One of the essential parts of the leather community is the individuals who care for our leathers. These folks are known as Bootblacks. They care for our boots and they care for our leathers. We would not be a full leather community without them.  

    Bootblacks have a long history. A shoe shiner or boot polisher is an occupation in which a person polishes shoes with shoe polish. It is the practice of caring for boots, shoes and other leather apparel. They are often known as shoeshine boys because the job is traditionally that of a male child. Other synonyms are bootblack, shoeblack, and bootshiner.

    Bootblacking has been around for as long as there have been shoes. The original term bootblack or shoeblack originated in the 1800’s and were so called because dress shoes were almost always black and had a shine to them.   

    Bootblacking goes beyond the concept of leather care. While the techniques of a shine represent a significant part of what it means to be a bootblack, there are much deeper aspects to the individual bootblack and to the Bootblack Community. Part of what makes a community is the communication of the history and traditions of that community.

   bootblack Bootblacks are commonly found in leather and leather-friendly bars, providing their services to the bars patrons. Bootblack contests are held regularly, offering bootblacks the opportunity not only to demonstrate their proficiency as a bootblack, but also to represent their identity in the Leather Community.

    For a basic education, there are two types of leathers, oil-based and polish-based (different tanning processes produce the two different results). Polish-based leathers have a shine to them, sometimes what we call a “high” shine. Oil-based leathers have an oily feel to them and don’t have a high shine.

    To achieve a really good high shine, saliva or spit works the best - thus the term “spit shine.” A spit shine is the ultimate of the high shines. It is the preferred shine in the military. Therefore when a bootblack licks the boots, they are applying the spit to allow for that high shine to occur.

   The sexual aspect of bootblacking is hard to describe. I remember the first time someone else shined my boots at a bootblack contest. I couldn’t get out of the chair after he was done because I was so turned on. Having a man lick my boots is still a major turn-on for me.

    The oil shine also can be very sexual. The bootblack uses various body parts to apply the oil to the boot or shoe.

    Other sexual aspects can be something we call boot worship. It is where someone licks the boots in a worship manner while the boots are worn by someone. For those of us who have a great respect (and collection) of boots, boot worship can be a type of foreplay or after play of a sexual shine. Some boot shines can be so much of a turn-on for the boot wearer, the boot worshipper or the people watching that it has been known for individuals to climax without being touched.

    So what does it take to be a bootblack? Well, one big criteria is do you have a love for boots, shoes or leather clothes in general? Do you have a collection of various boots, shoes and leather clothes? Does a really cool pair of boots or shoes get your attention? Do you want to caress or touch the boot? Is the boot so hot that it makes you want to get on your hands and knees and kiss it? Do you find it slightly arousing when you caress a really great pair of boots or shoes? Do you like the smell and feel of leather? Do you like the feel of leather against your body?  

    If you answered yes to any one of these questions, you might want to explore more about the world of bootblacking. There are many of us in the local leather community who would love to help teach you the finer aspects. Whether it’s just the practical aspect of properly caring for your own boots and leather or whether you want to help take care of others’ boots and leathers, we are here to help teach you and guide you.

   If you are interested in bootblacking or any other aspect of the leather community, we have regular monthly meetings on the third Saturday at the Center in Wichita from 6-9pm. Anyone is welcome to attend.


28-Feb-18 14

Marcia McCoy, Ph.D.

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