Sometimes forgotten areas when polishing shoes, such as the sole edge and the gap between the sole and upper have been highlighted here on the blog before, now to focus a bit extra on another part of the shoe where it’s common that people miss giving it regular care: the tongue.

If you have a derby, you get access to the tongue more naturally, and there it almost always gets a round or two of shoe cream, but with oxfords it’s much more inconvinient and therefore some ignore it. One think that the tongue is still protected and manages well anyway. Of course, it’s not the most exposed part of the shoe, but the tongue also do good when treated with shoe polish. This means that it doesn’t risk drying out, the leather can withstand abrasion from the shoelaces better, and it doesn’t risk getting a different shade than the rest of the shoe, which can otherwise happen if it goes a really long time between nourishment.

Not the best picture, but here is a derby boot where the tongue has not received shoe polish regularly over the years. As you can see, it’s significantly more bright than the rest of the shoe. Picture: Loomstate

Polishing the tongue on an oxford shoe with closed lacing can, as mentioned, be a bit truícky, as most of us do not remove the shoelaces during the so-called everyday polishing you do. But it’s not that complicated really. You remove the shoe tree, and make sure to access it properly with a cloth wrapped around your fingers or with a brush, if you use this. When you are going to brush up the surface, skip the brush, it still will not get acces, but just take a nylon cloth (which you hopefully already use for brining out the last shine, since it’s excellent for this) and buff the tongue with it, no problems at all. I just put cream on the tongue, polish does no good there. Therefore, I usually wait to buff up the tongue until I take out the nylon cloth after the wax polish is done.