Statement of Purpose

As a bootblack, I have often encountered people who lament the state of their boots. They seem to feel powerless to clean, condition, or polish their boots, relying instead on bootblacks to do the job. While that is a boon for bootblacks in that it provides us with a steady supply of customers, it's really not the best for the boots.

Historically, children were often expected to shine their own shoes, particularly their nice "church shoes". I know a lot of people, bootblacks and non-bootblacks, who have talked about that being the beginning (if not the extent) of their bootblacking training. I understand that people don't have the desire to become full-fledged bootblacks, but that doesn't mean that we can't provide those who have the desire to learn bootblacking (to whatever extent they wish) with the tools to do so.

Hence "Anyone Can Shine". Bootblacking is not black magic. It's not a huge secret society with mysteries not to be revealed to outsiders. Anyone can shine. Even if it's as simple as wanting to make one's boots halfway presentable after an evening in the dusty outdoor patio of a bar, that is an honorable impulse and we as bootblacks should encourage anyone who wishes to develop their boot and leather care skills.

Within these pages, you will find tools to help you learn to care for your boots and leather. This may be the first steps on a path that will lead to another member of the obsessive and somewhat rowdy bootblack community. Or it may be one more person whose boots are looking sharp when they go out to their local leather bar. Regardless of where your exploration of bootblacking takes you, remember: anyone can shine.

Andrew "Bootdog" Johnson
International Mr. Bootblack 2008