothbrush. Then, dab some wax with the toothbrush and brush it along the ledges.

A lot of men neglected this, as they uses the liquid silicon based polish that does nothing!

Do the same for the sole of the shoe, carefully ensuring the whole sole is covered with thin layer of wax, this would also ensure all dirt on the sole be brushed off and clean.

I swear i had Micheal Bolton's Soul Provider playing in my head as i was doing this.

When that is done, you are ready for step two.

With your bare finger, dab a liltle bit of wax on your index. You can use cloth if you want, but the results will be different. And real men uses their bare hand anyway...

Don't worry, you can wash them off, and they smell nice!

Now, with your index finger lightly covered with the wax, apply, in circular motion, firmly, but not too firm, the wax onto the leather. do this until the surface is covered with wax.

A tip is to do this portion by portion, start with the toe cap first. Apply a single layer, then dab your hand into the wax and apply anohter layer. Keep doing this until you have nicely layered the leather shoe.

Becareful not to take any shortcut by taking a big portion and smearing it on the leather. You will only cake up the surface and the layer will break the moment it dries. Do this with patiences and love.

This pair of wingtip has 1 can of wax layered on it before i attempted to even polish it proper.. So, imagine the amount of time spent. And the results will speak for itself.

Layer it and keep layering! This is the secret!

and i meant the whole shoe!!!

including the heels and the side of the sole!!!

Don't believe that the rubber covered heel could be polished? you will be surprised!

There is no short cut here and the process will take you longer than you read this article.

Properly layered toe cap

Do it both diligently and lovingly to both side of the shoes and then put it aside to let the wax seeps into the leather.

becareful not to leave it in direct sun as it would melt the wax and you will have uneven layer!

After 10 minutes or less, you can start step three. Polishing the shoe.

First, pour some water onto the cover of the wax can.

a bit enough liao...

Water works as natural lubricant here in this waxing process. So, this is essential. And no, using Evian will not give your shoe a deeper shine. You might recall Huzir saying that his dad use the spit-on-shoe technique...well, this water option is definately cleaner, no?

Then, wrap your index finger tightly (but not too tight that it restrict blood flow) and ensure the cloth is wrapped smoothly without any creases like the pic below.

Mr. Finger

Then, dab your cloth covered finger into the water.

Not too wet...just a lil...

Then, just as how you would layer the shoe with wax, do the same this time with the damp cloth. apply firmly, but not too firm. This is when things will get interesting!

Same circular motion as layering...not that hard, isn't it?

Keep doing this portion by portion and instead of using just water the second time around, dab your finger into the wax slightly and use the damp cloth now dabbed with wax to polish the shoe.

Water-Wax-Water-Wax keep going in circular motion.

Change the portion of the cloth with a clean dry part and repeat the process until you get the deep glossy shine out. This is where perfect layering will help. If you took a short cut and layered it too fast and too thick, this is when the wax will cake off and you will end up smearing the whole surface. When that happen, there is nothing you can do but to put the shoe out under the shade where the heat of the sun would melt it and you will have to layer the shoe, all over again! So, do it once and do it right!

sorry, can't resist tempatition to cam whore

Repeat on both the shoes and all parts until you are happy with the results.

As you were polishing the shoe, try this step which i never fail to use. I will open my mouth and gently blow warm air onto the surface of the leather. This will cause condensation on the surface and the slight heat treatment and the evenly distributed water(or saliva) will enhance the shine.

No, that's not my middle finger and i'm not about to eat my shoe

Don't forget the rubber covered heels and side of the sole as well! They deserves a good polishing too!

Heels don't lie...

Now, isn't that easy? Take a look at my before and after pic.

Before - faded and dusty

After - Gawd, can you see me making the PEACE sign?

How, just how deep is the shine? I placed the shoe under my table, which is dark and the nicely polished surface catches the warm white light, right under the table!

No, i do not have any female colleague

OK. Now, it's "show off the shine" time!

The side and heel, my thumbs up sign clearly seen in the shoe's reflection

You can tell what colour shirt i'm wearing even!

see, i wasn't joking when i say you can see the colour of my shirt!!! That's how deep the shine is!

Walk with Pride!

And stand tall!


There is an updated post here with photos.

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