Day 6: Shine Your Shoes

This post is part of the 21 Days to a Manlier Green series

Every man needs to own a few pairs of nice leather shoes. You would be pretty well off with a pair of black dress shoes, brown dress shoes, and a sturdy pair of leather boots. You want shoes that are both classically styled and rugged – much like yourself.

Just as you take care of yourself, taking care of your shoes and will ensure that they see many more miles. Today, shine your shoes.

shine your shoes

Consumerism and the Three R’s

Reduce, reuse, recycle – the three R’s. While the first on the list, reduce is often overlooked. We all know we should be recycling. If possible, we should reuse or repurpose goods, yet there comes a point where you can’t find anymore uses for reused containers. By reducing, you stop waste at the source.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a bit of a consumer. I own a lot of tech toys and I like buying new things. I have to watch myself though and make sure I am buying things that make my life better, rather than add to the clutter.

Yet, there is a way that I can reduce my environmental impact and still be a consumer. How? Buying quality items and taking care of them, which leads to less overall consumption.

Quality Over Quantity

My friend Teresa’s mother provided her with these words of wisdom growing up: “Never buy cheap shoes.” I completely agree with these wise words.

As I’ve matured, I’ve grown to seek out quality over quantity. Quality is going to get you noticed.

Quality goods are also more durable. Why would you want to routinely spend money over and over again to replace a worn out item when you could have purchased a quality durable good that would last, saving you money in the long-run.

Take Care

shine your shoes - the manly green
I purchased these shoes on the side of the road in a small village in Burkina Faso

I’ve owned one pair of black dress shoes for the past 11 years and they have been worn countless times. I’ve managed to wear through the soles of the shoes twice, where I then take them to a cobbler to add new soles and tighten up broken stitches.

In that same time, I could have just worn out my shoes and then purchased new shoes instead of having them repaired. Repairing my shoes, however, was much cheaper.

In addition to having my shoes repaired by a professional, I regularly shine my shoes. You can tell a lot about a person by looking at their shoes. I feel that a man’s shoes are a reflection of his life – clean and tidy or messy and disheveled.

Shining your shoes is a great manly afternoon activity. I think that the smell of shoe polish is a manly scent… but it can also contain toxic chemicals so don’t go huffing shoe polish and also use shoe polish in a well-ventilated area.

How to Shine Your Shoes

In the modern-day, we have forgotten how to do a lot of the things our grandfathers once did on a regular basis – like shaving with a straight or safety razor. Shine your shoes is a relaxing activity that you can easily do to unwind in the evening. The next morning, you’ll wake up to a shiny pair of shoes and you’ll be ready to conquer the day.

Shining your shoes is easy. Here’s how:

  1. Gather your materials:
    • You’ll want shoe polish to match the color of your shoes
    • A rag or newspaper to cover the area
    • A horsehair cleaning brush or a damp rag if your shoes are extra dirty
    • A cloth or applicator brush to apply shoe polish
    • A brush to buff your shoes (you can also use the horsehair brush here)
    • Optional: slightly damp cotton balls
  2. Clean the dust and dirt from your shoes. If you’ve really mistreated your shoes, you may want to give them a good cleaning and then allow them to dry before moving on to step three.
  3. Evenly apply a coat of shoe polish over your shoe, working the shoe polish in a circular motion.
  4. Polish your shoes to shine, removing excess shoe polish to leave just a thin protective layer
  5. Optional: Using a slightly damp cotton ball, take a very small amount of shoe polish to shine the toe and heel to an extra glossy shine.

how to shine your shoes



Do you regularly shine your shoes? Let me know below and please share this post.