ACCOUTREMENT PT.2 – SHINE ON
Photo by: Dave Delnea (cover).
Nothing brings a pair of kicks to life like a fresh shine. You can hit your trusted shoe shine kiosk and enjoy the daily newspaper as the professional skills of said shoe shiner goes about his or her business and adds a much needed luster to your footwear, or you can invest in a few products and do it all yourself. I actually balance between the two. I love sitting at home, my jars of polish and dubbin grease carefully placed on the hardwood floor, as the warmth of the fireplace coaxes them into workability. My old toothbrush awaits a thick layer of mink oil and as the 'wells' of my shoes get doused with its viscosity. I also love being out and about during the day and relaxing for a few minutes while the lotions and tinctures are applied to my shoes by the hands of a pro. As my boy Craig says, "Six of one, half a dozen of the other!"
The tools of the trade: a boar hair bristled brush (like the one pictured in the inset by Izola available at The Lastest Scoop); a shining cloth; your choice of mink oil/dubbin grease; a tin of clear/black/brown polish and an old toothbrush. I will leave it up to your personal taste to procure the brands you deem worthy. Step one, wipe away the surface dirt. Step two, apply the necessary topical solution. I have a range of shoes that vary in types of leather. Some look best with a sheen, others with a matte finish. The overall point is to protect your kicks against the elements. To quote Dres from Black Sheep, "But then again, the choice is yours." Step three, in small circular motions, apply the solution with the clothe, although I prefer to do it by hand and, allow it to sink into the leather for a few minutes, again preferably near a heat source. Dip your toothbrush in the solution and brush onto the threads that attach the sole to the upper of the shoe. This will make it a thousand times easier for your cobbler to replace the sole when the time comes; the name of the game is suppleness. Step four, if you want to spit on your shoes and go old school, be my guest. Just make sure to give one more round of small circular strokes before grabbing your handy shining clothe and 'evening' out the solution. Step five is the easiest but the most important. Take your boar hair bristled brush and, in an arcing motion, brush across the toes to the heels, apply some pressure but no need to dig in. One more buff with the clothe and you will be appreciative of the fact you can see your reflection in the gleaming mirror of your shoes.