The title of this blog post has two meanings today – firstly I’m going to be chatting about polishing shoes and preserving your leather goods and, secondly, it really is your time to shine, because I’m asking you, my lovely blog reader, to send me a photo of your favourite shoes! I’m hoping to compile a blog post featuring all of your best shoes and I’ll happily link back to you if you have a blog too – so please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.
But in the meantime – on to the subject at hand… Polish. Do we need it? How much does it help with protecting our shoes? Is it just for boots or can you use it on handbags too? Do new shoes need polishing before wearing? To buff or not to buff, that is the question.
I’ve just bought this new pair of ankle boots from Clarks along with a pair of knee high boot in the sale and, as an investment buy, I want to keep them looking as lovely as I can for as long as possible. We’ve all been stood at the till in a shoe shop when the shop assistant asks us if we need polish or protector for our shoes. Do we? ermm… my answer is honestly I don’t know… I mean, I don’t usually need to buy any at the checkout anyway because I’m sure I have a tin full of polishing goodies at home. But do I need to polish them up at all? For a girl who is rather pushed-for-time anyway, I’m not sure I can fit a polishing session into my busy schedule!
So when I came home with my goodies yesterday, the first thing I did was start researching the importance of polishing leather boots and the resounding answer was YES you do need to polish your shoes. Okay, I kind of knew this already and have brought many a pair of boots back from the brink of destruction with a bucket-load of polish and a good buff with a brush. I’ve even discussed the benefits of reheeling a pair of my favourite dancing shoes here on the blog, so I know it’s important to look after your leathers.
But what about polishing before you wear them? This is more of a grey area. Some people say not to bother and just carry on with a regular polishing routine after wearing. But industry professionals, including shoe manufacturers and shop owners, tell us that it is a good idea to give your shoes a polish even before you step outside in them. I used to be under the impression that polishing shoes was something you did when they had got so dirty that you could barely make out what shoe colour was there beneath the mud..! My boots were an absolute bargain buy from the children’s section (I’ve mentioned buying from the kids department in the past in my article the cheapest way to buy shoes ) and are so on trend right now – I saw loads of these tan ankle brogues on the feet of fashionistas at London Fashion Weekend and immediately coveted them. I was so lucky when I found these cute ‘Erica Alice’ boots in the online sale on Clarks.co.uk and I was even happier when I realised that I could order them to be delivered to my local store so that I could try them on before even spending a penny on them – and no obligation to buy them – I’m definitely going to be using this service again! I ordered them in two sizes 4 and 4.5 so that I could be sure to get the best possible fit and I tried them on in the comfort of the plush Clarks store before making my decision.
Although they already look lovely and shiny, and although I was super-eager to put them on my feet immediately, I wanted to make sure that this pale-coloured leather stayed as gorgeous as possible, so should I polish them before wearing? Specialists say that adding a thin layer of polish to newly bought boots will certainly do them no harm and can even help to protect them as you step out in them for the first time. For example, a polished boot might get a scuff on them, but this can usually be buffed out as it will have only affected the top layer – which is technically the polish layer.
If a non-polished boot gets scuffed, the mark will be directly on the leather and will be harder to get rid of. I found this out actually during the polishing process, when my nail scuffed on the toe of the boot. Luckily, it had already been polished and a quick buff removed the white scuff straight away and my boot look liked new again. I also found out that when new boots reach the store after the manufacturing process, it is unlikely that they have been polished up for sale, so adding your own layer of protection won’t hurt and could save you a lot of heartache when you bump into something while wearing them. So add a thin layer of polish to your boots in a circular motion using a lint-free cloth (I used an old sock with holes in!) then give them a brush all over with a shoe brush (which I’m pretty sure you can pick up in a pound shop) and a final buff with the cloth to bring up the shine. Obviously, polish isn’t a wonder-product – it’s been around for years – and a layer of polish won’t stop you scratching or scraping your boots while you’re out and about, so you still need to tread carefully, but taking care of your shoes when you get home will pay off over the years as your shoes continue to shine with all the loving treatment you’re giving them.
Think of it as protecting your skin with a SPF when you go out into the sun and then moisturising your face at the end of the day to keep it supple – both of which are going to keep your skin looking all the more lovely over the years and it is the same with polishing shoes – you are both protecting and nourishing with a quick buff up. And in this era of throwaway fashion, surely it’s better to invest in one gorgeous pair of real leather boots and keep them clean and protected so that you can be sure that your comfortable boots last as long as possible and don’t end up broken and split, clogging up our landfill sites? It must be better for the environment and for your purse to spend 79p on a tin of polish (like I did yesterday!) and keep your shoes looking pretty for years to come!
And lastly, a reminder that I’d like you send me a snap of your footwear favourites so that I can share them in a future Tuesday Shoesday blog post – email me to let me know why they are your best boots or hottest heels and I’ll happily link back to your blog too. I’ve got a fab pair of Clarks Moody Jazz boots that are my new favourites and I’ll definitely be sharing them in a future blog post along with all your lovely footwear favourites! My email address is email@example.com so send over your photos and I can’t wait to see your special shoes! 🙂
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