How to look after your shoes – a Q&A with Shoe Shine NI

polisher standing at the desk with a boot and rag in his hands

With the right care and attention, you can bring your shoes back to life.
Image source: Thinkstock.

Tender loving care is the key to making sure your footwear lasts. After spending all that money on your wonderful shoes, the last thing you’ll want is for them to not last as long as they should. With the proper care and attention, your brogues and oxfords will stand the time.

We spoke to John from Shoe Shine Northern Ireland to find out how you can take the best care of your shoes.

Tell us a bit about you!

I’m from Northern Ireland, 39 years old and have been in menswear for 22 years. I’m very passionate about all things menswear and footwear! I set up SSNI in July 2016 after admiring the skill, artistry and professionalism of various shoe shine companies in London. After asking advice from those businesses and undergoing some training, Shoe Shine NI was born.

What are the benefits of getting your shoes polished?

Regular shoe maintenance and polishing increases the life of the shoes, preserves the leather from the elements, maintains colour and obviously improves the overall look of an outfit. There’s nothing worse than a great ensemble ruined by scruffy dirty shoes!

How often should you get your leather shoes shined?

Shoes should be given a proper clean and polishing once a month. However this will vary depending on how much they are worn. On that note, a man should own enough shoes that he should never have the need to wear the same pair of shoes more than once a week…

This will massively prolong the life of the shoes.

What are your top tips for getting the most out of leather shoes?

Shoe trees are a great addition; these assist with shaping your shoes and helping with creasing.

Allow shoes to dry naturally – treat them with the right conditioner, polish and wax. Oliver Sweeney’s head cobbler said “We need to think of leather like skin, if you don’t do anything with it, it dries out.” Also, Sole Guard by Saphir is especially effective for leather soles.

Shoe shining tools

Some very important tools!
Image source: shoeshineni.

What are your tips for looking after suede?

I recommend a protector spray upon purchasing. Allow dirt to dry naturally then brush off using a suede brush. For home remedies, a pencil eraser can be used on stains but my main advice would be to leave it to the professionals for all suede work.

What’s the best way to look after Goodyear welted shoes?

Goodyear soles are designed to be repaired. As soon as the sole shows signs of wear, going soft or a hole has occurred, get them repaired asap.

How can someone get rid of scuffs or marks in leather?

Personally, I have found that a few layers of polish will repair and cover most scratches and scuffs in leather. For those marks that go a little deeper, I use Saphir Renovating Repair Cream. This fills in the cracks, and restores the surface.

What should someone do if their shoes are wet?

The old story of stuffing with newspaper is still effective. Allow the shoes to dry naturally – never place near a radiator or artificial heat! Once they are dry use shoe trees to reshape the leather.

What are your best tips for polishing?

My best polishing tips are as follows:

  • Brush off any excess dirt and dust.
  • Condition shoes with a high grade conditioner.
  • Polish with a cream polish.
  • Increase shine with a wax polish.
  • Use a clean cotton cloth to apply polishes.
  • Always use horse hair brushes.

These handy tips will ensure that your shoes last you for many years to come! If you have any questions you’d like to ask John, you can find Shoe Shine NI on Facebook and Instagram.

Have you got any top tips for shoe care? Tell us about it on our Facebook page!

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Posted in Men's shoes.