@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?