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How can you make your shoes sparkle like never before? We've asked the world champion, Yuya Hasegawa!

How can you make your shoes sparkle like never before? We've asked the world champion, Yuya Hasegawa!

Shoe Care / Clothing Care
21-02-2018

We have arrived at a place that looks like a bar. But this is a shoeshine shop run by Yuya Hasegawa, the winner of World Championship of Shoe Shining!

We have chosen shoe shining as one of new habits you can start from spring. Here are methods we have learned directly from the world champion! We are offering loads of secrets to make your shoes sparkle, from basic shoe shining techniques to special tips that make a difference!

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These are the shoes before shoe shining. There are some visible scratches around the toes of the shoes.

Don't start polishing right away! Preparation before shoe care is just as important!

You can't just start scrubbing your shoes with a brush or a cloth! You must make preparations.

First, take off the shoe laces and let your shoes relax. Then put in a shoe tree. This makes it easier to dust off your shoes and let's cream seep in thoroughly because the shoe tree stretches the creases of the shoes.

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Here's a quick tip!

Mr. Hasegawa says dusts get in your shoes more than you think. And if you have pets, their hair often gets into your shoes. Wipe the inside of your shoes with a wet tissue when you care for your shoes at home. Not only is it good to do so as a part of shoe care, but it also makes it feel much more refreshing when you put the shoes on.

This is important! Don't forget to clean the "sole edge"!

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You'd think it's about polishing the body of your shoes, but it is also important to care for the "sole edge", which is the part that joins the body and the sole! When this part is clean, the whole shoe has a smart impression! Carefully apply ink of the same color to the sole edge.

Once you get used to it, smoothen its surface a little with a file before applying ink. The surface becomes flat and you'll be able to apply ink more evenly. This is a professional technique Mr. Hasegawa uses, too. It's worth remembering as an advanced technique.

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Now you can start the actual care! First of all, dust off with a brush made of horsehair, starting from the toe part of the upper. Brush out dust from the inside of the shoe lace area, too. The part that meets the arch of the foot tends to get dirty as well, so be thorough when you brush this part.

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Next, clean with a liquid cleaner. If you don't take off wax and cream you applied before, you end up applying new cream on top of old and this gives your shoes a dull look. And if you overdo it, the leather may crack! So, wrap a cloth around your fingertips and clean your shoes thoroughly.

It's better to use a cotton cloth with a rough feel, if you have one. However, do not scrub too much! The surface of the leather gets rough if you scrub it too strongly, just as your skin does. Try to scrub gently and carefully!

Let nutrients seep deep into the leather. Professionals use their fingers!

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After cleaning, add nutrients to the leather. The important thing is to let the nutrients seep deep into the leather! Professionals like Mr. Hasegawa use their fingers to apply the cream. This way, the cream gets warmed by the fingers as it is rubbed into the leather and the nutrients seep in easier. If you would rather not apply with your fingers directly, we recommend that you cover your fingers with plastic wrap. You can warm the cream without making your fingers dirty. The cream can also be applied with a brush. The key is to apply the cream evenly when using a brush.

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Here's a quick tip!

Be extra careful when applying cream to the toe part of the shoe called the "bump"! As this part bends when you walk, it tends to get creased easily. Be sure to let the cream seep in evenly with a brush after applying. And polish with a dry cloth after brushing. This one small touch wipes off excess cream and makes your shoe stain-resistant.

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This is the end of the whole shoe care process! What do you think? Compared to the picture before shoe shining, the leather looks softer and shinier! This is just the basic care, but look how beautiful they have turned out. It takes about 15 minutes up to this point if done by a professional like Mr. Hasegawa. First-timers should be able to do it in about 30 minutes.

As leather shoes age the more you polish, they typically become easier to care for. If you continue your care, you will be able to keep the sparkle just by dusting off lightly!

Professionals polish with water? Here are some shoe shining techniques of the world champion!

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After shoe care, you apply shoe shine cream to make your shoes shine. Here, we introduce a professional technique that requires two kinds of waxes and water! As a side note, you should only make the toe and heel of the shoe shiny, where cores are placed.

Have hard wax and soft wax ready. (Hard wax is made by drying soft wax.) First, rub in soft wax as a base, which is easy to spread. This step is actually very important! When rubbed in firmly, the cream helps the shoe repel water in the shoe shining process later on.

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Next, polish the shoe with water. It is better to use a cloth (raised cotton flannel) made especially for shoe polishing. Take a drop of water and hard wax on the cloth, then polish your shoes gently. The part you apply wax to first turns white, but soon starts to shine! The water spreads the wax coating and makes the shoe shine. Put water and hard wax on the cloth and polish. Repeat this process again and again.

The key is to be careful not to put too much water! As water seeps into leather easily, take just a drop at a time. When your shoe is glossy enough, put water on an unused part of the cloth and polish some more. This process is called "water polishing"! It's a technique Mr. Hasegawa used when he won the world championship.

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No wonder he's a world champion! Look how beautifully he polishes shoes...

And you're done! Your shoes will shine like a mirror and you will want to put them on then and there!

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Downright beautiful... they shine like a mirror! By the way, depending on the type of shoes and the customer's occupation, Mr. Hasegawa changes the amount he polishes. When asked to polish straight tip shoes like the ones above, he would let the toes shine in an orthodox way, but when asked to polish casual shoes like loafers, he would only make them mildly shiny. These are some tips we can follow when we polish shoes at home.

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These are the 7 tools Mr. Hasegawa uses. Carefully selected items support his professionalism. (※These are all his personal belongings)

We have also asked him about how to choose tools to help beginners.
"The best thing to do is to ask a store clerk. Shoeshine is about polishing leather, so it is important to choose tools that best match the type of shoe leather you have. In that sense, I think it's best to consult professionals who have thorough knowledge of leather and tools. You should take the shoes you want to care for, if you can. If you show the actual shoes, they can make a more appropriate judgement."

Mr. Hasegawa, who has been in the shoeshine business for 13 years, says he has tried a variety of tools until he settled on these. And he continues to check new tools even now. The world of shoeshine is profound, after all...!

Finally

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At the end of the interview, we asked Mr. Hasegawa what the best thing about shoe shining is.

"Personally, the best thing is that I can clear my mind by focusing on one single thing - to make shoes shine. I also like the positive feelings polished shoes bring. They make people want to wear them and go out or go to work. One of my customers once said to me, "When I have shiny shoes, I don't mind Mondays" (he laughs). As leather shoes age the more you polish, I hope everyone enjoys these changes and makes shoe shining one of their habits."

It sounds like shoe shining has a good influence on our everyday lives! To enjoy your favorite shoes for a long time to come and to enrich your daily life, start shoe shining this spring!

※Items introduced in this article may not be available in some stores. Please ask if they carry what you are looking for.
※Items introduced in this article may need to be back-ordered in some stores.
※Prices and specifications are subject to change and the number of items may be limited. ※Some items are inserted in the pictures for display purposes.

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