America’s  Unforgettable Shoeshine Stands

Why have shoe shine stands disappeared from everywhere but airports?

Few men wear proper leather dress shoes to go to work, and some of the ones that do can afford to send them out to a shoe repair store or other specific outlet, instead of needing to get them touched up during their daily errands. Back in the day, most men who needed to wear them only owned one pair: they had to be polished while being worn.

Another set of men wear shoes that LOOK like leather dress shoes, but are made of man-made materials that polishing is unnecessary to maintain. They’re designed to be worn until they wear out, and then replaced.

Answer is By: Elliott Mason; parent, geek, Chicagoan, activist, avid reader (quora com).

These Men Are Keeping The Dying Art Of Shoe Shining Alive In Kansas City

In the 1940s and 1950s, shoe shiners could be found in countless places across the city. One of the biggest hubs was Union Station. That’s where a new permanent exhibit sits near the northwest elevators in the main hall — in the exact place where shoe shiners worked day in and day out — serving thousands of travelers that traveled to and from Kansas City. Henry Lyons of Olathe chapter of the NAACP says they also served as unofficial city guides. “They knew were things were at,” Lyons said. “If you were a young person and you were going to come to Kansas City and you wanted to know where the action was, well, they could tell you where the action was in Kansas City.” Today, if you want to get your shoes polished, you’ll most likely need to drop them off at a shoe repair shop. But there are a few spots, besides the airport, where you can still sit in a chair and get an old-fashioned polish.

One of those places is Gates Bar-B-Q on Emmanuel Clever II Boulevard. That’s where you’ll often find a man greeting customers in the lobby. M.W.K., who declined to give his real name, says he started shining shoes in the 1970s when he was in the U.S. Army. One day, he was polishing his shoes and one of his friends asked if he could teach him how to do it. Since then, polishing has been a job to fall back on. “I like the people,” M.W.K. says. “I could stay here for weeks and not make a dime and still enjoy myself.”Just to put that into perspective, he says in an average week he will see five customers. Further south in the metro, you’ll find DeJuan Bonds. He has been a barber since 1996.

When he decided to open his own barber shop in Overland Park, Kansas, he wanted to have a full-service shop — including a shoe shine stand.



Original article:


The evolution of shoe polish has many interesting twists. From royalty to gentry and now to common man, from tallow, lanolin, beeswax and soot to technically inspired shoe polish varieties of today shoe shining is a skill that has been passed down from father to son for generations past. In the past shoe shiners experimented with different products to soften, waterproof and polish natural leather. Yet it is thanks to William Ramsay’s history changing invention in shoe polishing that chaps all around the world today can enjoy the highest gloss finish for shoes.

In the beginning of the [19th] century, commercial shoe polishing products were basic products primarily based on tallow, sugar, black dye and vinegar. These shoe polishes were good for blacking but did not produce the fine shine of today’s calibre of shoe polish products. Polish made out of suspended solids and various liquid forms such as wax, naphtha, lanolin, carbon dye and turpentine had one major defect.

The blacking was extended from shoes to hem of pants even at lightest contact. Later they have evolved in greater varieties and brands incorporating many value added benefits of waterproofing, softening and conditioning leather.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.