Military high dress uniforms are the most formal uniforms in a service member's closet. Each branch has specific regulations regarding the wear and appearance of its dress uniform, and male and female protocols are different. The Army requires patent leather shoes, the Navy requires silk, suede or peau de soie, and the Marine Corps and Air Force accept plain or patent leather. Scuffs, dull spots and cracks are frowned upon in every branch. Some types of dress shoes, including those with decorative accents, are not permitted by military regulations. Branch-approved shoes are sold at Military Clothing and Sales stores.
Glossy military high dress shoes must be thoroughly cleaned before wear. To clean patent leather military high dress shoes, run a baby wipe or washcloth dampened in hot water over their surface. Use a clean, lint-free cloth to dry them immediately after cleaning to prevent water spots. If water spots appear on the shoes, they can usually be scrubbed away with a clean, dry cloth. For persistent water spots, dampen the cloth to scrub them away and dry the shoe immediately.
Polishing and Buffing Tips
Military high dress shoes should be buffed and polished to increase their shine. Using a clean, lint-free cloth, gently scrub each shoe in tight, circular motions. Large, stubborn scuff marks require vigorous scrubbing with a baby wipe or cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol. Do not use ammonia-based window cleaner on military high dress shoes; doing so can remove some of the protective gloss on the surface of the shoe.
The way you store military high dress shoes can have an impact on their high-gloss finish. Keep them in a cool, dry environment and avoid letting other shoes come into contact with them to prevent scuffs, scrapes and damage. Store them on their soles on a flat surface to prevent bends, creases and cracks. To keep dust and dirt off of your military high dress shoes, keep each shoe inside a black military dress sock when it is not being worn.
Branch Uniforms and Regulations
The Army requires female soldiers to wear closed-toe, black patent leather shoes with the high dress uniform; heels must be 3 inches or less, and the toes must have a rounded appearance, according to Army Regulation 670-1. Male soldiers must wear black patent leather shoes with no significant heel. In the Navy, males and females may wear white, tan or black shoes with high dress, and female heels are not permitted if they are over 2 5/8 inches. Female Air Force and Marine Corps personnel may wear heels up to 2 1/2 inches, and males must wear flat shoes. Air Force and Marine Corps high dress shoes do not have to be made of patent leather, but they must be black.