TGIF Gentlemen!!! I hope this post finds you happy and ready to tackle the last day of the work week and before heading off into a relaxing and enjoyable weekend!
This is a re-post from an earlier blog entry but because it is such an essential skill I wanted to share it again today.
Today’s blog comes courtesy of my friends at The Trunk Club. If you aren’t doing your clothes shopping through Trunk Club than you are doing it wrong. If you want a hook up let me know and I will put you in touch with Katelin my personal stylist. I do a good job dressing myself (ask my wife) but Katelin picks out some things I just wouldn’t think to even look at and it almost always looks amazing. Seriously, you need to check out Trunk Club.
One of the most important skills we can posses as men is how to shine shoes. Personally I am not great at it but I am learning to get better each time I sit down and shine em up! You don’t have to do it yourself but there will be at least one time you will be in a pinch and need to give them a polish yourself. Always good to know how to handle those kinds of situations.
It is actually easier than you might think. You can check out this one minute video for an easy DIY polish.
Until Monday, make it a better day!
Shining your shoes makes them shiny. That much we already know. But the benefits of hand-applied polish extend beyond mere looks. “It’s pretty similar to how we use moisturizer for our skin,” says Michael Barkin, senior director of sales at Trunk Club. “Shining your shoes hydrates the leather and keeps it from cracking.” Below Michael shows us how he keeps his shoes in tip-top shape, while also sharing his enthusiasm for professional shine stands.
Michael polishes his shoes every morning, though he concedes this is a bit obsessive. For the rest of us, Michael suggests a monthly shine, or just whenever you notice a dull spot. “If there’s a scuff, put a little polish on it and within 15 seconds it will be gone,” he says. In this video, Michael walks us through his routine, using a pair of lace-ups that are still going strong after 12 years (proof that frequent shining really does extend the longevity of footwear).
The Shoeshine Stand
In addition to monthly at-home upkeep, Michael also suggests regularly visiting a shoeshine stand. The luxury of having someone tend to your shoes also has practical benefits: Because you’re seated in a chair, the pro can get better leverage over your shoes than you can when polishing them yourself. Plus, if you’re at a stand in Chicago’s Loop, you just might find yourself in esteemed company.
Discussing his favorite stand, Beehive Shoeworks (35 N Wells St), Michael says, “What I’ve always loved about shoe stands is you can run into some amazing people. At Beehive, you have the heads of major banks sitting next to 25-year-olds. Those two groups of people would never interact outside of the shop.”
To get a firsthand dose of the stand experience, we visited Beehive and talked to the owner, Sam Shunnarah. Sam told us that the business opened in the 1950s and now serves 10,000 regular customers. He echoed Michael’s observation that these customers include everyone from undergraduates to former Chicago mayors.
Step one of Beehive’s process, which you should also incorporate into your at-home cleaning, is removing dirt and debris from the shoe’s surface. “The cleaning process allows the leather to breathe,” Sam says. “You want the pores to open up.” Then comes three coats of polish, starting with a brush application and ending with a deep rub. The final coat is spit-shined, an old-school method that enhances the shine and seals it. Once the shoe is brushed and buffed by hand, you’re good to go.
Sam notes that guys tend to leave the shop staring down at their feet. This rings true with Michael. “When you get a good shine,” Michael says, “you’re careful of how you walk because you don’t want to kick a curb. You go in with dinged-up shoes, and you come out looking really fresh.”
The best part of the whole experience? The price. It’s the best seven dollars a man can spend.
Pro tip: The shine stand in the American Airlines terminal at O’Hare is a favorite spot for Jason Smith, our VP of Merchandising. “It’s become a ritual, the start of a great trip,” Jason says of his visits to the stand. What about you? Leave a comment and let us know where your favorite stand is, or if you have any DIY tips to add to Michael’s.