Your Shoes Show Your Hand

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“Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You’ll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you’ll be classy. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press’ll think you’re colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it means you are a slob.”


Have you earned the right to be a slob?

While I can’t lay all the blame on Mark Zuckerberg, he’s certainly the poster child for the now famous Silicon Valley uniform – the hoodie. It states in no uncertain terms that your primary focus is on the work that you produce.

While that’s great that you’re focusing on the product, it’s only addressing half of the equation in business – and sadly, it’s the wrong half!

How you dress says as much about what you think about yourself as it does about what you think of the people you work with and the people that you’re working for.

Unless you’re producing a paradigm-shifting, once in a generation product (Facebook), it means you’re a slob!

Simple rules to live by:

  • When clients feel respected, they remain clients for longer.
  • When clients feel respected, they’re willing to pay more money.
  • When clients feel respected, they give you more room to do some really cool shit!


The way you dress has as much to do with your self-image as it does with what you think of your clients. Unless your self-image is paying your bills, I suggest you start paying more attention to the former.

The medium is the message – and your message is that you take your clients business, time and money seriously. Seriously enough to prepare for even a simple meeting with them.

If you’ve got any respect for your clients – shine your damn shoes and leave the hoodie in the closet. Commit yourself to the idea that your appearance is just as valuable, if not more, as your product or service.

I grew up watching my dad spread newspaper over the kitchen table and spend hours shining pair after pair of shoes. Some 20 years later, I find myself across the table from my cat who’s watching intently as I go through the same motions. He seems to understand it now about as much as I did back then.

Get yourself two decent pairs of shoes and don’t dwell on the price tag – one black and one brown. My first pair of cowboy boots cost me a solid paycheck back in high school but they’re still kicking today because leather is built to go the distance. A good pair leather dress shoes may run three figures, but they’ll pay dividends for years to come if you treat them right.

1. Weather proofing ain’t just for patio’s 

Take the time to prepare your shoes for bad weather. The sun may be shining, but puddles do still happen and water left to soak into your leather shoes can create some nasty spots. Some proper leather softener will help the break-in period and protect the shoes from water at the same time.

2. Ditch the stock lacesThe Digital Wingman shoe shine

Laces may not seem like much, but imagine wearing a $10,000 suit and pairing it with an ugly novelty tie. Nobody’s going to remember how slick the suit was, they’ll just remember the dude who wore that god-awful tie. 

3. Learn the fine art of the shoe shine

Shoe polish is like salt – a little goes a long way, and it’s a hell of a lot easier to add more than to try to remove the excess. Start small and add more as needed. Make small circles and remove any extra with the brush. A good microfiber cloth will help remove any excess polish and create that perfect shine you’re looking for.

Pro tip: Save the junk circulars from the mail, they’ll help protect everything from the shoe polish, which I promise you can get everywhere if you let it.

We all want more clients and long lasting relationships with the ones that we have. A properly shined pair of shoes caps off an image that says “I give a damn” a hell of a lot more than a hoodie that you found at the skate park. It won’t substitute for doing shitty work, but much like chicken soup and the common cold, it certainly wont hurt.

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