Shoe Care might actually be the biggest and most popular subject in the shoe industry. Back when I used to post a lot more about it, as I was a ‘professional’ shoe shiner in London, the vast majority of my emails were about polishing one’s shoes and how to either do it well or how to reverse things that had gone wrong. In fact, I got so many emails on the subject that I simply couldn’t keep up with them all. Also because this was the time that no one was using YouTube like they are now, none of this Shoe Care/Patina/Shiner industry that we have today really existed. There was a few of us in London and some good ones in Japan. Now the Shoe Care scene has exploded and you can go and find 20 million videos on YouTube about it. The problem is how do you know which one to actually follow and take advice from? Going through the vast amounts of tutorials and deciphering which one is best is not easy so I thought that I would share my take on who I think is worth watching.
Preston Soto (shown above), of The Elegant Oxford, for me, has done the best job at creating a solid channel of well made, explained and executed shoe care videos. He takes you through it all very carefully showing you what you need and how to use what you need to get the job done. His results are outstanding and deserve recognition to say the least.
His shoes of choice apparently are Allen Edmonds. Not my favorites, being the often subpar leather they are using, but in doing so gives a one up to Preston for being able to achieve the shines that he does on them. I hope that soon, he will be able to incorporate more shoemakers into the videos, but that might depend on all of you and brands that want to send him stuff. His latest shows an immaculate shine on a pair of G&G’s, as shown below
His shoe care product of choice is Saphir, which is a smart choice being the leaders of the industry. If you have not yet heard of them, I suggest you educate yourself a bit on their product range as they are often regarded as the best in the market, which clearly shows with his results.
It would appear that recently he has upped his game by not only offering a service of shoe care options, like shoe shine and patina, but also adding Toe Taps now as a service offered, which I think is great. Please read my post HERE on why toe taps are important. I love to see that lately more and more cobblers and shoe care professionals are starting to offer toe taps. It is an important component of shoe care that adds far more benefit than imagined.
So, if you are going to seek answers in shoe care, do the due diligence of watching his videos and learning the tips and tricks shown. Then practice them. And if you cannot figure it out after several attempts of trial and error, then I would contact him. But remember, all of us that know shoe shining learned by trial & error and ultimately A LOT of practice. Asking someone only gives you a theory. Practicing it gives you a reality to learn from.