The best shoe shine in Denver (case study)
In the summer of 2018, I had a meeting at the Starbucks in the Chase building in downtown Denver. While there, I spied a shoe shine kiosk in the building’s lobby. Short on time, I resolved to return and make an introduction. I wanted to continue my personal effort to find the best shoe shine in Denver.
A few weeks later, I was seated in the shoe shine chair and chatting it up with owner and proprietor of The Shoe Care Co., Amando Bravo.
Like many small business owners, there’s a good story behind how he built his business and got to where he is today. But we’ll get to that in a moment. First, I want to take you through some before and after photos.
Shoe shine magic: reviving a neglected pair
The shoes I brought in were my oldest pair of Cole Haan dress shoes. Probably eight years old. In fact, they were the oldest and most neglected shoes that I owned. They had never been professionally shined, despite serving as my everyday shoes for years. I had actually worn them so much that they had to be resoled at one point.
I wore them in the rain and snow and would only occasionally shine them myself at home. And even then, maybe only for two or three minutes. Hardly enough TLC to counteract the abuse that I had put them through.
Suffice it to say, they were in bad shape. Discolored in areas from moisture damage and scratched pretty much all over, these shoes needed help. In fact, I filmed an episode of the Daily BE where I tried to decide on whether I would keep these shoes or throw them out (fortunately for Amando and I, my YouTube audience convinced me to keep them).
Even the side of the sole had lost much of its natural color.
So, Amando got to work. And he seemed to have zero concerns about bringing them back to life. Or that I was planning to write a blog post on the best shoe shine in Denver!
The Shoe Care Co. Origin Story
While I watched Amando work, it was becoming apparent that this was no ordinary shoe shine. The dull light brown of my shoes was becoming darker and more robust with every step of his procedure.
While he worked, I asked him how he got into the world of shoes and shining them. He told him how he used to work as a cook in several iconic Denver restaurants. And outside of one in particular, was a shoe shine kiosk and he became friendly with the owner. Over time, he began to learn the craft and developed a natural talent for the work. He also told me that it was a great way for him to work on his English.
I’m intentionally leaving out a few details because I want to encourage you to visit Amando and get the story for yourself.
Now, back to my shoes…here’s how they turned out:
[and the sun was a little higher in the sky when I shot these photos, but I put no filter on any of these images.]
Can you believe they are the same shoes?!
I had never seen these shoes shine like they did after I visited The Shoe Care Co. Not even when I first purchased them.
The edges of the sole had even been restored:
Pretty incredible work, in my opinion.
Creating the patina finish
I even went back for another visit and brought another neglected pair of boots. Similar to my other shoes, they received several treatments to restore luster. Interestingly, Amando pulled out a small blowtorch and briefly heat treated the toecap. This seemed to harden the shine in that area and create that beautiful “patina” look that you’ve probably seen all over Instagram.
I didn’t know that this patina was something you could even have on old shoes. Originally, I was under the incorrect impression that it could only be on a brand new pair. I was blown away. So much so that when I walked out to the curb and saw them in the sunlight, I had to spin on my heels, walk back in, and congratulate Amando again for his work.
It wasn’t just that I had never seen my shoes so well shined before, but that I had no idea they could even look that good!
Something to bear in mind is that the entire process was maybe twenty minutes or so. Amando told me that he can get clients out the door quickly if they are short on time. However, I recommend setting some time aside to enjoy the full experience. If there’s a line ahead of you, just drop in next door for a coffee and work on your phone while you wait.
Wrap up: finding the best shoe shine in Denver
I’ll leave you with this: when I first mentioned The Shoe Care Co. on Instagram, a new friend replied to the story with “Amando is the man!” This particular gentleman works in the Chase Building and on a handful of nights when he’s left the building late, he’s seen Amando still there, and watching YouTube videos on advanced shine techniques. I imagine the blow torch technique came from of these videos!
Clearly, he has the passion and the talent.
Visit The Shoe Care Co. at their website here, or at one of the company’s locations:
Amando no longer operates in the Chase building, but you can find him and his team at Independence Plaza (1050 17th St). While I recommend the experience, if all you want are your shoes shined, consider utilizing one of the company’s convenient drop-off locations listed on their website.
By the way, the company does more than just shines. They can also handle all of your repair needs and even support an event or two.
Did you enjoy this article on our opinion for the best shoe shine in Denver? I hope that it inspired you to hang onto those old pair of dress shoes or loafers and take them in for a shine to bring them back to their former glory. And while we’re on the topic of shoes and our feet, here’s an article on why we advocate for men to get a pedicure every now and again. Also, if you’re planning a wedding and need some shoes to match with your custom suit, read this.