Shoe Shining is Here to Stay

Published on 29th February 2008

Did you know that one of the first things both men and women notice about you are your shoes? From the first impression relayed by your facial look, the focus shifts down to the shoes before conclusions are made. A lady friend once told me that ladies rate the strength of a man’s wallet by the kind of shoes he wears. How true her statement is, remains a matter of debate. The dynamism that surrounds fashion and expression has necessitated that the shoes and how much shine they have be put in the spotlight.

With the invention of foot covering, came the invention of shoe polish. Polish was used to soften and waterproof (coarse and tough ) leather. It was not meant to impart shine. But as new shoe designs and dressing modes began to trickle in at the beginning of the 20th century, a high glossy finish became important, particularly on shoes and boots used by soldiers in World War I and II.

The discipline surrounding the military and other armed forces demanded that one’s boots retain the sparkle regardless of the conditions. Whether one had been walking through dusty terrain or muddy areas, the state of his or her shoes should be maintained as a symbol of discipline. Although this was a military affair, it eventually found its way into the business environment and has not changed ever since.

Each time one prepares to attend a business meeting or go to work, they always pay attention to the shine on the shoe. They will even leave home in dusty shoes and have them polished on the street at a fee just to be sure that the sparkle does not fade off before the hour of reckoning. The shoepolish and brush have found their way to the receptionist's desk-thanks to the army.

Besides its appealing glossy finish, shoe polishing preserves the workmanship and quality of shoes by moisturizing the leather and adding years to its life. If left untreated, leathers dry, crack, and fall apart. It is therefore necessary to clean and polish shoes as often as they are worn. If shoes are worn seldom, clean once per month and polish and shine only as needed.

In some parts of the world where dusty walkways are part of everyday life, experience reveals that dust on polished shoes differs from dust on unpolished shoes. In essence, the kinds of paths you walk through do not acquit you from the rule of the game – polished shoes.

Business dictates that  people who ignore minor details such as upholding a disciplined look, stand to be doubted in their seriousness in any deal. Do you remember the time your company lost that very crucial deal? Consult your memory. May be, the state of your shoes were to blame.

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