Shining shoes – The tricks of the trade

Have you ever heard the italian term Sciuscià? It’s a neapolitan (birthplace of this art) term that describes shoe shine job or shoeshiner, borned at the beginning of twentieth century. “Sciuscià” is also a famous and loved neorealist film directed by Vittorio De Sica, about the stories of shoe’s artists.

This is an ancient art that lives through  the mechanization of industries, is a tradition and art became a secret of elegance for the contemporary gentleman. Even today. The investment in a pair of excellent quality shoes is as important as the know how to take care of it. A pair of shoes, especially when combined with a suit, has the power to enhance or put the outfit in a bad light.

Here are 5 simple tips that you can daily and quickly follow to take care of your shoes.


Brush your shoes with a soft cotton cloth (maybe a piece of an old shirt), to remove dirt. You can also use a leather cleaning mousse: after applying it, rinse with a damp cloth.

01 la pulizia

The wax

A good quality wax is the first part of a well done polishing, so choose creams made with neutral beeswax.

02 la cera


Remove the laces, spread on the shoes the wax, excluding the soles, and then let everithing stands for ten minutes, so that the leather absorbs it completely. During this part the best thing to do is to use shoe trees to sterch the leather. Rub the shoes with a woolen cloth to obtain the desired sparkle and for the final touch just remove the excess wax and the shoes will shine like new.

03 la lucidatura

The sole

Brush it with a brush or a rag rough, nourish it with a little bit of wax, as well as with the laces and reuse the rag to remove the excess wax. Remember to put back your shoes always with shoe trees (preferably made of cedar) that help the shoes to absorb moisture and to not deform.

04 la suola

Extra tip

When the shoes are perfectly dry, use a little bit of shoe polish (pay attention to the nuance), a cotton cloth and cold water mixed with few drops of alcohol. For those who want an even more professional, an old trick is to use drops of liquor with a high alcohol content (like cognac, brandy or grappa).

05b tocco extra

And now…Find below 9 amazing secret shops addresses where  you will discover the best shoeshiners:

Milan- Ago e Spago– A shoe store with shoeshine service in two locations: via Plinio or via Col di Lana. A team of master shoemakers also makes handmade shoes for men and women, one of the few places in Milan where the remise en forme is a real art.

Parma-Dandy Shoe Care – Alexander Nurulaeff, thanks to his training as a painter, after years of study of materials and leather treatments, refined the Patina technique. He is a master of polishing and you can choose between special effects.

Patina by Alexander Nurulaeff 11

Rome-Razor- A family tradition since 1956 for Antonio Corradi.

London – Steven Skippen – Steve has a real background from shoeshine. The adventure began by accident when at Heathrow airport a shoeshine offered him a job. A year later he opened his business inside the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane. His clients list include Mike Tyson, Dalai Lama and Jean Claude Van Damme.

Paris-Talon Rouge– Pierre Paul Marie Hofflin decides to found Talon Rouge. The term “talon rouge” identifies today a distinguished gentleman, refined.

New York- Jim’s Shoe Repair – The favorite meeting place of businessmen in Manhattan. Four generations of Italian shoeshiners .

Los Angeles – Progressive Shoe-Shop – Close to Rodeo Drive, Jack Zatikian is the shoeshine of all celebrities. During the Oscars he works 24 hours 24 to accommodate all last minute requests of Hollywood stars. Jack inherited the business from his father in 1982, when he moved from Armenia. He passed down to his son’s love for shining shoes.

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