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Why we shine our shoes
At the Gents Place, we'll admit, we love a good shoe shine. Whether it's in the airport on the way to or from a trip, or whether it's in one of our locations, when you can sit up in the chair and get an old-fashioned shine and chat with someone friendly, there's a link to the past, and an appreciation of the craft of making shoes and taking care of them. But we don't always have these resources around, and we'll need to shine our shoes ourselves. But why do we?
Reason #1: Practicality
Leather is a skin. But, unlike our skin, which is attached to a living body and hence has a number of elements to help it stay healthy, a leather shoe is disembodied. It can't be nourished or "kept healthy." That's where you, the owner of the shoe, has to come in. Whether you use a basic solid or cream polish, or go "all the way" and use a conditioner before you shine and a wax after, you are supplying the necessary moisture and care necessary for the shoe to survive - and shoes that are well cared-for will last a long time, saving you money and giving you the unparalleled comfort of an old shoe.
Reason #2: Style
Could you imagine a gent all dressed up with great threads, but with unshined shoes? It shows a lack of attention to detail and carelessness. As we alluded to above, not everyone has access to those who can do great shoe shines for them, so often you may have to shine shoes yourself. Yes, you can spend hours shining shoes (ask any of your friends who have ever been to military basic training about that) but a decent and serviceable shine can be put on your shoes in a manner of minutes.
Reason #3: Connectedness
We've spoken before about the benefits of mindfulness, and a few moments shining your shoes gives you a chance to be grateful and appreciative. We can be thankful to have shoes - much less ones that need to be polished - in a world in which so many people don't have shoes. We can think about the men before us - in war and peace - that took the time to shine their shoes because they took pride in their appearance. And we can just be glad to have a moment in which both of our hands are occupied, thereby preventing us from checking our smartphones for once. We can be in the moment, focusing on keeping a personal possession in good working order, and enjoying it. That's a simple pleasure anyone can partake in.
We may get into the hows of shoe shining in a future article, but if you're anxious to get started, you'll enjoy this video featuring an excellent shine man on London's Savile Row.
Did you know we offer drop-off services for shoe shines at our locations? Comment below to receive a coupon for 25% off any of our shine services.
About Ben Davis
A serial entrepreneur, Ben Davis is founder of The Gents Place and a leading investor in gentlemen's refinement and confidence.
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This article is a guest post by Randall Hanauer. He runs family-owned R. Hanauer Bow Ties, founded by his father.
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