The best shoe shine in Denver (with a before and after case study)
A little over a month ago, I had a meeting at the Starbucks in the Chase building in downtown Denver. I don’t often make it into this building and so when I spied a shoe shine kiosk in the building’s lobby, I resolved to investigate further and continue my personal efforts to find the best shoe shine in Denver.
I was short on time after my meeting (I was to meet the Denver Gents founders in the next ten minutes), but I made a note to grab my oldest and most neglected shoes and take them in for a shine during my next trip to the area.
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 how he 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.
The shoes I brought in were my oldest pair of Cole Haan dress shoes, probably eight years old at this point. I even remember buying them at the shop in the Cherry Creek mall when I was still working as an aerospace engineer. 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.
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 the fact that I had told him I was planning to write a blog post on his work!
While I watched Amando work through four or five steps (more? I honestly lost track), it was becoming more and more apparent to me 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.
I even went back for another visit and brought an equally neglected pair of boots. Similar to my other shoes, they received several treatments to restore luster, but interestingly, at one point 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.
It may be my relative ignorance to shoe care, but I didn’t know until visiting The Shoe Care Co. that this patina was something you could even have on old shoes. 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 shines I had were probably on the order of twenty minutes or so. I believe that Amando told me once that he can get clients out the door quickly if they are short on time, but I definitely 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 works in the lobby of the Chase building in downtown Denver (1125 17th St) or work with his talented team members in the lobby 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.