5Ws+1H: Why It's Done: Polished shoes can make good impression

Drew Felts, of Felts Shoes in Tahlequah, suggests people use Super Glue for small repairs on footwear, but otherwise suggests people visit Herman's Boot Shop to revive their shoes.

The shoes on people's feet can tell a lot about a them, so keeping them clean and functional can help can prevent negative judgments, and even ensure healthy feet themselves.

A study out of the University of Kansas in 2012 concluded people's judgments based on looking at shoes were right 90 percent of the time. While they are more difficult to keep clean, since feet are regularly exposed to the ground, a polished, spotless shoe can leave a good impression. To get there, the right tools are needed

"A good cream polish and a good rag to buff them out," said David Hicks, of Herman's Boot Shop in Tahlequah. "You don't want to polish over dirt. You also don't want to put water on it to try and clean it. Take the laces out to do a better job."

A cream polish will moisturize the leather of a shoe. Those who use a wax polish will add a layer of a shine to them, and help protect the leather. There are professional-grade cloths people can purchase to polish their shoes, but another common practice is to use a cut-up T-shirt.

Using a sturdy brush before the polish is applied will help remove the dirt and grime from footwear. Brushes with horsehair bristles have been the most commonly used to scrape off dirt without leaving scratches. The brush can then be used after the polishing to buff the shoe.

Those who take the time to hand-polish and buff their shoes will see longer-lasting results, said Drew Felts, owner of Felts Shoes in Tahlequah. Otherwise, he recommended people use quick-shine polish that can be purchased at his store or places like Walmart.

"That's how most people shine their shoes anymore," said Felts. "It has a sponge in it, and the polish goes down into the sponge. It takes about five seconds to go over your shoes and they're shiny for a couple days, and then the next time you go out, you shine them again."

Some people might have a favorite shoe that's starting to come apart, but they can't bring themselves to throw it away. If a sole is starting to fall apart, Felts recommends using Shoe Goo to keep it intact.

"It's a heavier paste, but most of the time just Super Glue will work if it's just the toe of the shoe," he said. "It depends on how big the surface is. I wouldn't use it for the whole sole of a shoe."

Felts said that at some point, people have to face the fact they just need to buy a new pair of shoes. However, for leather footwear, he recommends owners take their repair jobs to Herman's, which has been around since 1947.

There, Hicks said, he'll repair any shoe that's repairable.

"A lot of shoes anymore are not repairable," he said. "A lot of shoes are disposable, throwaway shoes."

While Super Glue or other adhesives mights sustain footwear life for some period, Hicks said it will eventually come unraveled. Before people try fixing their shoes themselves, they might want to bring them by his shop to see what can be done.

"I see it all the time," he said. "They buy Gorilla Glue or Elmer's Glue and try to glue everything. It just makes a big mess for me. It will not stick. It won't work. I get mine from a shoe factory that you can't buy over the counter, unless you go through them."

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