"First, I brush the shoe good, cleaning it of any dust or dirt. With the rag wrapped tightly around my first two fingers, I apply the polish in small, tight swirls. By the time I'm through applying wax to the second shoe, the first will be dry and ready to brush, and that's all I do. I was taught to spray a little water on a second light application—a *spit shine*—and buff with the softest cloth I could find until I could see my face. But I was never in the army like my dad and prefer just a little luster to a lot of shine.
I have a closet full of nice shoes but wear the same ones practically every day—a size 13 cordovan (color and leather) plain-toe lace-up. With this particular shoe, I use a black cream every third or fourth polishing instead of cordovan paste. It makes them the same deep aubergine as a perfectly ripe eggplant. They go with everything I own, and they're as comfortable as a bare foot in sand. I've had them resoled twice already, and I'm told a well-made, well-cared-for cordovan will outlast its owner. I aim to find out—just not too soon, I hope."