Myth: New shoes don’t need to be shined. Shoes only need to be shined when they start to look worn.
Fact: If you’ve made an investment in a pair of shoes that you love and want to last, there are several reasons why it is important to get them shined before you first wear them.
Leather is skin that can no longer produce its own oils to stay supple, so it will naturally become dry over time. Much of the damage that occurs to leather – tears, cracks, gouges, scuffs, stains, water damage, and color fading/loss – can be directly attributed to or aggravated by dryness. Since new shoes have often been sitting in the box waiting for to you purchase them, they are likely to be in need of conditioning, regardless of how good they look. A proper shine will include an initial round of conditioning with some type of leather balm. This, coupled with the oils in a quality polish, will provide the essential moisture leather shoes need to fortify them against the hazards of wear. A final benefit of moisturizing leather is that it helps stiff new shoes break in more readily, and who doesn’t want that?
In addition to giving leather shoes vital conditioning, several layers of skillfully applied, high quality polish puts a protectant barrier between the surface finish of the shoes and the elements. Crucial for hand-painted and ‘antiqued’ patinas, polishing helps finishes to “adhere” to the leather and to resist rubbing off or fading, keeping those sought after artisan finishes safely on the shoes the same way in which it keeps unwanted damage out.
The initial shine is without a doubt the most important, as it is the foundation upon which all proceeding shoe care will be built. Last but not least, the maiden shine will make new shoes look even better than new!