How to Polish Shoes

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

When you invest in a quality pair of leather shoes, you’ll need to polish them from time to time. This will make them look like they’re new for much longer. But how do you correctly polish shoes?

It’s not a skill you learn in school, nor something most parents teach their kids. In this article, we’ll provide all the important details on the steps you need to take to make your shoes shine.

Step 1. Choosing the Shoe Polish

Picking the right shoe polish will be the first, and likely the most important step towards a perfectly polished pair of shoes. There are many options on the market.

You can go with cream polish, wax, and even water-based products. It’s all a matter of preference and the effect you’re trying to achieve.

The wax and cream shoe polish varieties are usually more substantial, but they’ll provide better protection for your leather shoes overall. They’re also exceptionally useful when it comes to adding water-resistant properties to your shoes.

On the other hand, using water-based shoe polish is quicker and will give you the shine you’re looking for much faster. But you can’t expect any long-lasting results from it.

Apart from choosing the consistency and quality of the shoe polish, pay close attention when picking the color too. Naturally, it needs to match the color of the shoes perfectly, otherwise your shoes might end up with a messy finish.

Step 2. Choosing the Applicator

When you’ve selected the shoe polish, the next step is to decide what kind of applicator you need. It doesn’t have to be some special tool or brand to get the job done.

Most people simply opt for an old T-shirt or another type of soft cotton material. If you don’t want to ruin your clothes, you can also go with a cotton swab or an old toothbrush that will be able to reach all the nooks other applicators can’t.

The DIY route is more than enough for some, but others would prefer to buy a quality brush for the specific purpose of polishing their shoes.

Many shoe brands make excellent stiff-bristled brushes that often match their shoe models. But you can even look for unique kits with various kinds of shoe polishing brushes you can use for all your shoes.

For example, you’ll probably need a softer, long-bristled brush to remove all the remaining polish from the shoes.

But remember, when you’re polishing your shoes, make sure to have some paper underneath. This will ensure that the cleaning process is much easier, and you won’t get any of the polish on your floors.

Step 3. Polishing Process

Now that you have your shoe polish, the applicator of choice, and your floors are protected – it’s time to start polishing. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Make sure your shoes are clean of any dirt. You don’t want any trapped debris smudged all over your shoes. If your shoes have shoelaces, it’s probably best to remove them too. Then use a damp cloth and clean your shoes thoroughly.
  2. Take a little bit of polish with the applicator and start applying it to your shoes. Small circular movements are recommended. Also, there’s no need to go fast immediately. How much pressure you’ll apply will depend on your shoes’ condition. But in most cases, medium pressure is excellent.
  3. When you reach the areas of your shoes that are in the worse shape, feel free to add extra shoe polish and spend more time working in it. In most cases, that’s either toes or heels, but often both.
  4. When you’re done with the first coating of polish, let your shoes dry completely.
  5. After that, you can decide if your shoes need an extra layer. If you’re looking for more intense color or think that they need more attention, repeat the process. It’s also worth noting that you should never use too much shoe polish at once.
  6. Finally, use the soft brush or the T-shirt again to get rid of any excess shoe polish. This is where you can apply quick strokes and add special brushing techniques. Your shoes might well become warmer, which will help the shoe polish to soak into the leather more efficiently.
How to Polish Shoes

Step 4. Adding the Extra Shine

Polishing your shoes doesn’t always mean making them so shiny you can see your reflection in them. But if you want, that’s precisely what you can get.

For the maximum shine, or the “Military Shine,” as it’s often referred to, you need to administer a different kind of technique. The recommended applicator is definitely the soft cloth, which you need to put over your index and middle finger.

To achieve the perfect shine, you’ll need a little bit of water. This will break the polish down. Merely dab the cotton cloth in the water, add shoe polish, and start applying to your shoes with the slow circular motions.

After a while, your shoes will start looking shinier and shinier, but you might have to be patient. Remember to remove the shoe polish residue and leave your shoes to dry.

Benefits of Shining Your Shoes

You might be keener on learning how to polish shoes when you understand all the benefits of doing it. Regular shoe polishing will nourish the leather and keep it soft and much more comfortable to wear.

Your beloved shoes will show fewer signs of cracking, and look far more attractive. Besides, even when you wear the perfect outfit, unpolished shoes will ruin the overall effect.

Final Thoughts

Polishing your shoes might not be something you necessarily enjoy doing.  But if you’re passionate about buying and maintaining a gorgeous pair of leather shoes, then you’ll probably want to know how to polish shoes to perfection.

The “Military Shine” might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s undoubtedly a nice trick to learn.

As for regular shoe polishing, remember – small dabs of shoe polish, an applicator that works for you, and circular motions. Also, never forget to remove the remaining shoe polish with a soft brush when you’re done.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

shares
Special offer for our visitors

Get your Free Gentleman's Guide

We will never send you spam. By signing up for this you agree with our privacy policy and to receive regular updates via email in regards to industry news and promotions