If you want to know about a man, look at his shoes (and his watch, but we already talked about that). A couple of things to note are the type of shoes a man is wearing, and the condition of the shoes. The devil is in the details, and the shoes tell a story and offer information, not all of it good.
It’s important to emphasize that I’m not concerned with the “cost” of one’s shoes, necessarily. I’m more impressed by a man in well-tended Florsheims than a man in neglected Ferragamos. It’s about the presentation.
Whether in Aldens or Jack Erwins, a man with conditioned and polished uppers and well-tended heels tells us that the wearer has self-respect, that he hasn’t lost hope and that he gives a damn.
When it comes to shoe care, I defer to a man named Kirby Allison, founder of The Hanger Project, specializing in clothing and shoe care.
In addition to selling some of the finest hangers and other garment care essentials you can buy, Kirby is an expert on shoe care. He has taken the time to produce extremely useful information – both in written word and on video – about how to take the best care of your shoes. From getting started to what products to use to cleaning and conditioning, his collection of videos on the fundamentals of shoe care is indispensable.
In addition to the fundamentals of good shoe care, Kirby also introduced me to Saphir, a French heritage brand of superlative shoe care products. There are wax polishes, creams, suede treatments… you name it. Saphir makes the best shoe care products you can find, hands down. My favorite product in their line is called Renovateur. It’s the Fountain of Youth for shoes. (Kirby, of course, sells Saphir and all the shoe care products you could ever need on his site.)