So, two things recently came up that I thought that I would share with all of you. The first being a few questions that the average person whom is not yet a shoe geek might have in regards to shoe shining and the latter being an inspirational story. The pictures in this case are all unrelated but just so you how amazing Saint Crispins shoes are!!
1. READER: Thanks again for your original post and your extensive responses to comments – truly a privilege to be able to get expert advice for free!
Whilst your instructions are all that I need for the ‘how’ to polish side of things, but for a shoe newbie like myself I need a bit more help on the ‘tools of the trade’ side in terms of what equipment I need. So if you don’t mind, here are a few questions to pick your brain a bit more to complete this ‘Shoe Shine 101’ course. I hope other people would find this useful too!
– ME: Glad to help where I can my friend, as I too was once a guy with answers and needing someone to look to. It is my pleasure to try and be that guy for all of you…as per your questions, here you go:
– are horse hair brushes much better than normal brushes? Just curious how important a ‘quality’ brush actually is in terms of shoe care.
-Good question in reality…I have always just assumed horsehair was best as this is what I believe to be ‘common knowledge’, whether it really is or not I can’t really say for sure…I don’t really use a brush to get a shine so for me it’s not really that crucial to my “shine” process. So long as the bristles are not too soft and bring out a glow from a bit of brushing, that is what matters to me…
– I’ve heard that Saphir polishes are ‘best-in-class’, but in what way are they better than more average brands like Kiwi? (saw in your pic that you used them too) Wanted to know whether there is any actual benefit for the price premium.
-I don’t actually use them, I use my own branded wax, which is similar. The difference is in the quality of the ingredients, which therefore results in the quality and easiness of your shine, as well as the effects it has to your leather. You see, polish in reality is a product of chemicals, and the higher grade of polish, the less chemicals involved and a bit more natural ingredients used, like beeswax. That is not to say that the high grade stuff is all-natural, just less harmful to your leather…… If you own cheap shoes then the expensive polish to me is not necessary. If you wear expensive shoes then it is. If you owned a Ferrari, would you buy the car wax at your local convenience store or the top grade stuff from the Ferrari dealership?
– Do wax polishes and non-wax polishes(are they referred to as ‘creams’?) do broadly the same thing, w/ exception that wax gives a better ‘shiny’ appearance?
– No, wax polish provides shine and protection, cream polish provides color, paste does both but not as well as either of the other two do in their respective use
– Presume that silicone as an ingredient in shoe polish is bad for the leather?
– precisely! It blocks the pores of the leather which does not allow it to then breath, which will dry it out and make it crack….
– are ‘leather conditioners’ bad for shoes? What do they do and are they necessary? Seems like just polishing shoes regularly is sufficient to care for shoes?
– Definitely not, they are absolutely necessary! Polish in actuality is something that if used excessively without conditioning will dry out your leather and cause it to crack. Remember that leather is a skin, just like yours and does not have a body to heal it, and therefore needs nourishment, which is precisely what conditioner (like mink oil) does.
– What do the mink oil ‘renovators’ do? Do they help keep the leather from cracking, or is that what a ‘leather conditioner’ does?
-Many thanks in advance for your guidance.
-Not a problem, and I hope that this has helped others that too had these questions!
The second thing was an email that a reader wrote to me that was very touching and made me very happy as it was just the type of thing that I hoped for invoke when sharing my journey in the world of footwear. Here it is: