A good shoe polishing technique will not only make your shoes look great, it will also extend their life. Learning how to polish your own shoes will give you a great sense of satisfaction and save you a lot of money over the years. Shoe polishing is very easy to do, once you have the right materials and a little patience.
When dressing for formal events, a pair of carefully shined shoes (ideally with some statement laces) is a definite must. Just this small detail can give your outfit a more put together and proper feel.
Use a dry brush to remove any dust and dirt from your shoes. You can use the welt brush and water to get into small spaces, but make sure to let the leather dry completely before moving on to the next step. Scrub the welt of any dirt or grime with your small brush.
If you are dyeing shoes a new color, we recommend you first use Lincoln Dry Cleaner and Spot Remover to strip away old layers of shoe polish. Use the wool dauber (included) to apply the dye in even coats.
This guide covers recommendations for all the essentials of calfskin leather shoe maintenance, including shoe trees, shoe brushes (both full size for cleaning or buffing and dauber size for applying cleaner or polish), leather cleaner, leather conditioner, cream polish, and wax polish for both a mirror shine and a long-lasting glow.
I also spoke with two well-regarded experts in the leather world: Nick Horween, the director of Horween Leathers, the oldest continuously running tannery in the United States; and Justin Fitzpatrick, owner of The Shoe Snob Blog, one of the most prominent voices in shoe care.
If you own leather shoes, you should care for them. And caring for your shoes requires supplies and tools. If you currently depend on your local shoe-shine stand for even the most routine shoe-care needs but want to start taking things into your own hands, whether for pleasure or for economic reasons, this guide will give you the product guidance necessary to build your own shoe-care kit. Similarly, if you already have a shoe-shine routine but are finding yourself disappointed with the results, this guide might help you discover products that will produce better results.
Although we made our picks by testing on high-end Allen Edmonds shoes, these products will work just as well on cheaper shoes and on even higher-end shoes. However, we limited our focus to shoe-care products for calfskin leather shoes, a category that includes most dress or casual leather shoes and boots. If you have shoes made of suede, roughout, waxed flesh, shell cordovan (the material, not the color), or some other niche material, some or most of these products may not apply to your situation.
Even if you lack the budget or time to dedicate to shining your shoes, you should get in the habit of passively caring for them. This approach requires almost no equipment, and anyone with leather shoes should make an effort to follow it.
Keep a closer eye on your shoes when the weather is foul; if it's exceptionally wet outside, you might forgo wearing your shoes outside for that day. Waterlogged leather (which will feel \"swollen\" and look dark from absorbing water) loses its essential oils quickly as it dries, and it becomes susceptible to brittleness and even cracking. The same advice goes for snowy conditions, where the combination of wet snow and road salt can quickly take years off of the life of your shoes.
How often you have to actively care for your shoes depends not only on how well you passively care for them but also on your wearing habits: how often you wear them, what kinds of surfaces you walk on, how long you wear them each day, and even what season it is. Fitzpatrick noted to us that \"one does not need to shine his/her shoes more than once a week.\" If you are exceptionally hard on your shoes, if you have only one pair of shoes, or if you wear them in heavy rain or snow, you may need to tend to them more frequently.
This guide covers five tools and supplies that we have found through our research, our interviews with experts, and our in-store testing with Stanley Mayes to be indispensable components of your shoe-care routine.
A shoe brush is an essential tool for cleaning off dust from your shoes and for buffing in moisturizers and polishes. While any horsehair brush will work, our testing found that paying more than the minimum amount to get a more effective tool is a worthwhile investment.
While any old rag will work for cleaning and polishing your shoes, a shoe-specific brush is a must-have for everyday maintenance, and you would be hard-pressed to find something lying around your house that does what a good shoe brush does. Commonly made from horsehair, the bristles on a shoe-shine brush are delicate enough as to not scratch the surface of the leather but stiff enough to remove dirt and debris and to work polish up to a shine. Although shoe-shine brushes can be made from more exotic materials, horsehair is consistently accepted as being an ideal bristle material for most shining and cleaning purposes. The brush should be a good enough size such that using the brush is not tedious in any manner or hard to grip. With that in mind, we were able to narrow the field of brushes down to three contenders: the ubiquitous shoe-shine brush made by Kiwi, a more luxe version made by Allen Edmonds, and an elegant and slightly more spendy horsehair brush made by Kirby Allison.
Lexol Leather Cleaner, on the other hand, had difficulty removing the old polish that had built up on the shoe. It did an adequate job dealing with small stains on the surface, but only with some serious working by Mayes did it manage to lift a nominal amount of the old polish. Removing old polish is an important step, as old polish can suspend dirt and other grime that then gets sealed underneath a new polish layer, where it can rub against the leather. The Lexol cleaner was gentle, as promised, but it also produced a noticeably tacky feeling on the shoe, meaning that it left behind some residue.
After reading through 20-plus-page debates about conditioner choice on menswear forums, reading shoe-care guides, speaking with leather-care experts and tanners, and conducting in-store testing with Stanley Mayes and his crew, I can say with confidence that Saphir Renovateur is worth the extra cost over Venetian Leather Balm and Lexol Leather Conditioner.
I left five top-rated cream and wax polishes with Stanley Mayes so that he could use them on shoes that came into his store that were of a suitable color. After two and a half weeks of in-shop testing, and 20-plus hours spent reading shoe-care guides, interviewing shoe-care experts, and trying to track down MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) information on the polishes, we came to some conclusions.
Lincoln Stain Wax Shoe Polish was better at producing the classic mirror-like shine that many people expect from a wax polish. Mayes pulled down a pair of walnut-tan oxfords he had cleaned and shined using the Lincoln wax polish. As you can see in the photo (especially when you compare these shoes with the boots that Mayes shined with the Saphir product), the Lincoln polish gave the shoe leather an almost glasslike surface and texture. This glasslike surface did a better job of obscuring some of the micro-creases that had formed in the natural flex points of the shoe.
Now comes the fun part. To begin, dab a small amount of polish on your old T-shirt or stiff-bristled brush and begin applying the polish by using small, circular patterns. Using a medium amount of pressure, continue applying until you notice the polish is equally distributed. Continue this process across both shoes until each sport an even amount of shine. Do keep in mind heavily worn areas of the shoe (i.e. the heel or toe) may require more polish, so pay extra attention while working near these spots.
Use your shoe brush to remove any excess shoe polish from your shoes. This can be done with quick, short brush strokes in a repetitive motion. This allows the polish to sink deeper into the leather while helping you achieve an even, consistent look.
Our premium Liquid Shoe Polish offers superior coverage and self-shining with no buffing required. That includes protecting from water spots and restoring the original finish hidden beneath the natural weathering. When using the product, you can help keep the applicator soft by rinsing it with warm water and blotting it after use.
We carry a variety of options; choose from black, gray, navy blue, red, and brown shoe polish to match every pair of shoes in your wardrobe. Get ready to fall in love with your footwear all over again!
Fix your boots and shoes upright to be ready for every new day. Our premium Liquid Polish goes on easily and restores the color and appearance of leather. Choose from six options to match your footwear.
Our effortless liquid polish formula is so much easier and quicker to use than traditional shoe polish. No buffing time or grunt work is needed. The color blends perfectly to conceal scuffs and hide blemishes. Great for touching up while on the go.
Red Moose utilizes a dry-bright, non-toxic wax formula that requires no buffing. Excellent coverage per application. Protects leather from water spots. Combine with our Foaming Shoe Cleaner for optimal 2-step shoe care that lasts! 781b155fdc