Sometimes forgotten areas of shoe care like the sole and the gap between sole and upper have been covered here on Shoegazing before, now focus is on another part of the shoe that it’s common people miss during the regular care: the tongue.
If you have a derby, you can get to the tongue more naturally, and there it almost always gets a round of cream, but on oxfords it’s much more tricky, and therefore some people ignore this. They think that the tongue is protected anyway and will be fine. Of course, it’s not the most sensitive part of the shoe, but also the tongue benefits from being treated with shoe cream. It doesn’t risk drying out, the leather can withstand abrasion from the laces better, and it doesn’t risk getting a completely different shade than the rest of the shoe which can otherwise happen if it goes untreated for a really long time.
As mentioned, polishing the tongue of a close-laced oxford shoe can be a bit of a hassle, as most of us don’t remove the laces during the so-called everyday polishing that is done more regularly, and one often have shoe trees inserted during shining. But it’s not that bad. You peel off the shoe cover, and make sure you get a good grip with a cloth wrapped around your fingers or with a brush, if you use one. When it comes to brushing up the surface, skip the shoe brush, it won’t really reach down anyway, just take a nylon cloth (which you might use anyway for the final shine) and rub the tongue with it, very easy. It’s enough to only put shoe cream on the tongue, polish isn’t necessary here at all. That’s why I usually wait to brush up the tongue until I take out the nylon cloth after the wax polish is done.