Bulling the body of a parade shoe

Has anybody ever successfully got this look on a pair of parade shoes? I’ve come close but the polish on the body of the shoe always cracks whilst walking (much to my distress as a drill obsessed teenager some years ago).

I know people who have. They were also drill-obsessed teenagers :wink:


Excuse me…

Mine look like that…:wink:

Well my ammo boots do… that I don’t wear anymore

It’s the beeswaxing that stops the cracking


I wouldn’t mind a pair of ammo boots but I always feel like they are for Drill Instructors only.

You can do this (I did on my best pair - yes, bees wax was also involved :wink: ) if you have leather-soled Oxfords - but you add on 2 extra layers of leather on the sole, with suitable matching build-up on the heel (mine had a metal horse shoe). This minimises flexing across all of the shoe.

[This was a typical QCS /DI style of shoe.]

I need to do this to my oxfords

But so expensive!!

You can get a high gloss on most of the shoe but you must accept that as standard there will always be creasing behind the toecap - the shoe has to flex there when you walk.

That’s fine. You can still get a nice shine in that area using the standard bulling technique. Just don’t go putting loads of layers on as you would with the toecap.

The rest of the shoe however - the instep (where the laces are), the heel counter, the edges of the rubber soles - can all be bulled as easily as the toecap.

I’ve only seen this work on “ammo” boots where it’s almost impossible to walk properly.
If you like to look normal and bend your foot when walking, just brush polish continually and accept that there will be a crease around the toe cap area.

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I probably won’t be trying this now tbf, just got thinking about after seeing a post about ammo boots yesterday. I’ve been polishing the toe caps on my regular boots and I think that will be more than sufficient for a CI (assuming I get offered a place on the Sqn of course).

Love the passion there!

Well I would like to go back into uniform at some point, so it’s seems just as well to start as I mean to go on in terms of toe caps. I don’t think I’ll have time to spend six hours a week on it like I used to though lol

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I wear AKUs on parade these days.

Disclaimer: I’m a photographer. :slight_smile:


Looking after them is the key. I spend about an hour fortnightly and just keep them in a box. Give them a quick water bull before a parade night.

Yes, I think I’ll be doing the same. Got some spare heavyweight work trousers to slap a crease on and I guess I’ll find an ATC fleece or something

Bloody photographers on parade. I swear last wing parade we had more officer photographers and first aiders cutting about in No.2 and No.3 than we did in No.1 to run the parade!

And I never saw any of the bloody photographs!!


Sounds like a modern day Blackadder sketch …

I promise you that if I am photographing your parade, you will see the photographs!

I do it with a proper camera as well.

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Beeswax stops the cracking, but “shrinks” the shoe.
There’s no point bulling the whole boot/shoe, unless your standing orders state, guardsman etc. best give them a good polish and it creates a better deferential with the toecap.

Halfords do some cracking gloss paint, and varnish…

I hope you don’t mean normal boots like field boots? There’s nothing worse than seeing, usually Pongo’s, with field boots with bulled toecaps. They aren’t drill boots.