[Unpopular Opinion] Boot/Shoe Shine doesn't matter

I’m going to second this on the account that it doesn’t even matter that much.

People [obsess about] boot shine too much. It doesn’t need to look like a black mirror. Just make sure they are clean, blackend and have something of dull shine to them.

People that spend hours trying to polish boots and then lord it over others like it’s anything other than a badge of sadness are insane, in fact there are many better ways to spend that time instead of polishing: Homework, self improvement, spending time with family… All that.

No normal person’s first sight is one’s boots, it’s the face, the body, the person, not their feet (unless they have a boot fetish /s). There are better things to improve on uniform instead of boots, hair, tunic, trousers, dresshirt because that’s what people first see.



What point are you trying to make here? I’m confused.

For me - polished shoes is one of the first things I notice of a cadet, especially a uniformed staff member. There is an old saying ‘you can tell a lot about a man from his shoes’ (insert preferred sex).

That doesn’t mean I obsess over it. Polished shoes is as equally as important as a well ironed shirt etc.

We are uniformed organisation with high standards and homework/self improvement isn’t an excuse… that’s just poor time management.

If people don’t like adhering to dress regulations then they are in the wrong organisation!

‘Semi-rant over’…

“Highly polished” is open to interpretation. It does not automatically mean bulled.

That wasn’t the main point of my counter argument but okay?

You made the point about adhering to dress regulations, but there’s no requirement for shoes to be a black mirror in those regulations.


I have semi agreement but I and a lot of my friend use boot polishing as an excuse to watch Netflix in between doing homework, so I do it to a high standard because more Netflix :laughing:.
Also there’s the satisfaction of having a shiny

that appeals to me. Also when you get a nod of approval from your OC it’s kind of worth it.

No there isn’t, correct. But that is not my point.

My point being that having high standards of uniform shows self respect and pride.
Homework etc isn’t a good excuse and that is just simply poor time management.

I’m super anal about shoe polishing…but that’s just me. I think it’s important to have the attention to detail. High pride all that usual stuff

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Maybe I’m being too anal… but I have high standards for myself and my cadets. :man_shrugging:t2:

Nothing wrong with that.

Being a DI I live and breath uniform standards (how ever I am reasonable unlike some of my colleagues…)

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The biggest problem with perpetuating the lie about bulling shoes is that the vast majority of cadets only have one pair of shoes for cadets and school. Very few parents have the money to buy another pair of shoes, just for a hobby.

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That’s simply untrue. Maybe in your sqn, but not nationally.


We have cadets from time to time who cannot afford shoes when the usual shop we use has ran out (grade 1’s around £12-16) so we tell them they can wear boots. If cadets leave and have shoes then we issue to those who are struggling.

@Ladentrue - over here in the UK, perhaps we have an easier time that you all do (in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets) when it comes to polishing footwear.

In particular, I suspect that RCAirC Cadets maybe have to wear boots all the time, rather than leather shoes (please can you confirm: is this also the case for you?)

Modern boots are a lot more comfortable to wear (compared to traditional hard leather ones) but they are a nightmare to polish-up to a ‘mirror finish’ because they’re just too soft & flexible.

In RAF Air Cadets, we officially wear two types of dress shoes: Oxfords (for males, & optionally females) which tend to be made from hard, smooth leather. Usefully, the toecap is a seperate raised frontpiece, so is much easier to polish to a high standard.

Gibsons (for females) have no toecaps, and are made from a softer leather, so are more difficult to polish up to so-called ‘parade bull’ inspection standard…but still nowhere near as difficult to do, as boots.

In fact, our modern boots (normally just worn with combats or flying gear) are not meant to really be finished to a high shine, but just to a reasonable standard of appearance with a silicon polish.

The only British group that I can think of who might polish their boots in a traditional style anymore, like yourselves, would be our Sea Cadets (both the SCC and CCF(RN) strands)

This is WO1 Haffey-Leal, of 81(Juno Beach) Sqn RCAirC, demonstrating her boot-polishing technique- no real surprises, though I’ve never seen a suggestion that laces on any boots could/should be tied in a reef-knot. That is just weird…is that really recommended for Canadian Air Cadets?

Bang on precisely. Just as important.

HOWEVER and this is the crux of the matter.

Using and iron to apply creases to a shirt or trousers (or to simply get them out of a brazzard or keep flaps flat on a jumper) to pinch a line from Shania Twain “that don’t impress me much” as the end result of spending 5 minutes ironing a shirt or spending an hour and 5 minutes is exactly the same. Creases do not get any sharper, jumpers and brazzard do not get any flatter. Within reason anyone can iron. The biggest difference when ironing is where the creases are placed (which is noticeable as a negative) rather than how sharp they are.
I am certain we’ve all heard criticism about the position of a crease more so a compliment on how sharp creases are.

But with shoes, whatever the method there is a noticeable and often signifanct difference between 5 minutes work and 25 minutes, and in some cases further improvement after an hour and 5 minutes…why?
Because the shine of a shoe is not so easy finite as a ironed shirt or pressed trousers.

I completely agree thst both are equally important and I have shown this in my uniform scores. Great shoes but average everything else are scored down as all the time has been spent on shoes forgetting the basics of using and iron which as indicated above can only take 5 minutes per garment…

Because shoe polishing is not finite and there is also someone out there with shinier shoes thst is where the effort is placed.
It is also easier to put that effort in.
The distraction of Netflix (Or when on camp friends in a huddle) offers the chore some entertainment.
The specialist shoe polishing kit can be carried in a pocket while kit for the rest of uniform is neither as portable or as social an activity all combines to where effort makes a difference and indeed can become entertaining.

Not a single one of my 60+ cadets use the same shoes for school and cadets


there are only two people who have exclusively bought parade shoes, but boots people are more willing to buy.

Never has been my experience you must have some well-off parents. But when there are 2 or 3 kids all wanting shoes and kids shoes ain’t cheap and they have a habit of growing and or ‘kicking them out’.

Don’t mention buying a box of tat shoes. A squadron close to us does this and it seems too much of a lottery in terms of condition and sizes to waste money on. Plus it makes a noose for your own neck if you start supplying them. Our local jumble shop (surplus) is IMO a shark, only ever has brand new shoes at a nonsensical price, despite advertising all manner of sizes for second hand shoes.

Nope our civilian committee is really good at helping those in need, you know like they should be. We also beg and borrow to secure some.

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But it’s not a requirement to have specific shoes, all they need are shoes and if they have some, that’s good enough.