It’s interesting how we come to appreciate things over time.
When I was young my dad loved harping on about luxury products like Hasselblad cameras, Maserati cars and Church’s shoes. Unfortunately his passion was lost on an eight year old whose sole focus was deconstructing his Rubik’s cube.
Today it’s a different story and I now fully appreciate what he was trying to tell me i.e. I will never be able to afford a Hasselblad or a Maserati. The Church’s, on the other hand, are a tad more attainable and a worthy investment for every man’s wardrobe, particularly if you’re getting hitched.
There are few things finer than a hand crafted pair of shoes, and on your wedding day your suit deserves to be paired with nothing less. Ideally your wedding budget would allow you to indulge in a pair of Church’s, John Lobb’s, or Gucci’s to complement your other half’s Louboutins or Jimmy Choos.
But if that’s wishful thinking and you find your share only gets you as far as a new pair of laces for your work shoes, don’t despair.
You see, whilst our darling ladies are always in need of a new pair of shoes, guys have a gem of an opportunity that is often overlooked: the privilege of polishing their shoes.
I know that sounds nuts but think about it: leather improves with age and it develops character not just for itself but also the person wearing it. But unlike leather sofas which are best enjoyed battered and cracked, leather shoes perform best when they are nourished and loved.
Clearly hand made shoes are designed to last longer than a pair from the high street, but any shoes can look fantastic if they’re properly maintained (including the use of shoe trees and shoe horns). So if your shoes currently look as if you just ran the City 2 Surf in them and then went for a celebratory swim, realise that the job of restoring them is just like restoring a vintage car; you know how amazing the end product will be, it’s just a case of putting in a bit of elbow grease and TLC to get you there. But that in itself is the joyful experience of polishing your shoes. There’s something deeply satisfying and therapeutic about methodically taking off the dirt, wiping the down the surface, then applying the wax and gradually buffing back the shine. And there’s no need to rush either. Just turn the cricket on and relax while you finesse your technique.
In this age of disposable fashion it’s comforting to have a pair of leather shoes that you know you’ll grow old with and appreciate, and in return they’ll be as faithful as the most loyal golden retriever.
So what is the best way to polish your shoes? Well there’s no disputing that every man and his, er, golden retriever has their own secret method, so to make sure your shoes are impeccably presented you need a true artisan of the craft. Enter Mr Justin Fitzpatrick from the world famous Gieves & Hawkes on London’s Saville Row with his six steps to achieving a truly astonishing high gloss shine.
And because even watching someone else polish shoes is therapeutic, here’s a cool clip from Red Wing Shoes, a company with a century-old heritage of creating fine work boots.
About Milton Gan Photography: Milton Gan combines his artistic flair, eye for detail, and passions for love, style and elegance to create a finely crafted photographic experience for each and every one of his clients.
Milton writes regularly for Polka Dot Groom as well as being a ridiculously talented wedding photographer. You can read his previous posts here.