A Gentleman’s shoes should always be polished to a high gloss shine. A man’s shoes, not his eyes, are the window to the soul.
The ultimate high gloss shine for your shoes is best acquired with premium Vodka and Saphir Medaille D’Or polish from France. It is made of the finest natural oils, turpentine and beeswax. Their polish also has a higher concentration of pigment for much better color. I know Berluti uses Champagne to polish in their Swann club, but vodka works much better. It has the perfect concentration of alcohol to bring out the wax shine. Bond was right vodka is best, shaken not stirred of course.
Drinking a martini and polishing ones shoes provides much greater enjoyment than would be expected. There is something about a good cigar if you wish and a very dry martini that makes the act of leisurely polishing a good pair of shoes, a sublime and savored endevour.
I do my best to set aside a little time each week for this pleasure, along with a few good hot, wet, double edge shaves. This personal alone time really can help to sooth the savage beast in our all too hectic lives.
Some of the most beautiful polishing I have seen, Justin Fitzpatrick The Shoe Snob, does from his stand at Gieves and Hawks, Number One Savile Row in London. Sadly for us but wonderfully for him, he has launched a beautiful new line of shoes and is now an entrepreneur. I have followed him for years and am so glad to see him achieve his dream through hard work and tenacity, well done Justin and good luck.
If you find your self in Hong Kong, Ethan at The Armoury does beautiful polishing on his shoes as well but prefers to drink bourbon I believe. If you are very lucky maybe he will have time to polish a pair with you and have a whiskey. Their shop is amazing and Ethan has excellent taste. A gentleman would be wise to learn from him in all maters sartorial. If you’re not in the far east check out his blog at ethandesu.com he is an amazing photographer.
A great place to acquire the necessary supplies and knowledge to shine ones shoes well is Kirby Allison’s the Hanger Project. His shop has a plethora of fine accoutrements for the discerning gentleman. For more detailed instructions on the art of the high gloss shine see the instructions from the excellent shoe brand Saint Crispin’s.
There is something special about shining your own shoes. It just makes you feel good when you get it right. It gives time to think and a small feeling of old fashioned accomplishment with ones own hands. The smell of the turpentine, cedar and leather takes me to another place long ago, with my Dad. Give it a try, its a great part of a Gentleman’s life, Medlock Fixley Style.