How to Shine and Polish your shoes or boots

Tan Boot

Nothing elevates a man's presentation quite like a pair of well-polished shoes.

Whether you're attending a wedding, graduation, or just another day at the office, a pair of polished shoes may help you stand out as a man who pays attention to detail.  

Giving your shoes a decent polish does more than improve their appearance; it also significantly increases their lifespan because their lifespan depends on how well conditioned and nourished the leather is. By learning how to shine your own shoes, you can finally afford to acquire a pair of high-quality dress shoes.

How To Polish Shoes In Five Simple Steps  

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies and Set The Stage

Shoe Polishing Tools

Gather all of your materials in one location so they're easily accessible. Spread an old towel or newspaper across the area you're going to work on. Even when you are really careful, shoe polish has an incredible capacity to get smeared everywhere.

  • A horsehair shoe brush
  • Leather conditioner/cleaner
  • Shoe cream and /or wax polish
  • A dry, cotton cloth

Step 2: Remove Laces

Remove the shoelaces to avoid getting shoe polish on them and to make the cleaning and polishing process easier.

Step 3: Clean Your Shoes

Remove any dust and debris from your shoes using a dry brush. To reach into tiny areas, you can dip the brush in a little bit of water, but be careful to allow the leather to completely dry before proceeding to the next step.

Horsehair bristles are used in the best shoe brushes. While they are slightly more expensive than synthetic bristle brushes, the quality difference is noticeable and will more than compensate for the additional cost over time.

Before proceeding to the following step, thoroughly inspect your shoes because remaining dirt specks can harm the leather during shining. Wipe them thoroughly with a dry, clean towel.

Step 4: Apply Conditioner

Shoe Polishing

Numerous footwear guides will advise you to polish your shoes at this time. We prefer to begin by using a leather cleaner/conditioner. There is no point in concealing surface filth beneath a coat of polish. Simply dab a small quantity all over the shoe, but test the product in an inconspicuous spot such as the top of the heel counter to check that discoloration is not an issue. 

Even if your shoes are not too dirty at this time, we recommend using a leather conditioner. Your shoes are essentially formed of animal skin and will constantly benefit from the nourishment that a high-quality leather conditioner provides. 

Step 5: Polish

Apply a good amount of polish to the entire shoe with your shoe polish brush. I use Saphir Creme Surfine, but make sure the polish matches the color of your shoe as nearly as possible or simply use a neutral color shoe polish. Ensure that you reach all the way down into the shoe's seams and strive to cover evenly with shine. Allow the polish to dry for 15 minutes. 

As needed, add additional polish. Continue until the shoe has taken on a waxy matte appearance. Apply polish to the welt, heel, and any other neglected areas with the welt brush or a toothbrush. Allow around ten minutes for the polish to dry. Buff the whole shoe with the horsehair buffing brush using fast side to side movements. A lovely shine will begin to emerge. Wipe away any excess wax with a rag, ensuring that every section of the shoe receives equal attention.

Step 6: Dry and Re-lace

Allow 20 to 30 minutes for your shoes to dry. Re-lace your shoes after they are entirely dry. Take delight in your nicely shined shoes. We recommend polishing them once a week, depending on the amount of time spent wearing them. If you only wear your dress shoes once a month, we recommend polishing them once a month or the night before. You'll be astonished at how much longer your shoes will last if you care for them properly. 

Best shoe conditioner and polishes brands:

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