Tuesday 10 January 2023

Polished Off!

Did you pick up this piece of news last week? S C Johnson ['a family company'] is no longer producing Kiwi Shoe Polish to be sold by British retailers. The Forces are up in arms about their feet! 


Since 1906 when Australian William Ramsay founded his company [named Kiwi as a tribute to his New Zealand born wife]  the British Armed Forces have used this as their shoe polish of choice. A decade ago, the Army issued brown leather combat boots to the troops 

- but black remains the colour for boots worn with regimental dress uniforms. We all saw that in sparkling glory as the soldiers paid their respects at Her Majesty's funeral last year.

It won't affect this household - my family has always used Cherry Blossom [another company founded in 1906] SCJ blame "people working from home, and the wearing of trainers" for causing the drop in demand. They say they will still be selling online to British customers. Cherry Blossom say the exit of Kiwi from the market should be a huge boost for their sales.

Do you ever polish leather shoes/boots?
If so, what products do you use?
[I'd love to hear what happens to those of you who are non UK readers]



31 comments:

  1. Of course! I have several pairs of leather shoes and boots, and polishes to match. As a child we polished our school shoes every Sunday evening.

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  2. I remember a lovely story that my gran would tell about her father. She was one of a large Victorian family. Every Saturday night, her father,a dear,gentle soul,would make sure that the family left their shoes out to be cleaned. He made it his Saturday evening task to polish every pair of shoes, so that the family were ready to attend the Methodist chapel on Sunday morning.

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  3. Forgot to add love Isabel

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  4. I think many families had a weekly polishing session. I had a friend whose Dad did them all on a Friday night at the end of his working week

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  5. We’re Cherry Blossom in this house too. From about the age of eight, I became the family’s shoe and boot cleaner.I was taught in the Brownies and it has become a lifelong task which I enjoy.-there’s something very satisfying about a well polished pair of boots/shoes. I also keep our non leather footwear brushed and wiped with the occasional run through the machine for trainers! Catriona

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    1. I know that you CAN put trainers through the machine, but I'm nervous that mine would disintegrate! I was told they should be knotted inside a pillowcase to protect the machine

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  6. We used to use Kiwi shoe polish when I was growing up. Since coming to the US, I no longer wear shoes that require polishing! I honestly don't know what people use to polish their shoes here! But, there seems to be a brand named Red Moose that is made here.

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    1. That's interesting, Bless. I'd never heard of Red Moose, but they're based in NJ and been going 30 years, promoting "proper" shoe care. They have a fascinating website πŸ‘

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  7. We have polishes to match every colour of shoes we have.
    My Grandfather was obsessive about shoes being polished within an inch of their lives, so it's just a way of life in this family now.
    Grandy always made sure that the back of his shoes were just as clean as the front. He said making a good first impression is important, but at some point, you'll turn around, and show the world whether you know that the back view matters too!
    We also use Cherry Blossom for 'normal' colour shoes and boots, but as I'm a bit 'out there' with some of my shoe/boot colour choices, bright blue, red, sage green, orange, purple, navy etc, also find Timpson have a good colour range. X

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    1. Grandy sounds like a wise guy, esp about your "rear view" (Google ”Ogden Nash Pants Poem" sometime) Yes Timpson do carry good colours

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    2. That " Ogden Nash Pants Poem " was a favourite of my father's and he also attached great importance to well polished shoes.

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    3. πŸ‘πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘ πŸ‘ 

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  8. Meltonian, I think that was the name, was a range of cream shoe polish in small glass jars with a metal lid on all sorts of colours that we used for "ladies and girls dress" shoes but for mens, school and work day shoes we used Cherry Blossom. My Dad was chief show polished and did he get a shine on our shoes. I still have his old hand made wooden shoe cleaning box along with sets of brushes one set for brown and one for black polish. The smell of the polish immediately takes me back to my childhood. I am now 72 so smells really can evoke memories. I now am chief shoe polisher my husband says I get a better shine! Regards Sue H

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    1. As a child I always thought Meltonian sounded terribly posh!! My brushes are labelled for black and brown

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  9. We use both kinds of polish and I still have the polishing kit I bought when I first left home, plus the ancient brushes that belonged to my parents. They are older than me!
    However, I confess that if any shoes need polishing I hand them over to my OH, who clearly enjoys doing it much more than I do!

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    1. Some of my brushes were ones I had at uni

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  10. Alan always uses Kiwi shoe polish, no doubt ingrained into him from his military days. But these days it just his work shoes are kept in pristine condition, and if I can get my timing right I can add my two pairs of leather boots to his little line of shoes to be polished and mine end up all shiny too. :-)

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  11. I've never connected Ogden Nash with Grandy's wise advice, but I will from now on!
    I'm a huge O.N. fan, not really having a favourite poem, but The Germ is pretty close!
    I'm also a fan of William Topaz McGonagall, purely for the absolute awfulness of his works! X

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  12. My father always did the polishing when I was growing up. I still use his brushes. most of my shoes are leather. I've used Melatonian before, now I use Kiwi and Red Moose. I like clean, polished shoes! I must search out the Ogden Nash poem!

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    1. I don't think I've seen red moose in the ok. Do check out the ON poem ¡

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  13. We use both brands - it's walking boots that I loathe cleaning the most, really they should be done with dubbin ( whatever that is ) I rarely remove the laces to clean them, although it makes them more waterproof if you do.
    Alison in Wales x

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    1. The important thing about walking boots is doing it promptly. The longer you leave them, the less inclined you are to tackle the task

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  14. I don't remember the last time I polished any shoes......oops!!

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    1. Back when you still lived in the UK?πŸ˜‰

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  15. We have some black Kiwi and also some brand in a plastic jar that we brought back from our 3 years in Europe. There is an ancient set of brushes, one with a metal tag reading "Blacking" and the other reads "Polisher". Needless to say these are only used on black shoes. There are also two cans of brown Kiwi, mid and dark. They have another brush for finishing.

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