Have your shoes polished in India

When you are out and about in the markets of India, don’t be put off by those who come and approach you and offer you to polish your shoes. Its part and parcel of the Indian experience! You might feel a little intimidated about the situation but these shoe polishers (or shoe shiners or boot polishers – whatever you like to call them) are actually trying to make a living. They are not begging or trying to con you, they are simply offering a service which you will not get anywhere in the western world.

Try getting your shoes repaired in Britain or the USA, they’re not cheap, you might as well throw it way and buy a new pair. But in India, it’s different; we tend to repair it till it completely disintegrates. In western countries, people polish their own shoes but in India, having your shoes polished is so cheap that many some people don’t bother buying shoe polishes and brushes. They just have it on the go.

Shoe Shiner in India.
Shoe Shiner in India: The roads of India is dusty. You will need a shoe polish in no time.

Shoe shiners might have phased out in Western nations but it still exists in India and some other parts of the world. But nonetheless, these shoe polishers in the streets do exist and its worth having it done. In fact, they can repair shoes as well. Shoe polishers are usually concentrated at large gatherings such as near the railways platforms, bus stops, markets and so on. The price for shoe polish is around 20 Rupees but if you get it repaired then it will cost a bit extra. The shoe polisher will ask you to take your shoes off one by one while he polishes or will ask you to place your foot on a pedestal.

Travel India: Enjoying India to the Fullest: Things to do in India

However, there is one sad element to this. Many of these shoe shiners are mainly children. Rather than going to school, they have to go out and make a living polishing shoes. So rather than ignoring and shooing them off, try their services!

Shoe repair in India
Shoe repair in India: My husband getting his boot repaired and polished. I think he paid around 50 Rupees.

So don’t be put off and if you do have your shoe polished, you will be doing the shoe shiners a favour. The income earned by these boys is a significant proportion for their family and it prevents them slipping into begging or crime. In many of these cases, fathers of these boys have probably died or cannot work and therefore they are simply supplementing the family’s income. While for some polishing shoes are the only income. It does sound heartbreaking but it’s the ground reality. In some cities, shoe shiners need a licence to operate and have their Shoeshine Association.

If you want to get to know the real India and enjoy India to the fullest, then you might wish to take a look at this ebook.

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17 thoughts on “Have your shoes polished in India”

  1. Yes Shalu madam, the polish our shoes is cheaper than other countries, my bro also in America, he told this, if their shoes or other are old they don’t go for repair, because it is costly, they can buy the same amount which is expend on repair, but in India that is different, in small towns very cheap, it is below 50/-

  2. Another book! Aww, you really inspire me! I haven’t had my shoe polished in India, as I wore sneakers when I went there. We had shoe polish boys here in the Philippines as well, but I don’t see them much nowadays.

  3. Great Article Shalu,
    Shoe-man is hardworking guy and I think their wages should be increased.
    Good topic covered! 🙂

  4. The polish our shoes is cheaper than other countries, my bro also in America, he told this, if their shoes or other are old they don’t go for repair . It is a real work.
    Thanks for this post.

  5. Hi!
    Any honest work is worthy of respect.
    Many millionaires started shining shoes.

    In addition, this profession teaches to accuracy when wearing shoes.

    Thanks for the interesting stuff!

  6. First of all I am very grateful, You gave us a very important.
    Froskie is one of the top brands in India which sell designer shoes for men like Leather, Canvas, Loafer & more type of designer shoes.

  7. I had a chance to travel to India once, it was a very beautiful country with nice people, no didn’t try polishing my shoes in India, but after reading your article it feels like I could try that too, it cost more here in the US, usually I brought another shoe instead of repairing them cause it’s the same price that gonna cost for both.


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