If the Shoe Fits
A Quick Guide to Basic Shoe Care Etiquette
Unless you’re perpetually groomed and dressed to impress, first impressions can easily go awry. If you regularly read Of Rogues and Gentlemen, hopefully you have the basics down. Or the editors have a lot of drinking to do.
One foolproof way to always look sharp is having ship-shape footwear. A well-polished, and taken care of, shoe is something to behold. By preemptively taking action and regularly maintaining your footwear, it’s providing insurance for a situation that could easily start off on the wrong foot.
Because we, at ORG, are on your side (even if fate is not), we’ve provided a quick guide on shoe shining and repair etiquette to prepare you for any event.
The Shoe Shine
In urban areas, such as NYC, shoe shiners are a dime a dozen, predominantly in areas with heavy foot traffic (think Grand Central). A shine runs about $3 to $4 and it’s customary to tip $1 to $2, depending on how benevolent you’re feeling that day. It’s like a barber shop, in that you can carry on a friendly conversation, however you won’t offend if you use the quiet time to catch up on email. If you live in a suburban area without the convenience of street-side shiners, you’ll drop off your shoes and return later to a freshly polished pair. A 2-3 day turnaround is common.
Having shoe shiners at your convenience doesn’t mean you’re too inept to do the job yourself. All you need is a tin of shoe polish, an old rag and a bit of elbow grease (or scotch depending on the number of shoes that need polishing). A cobbler is only necessary if you’re working against the clock.
Are the soles worn down? Do the heels need replacing? Don’t immediately replace that beloved pair that has gotten you through many a long day (unless the leather is cracked, then, sadly, they’re doomed).
Mending your shoes is considerably less expensive than replacing them. And you won’t have to go through the pain of breaking them in a new pair. The leather has already molded to your feet like an old friend, so don’t jump ship yet.
Replacing a sole and heel will likely run you $75, with a turnaround of a week. You should do this about every two years, depending on how often you wear the shoes and the amount of abuse they take. It’s customary to tip 10%, as an appreciation for his craft.
When all is said and done gentlemen, keep your shoes looking dandy, as they’re one of the first things women notice about a man.
And mark our words, they will judge you for it.
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