Shoe Shining is a trade that in summary involves a person shining another person’s shoes using cloths and polish.
We are stating the obvious here but this fine occupation has a rich vein of history to it and has evolved over the years into an extremely useful and vital part of people’s lives as they are on the move and wanting to look their best.
Songs such as Get Rhythm by Johnny Cash includes the line “little shoe shine boy” in on verse of the song and this is because the job was more often than not carried out by a male boy during the early days of shoe shining. This trend has continued in a lot of countries worldwide although in more modernised and Western cultures working laws and child labour laws mean that it’s a working adult who carries out the task.
Shoe shining has been linked back to the 19th century although shoe polish never hit to masses commercially until the 20th century. Reports suggest that honey, champagne, grease and oven soot were all used to shine shoes in the early days as shoe shine pioneers looked to achieve the best shine for their clients.
The tried and tested quality of well known shoe car products these days ensures that you get the best shine without having to experiment with random chemicals and items such as alcohol and honey!
Over the years shoe shining has been the inspiration for many films, songs and there have been many famous shoe shiners.