How to Polish Shoes: Tips and Tricks for a Perfect Finish

how to polish shoes

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Polishing your shoes is a great way to keep them looking their best. In addition, it can also help to prolong the life of your shoes. There are a few different ways that you can shoe polish to clean your shoes, and the method that you use will depend on the type of shoe that you have. Moreover, the material of your shoe will also dictate how you go about polishing it. To be more specific, this guide specifically applies to leather shoes because of their material.

Below, we will show you how to polish shoes for shining and long-lasting shoes.

How To Polish Shoes

Step 1. Prepare The Materials Needed

Shoe shining is comparable to painting in that the items are spread all over the place. There’s no way to avoid it, so the best thing you can do is brace yourself and prepare as thoroughly as possible.

A newspaper or an old towel are both good options for this. The towel is preferable because it is recyclable, which makes it more environmentally friendly.

We recommend trimming or removing laces where necessary and keeping your shoe trees before applying the shoe polish.

Step 2: Brush Your Shoes

Brush your shoes before adding any genuine shoe polish. This cleans the shoes’ surface dust and other impurities, as well as on the inside of the welt, which is wherein the upper meets the sole. Stuff gets trapped in it like nobody’s business, and there’s no better time to get rid of it than now.

It’s as simple as it sounds: apply light pressure against the shoe and move it back and forth.

The finest shoe brushes are made with horsehair bristles. Although they are somewhat more costly than synthetic bristles brushes, the gap in quality is enormous and will pay itself several times over.

Step 3: Condition The Shoes

Many shoe shops will advise you to polish at this stage. We like to use a leather cleaner or conditioner first. There is no sense in keeping old surface grime beneath a layer of polish. All you have to do is dab a tiny amount around the shoe, but please test the product in an inconspicuous location such as the top of the heel counter to ensure that color discoloration isn’t an issue.

Even if your shoes aren’t filthy, we still advise applying a leather conditioner at this time. Your shoes are composed of animal skin, so they always benefit from the nourishment that a high-quality leather conditioner can provide, no matter how dirty they are.

Step 4: Polish The Shoes

It is now the appropriate time to apply polish your shoes. Use a shoe brush or if you have a buffing brush with horsehair bristles, you may use that, but any dry, soft cloth will do the job just as well. In point of fact, we favor using soft cotton fabric since it provides a greater level of control over the amount of substance that is absorbed.

You don’t want to overdo the polish. Begin by dabbing a nickel-sized amount into the top of the shoe. When you’re done, the application will be uneven with a matte shine. Don’t worry, this will be dealt with later in the process.

Make sure the cream color you choose is identical to, or close to, the hue of your footwear. If your shoes are an unusual hue, opt for a bland shoe cream instead.

You’ll want to keep at least two horsehair brushes on hand if you choose to apply black polish, dark brown, tan, and whatever else colors you desire.

After the polish has been applied, you have a number of options. You can leave the shoes to dry for as long as you like. The aim is for the polish to get into the leather and nourish it, so letting it sit longer allows it to do so. Just be patient.

Step 5: Buff The Shoes

Once the polish has dried over the entire shoe, it’s time to buff and give them a nice shine. A soft brush or even a dry, soft polishing cloth should work perfectly for this purpose.

The key here is to add pressure as you buff in order to raise the fibers of the leather. This is how you achieve that high shine. Be especially careful when polishing around decorative details like perforations. In addition, it is important to avoid getting the polish on the soles of your shoes.

Step 6: Apply Wax Polish (Optional)

This step is entirely optional, but if you want an extra level of shine, you can apply a thin layer of wax polish. This product contains more pigment than shoe cream and will give your shoes a deeper luster.

Again, use a small amount of wax polish and work it into the leather with a brush or cloth. Let the wax dry for about five minutes before continuing to the next step.

Step 7: Buff The Shoes Again

After the wax has dried, it’s time to buff your shoes again. This time, use a different horsehair brush or cloth rather than what you used in Step 5 so as not to reapply the polish from Step 5.

You’ll notice that the wax gives your shoes a different kind of shine than the cream polish. This is due to the fact that wax creates a protective layer on top of the leather, whereas shoe cream actually penetrates into the leather itself.

Both methods have their advantages, so it really comes down to personal preference as to which one you use.

Step 8: Remove Excess Polish (Optional)

If you’ve applied too much polish, or if you simply want a less shiny finish, you can remove excess polish with a clean cloth. Simply dab the cloth onto the shoe and buff away any excess product.

And that’s it! You’re now ready to take on the world with your newly polished shoes. Just remember to repeat this process every few weeks (or sooner if necessary) to keep your shoes looking their best.

Final Thoughts

The shoe shining process is one that is and doesn’t require any special skills or equipment. With a little time and effort, you can easily achieve a high-quality shine that will make your shoes look their best. Just remember to use the appropriate products for the job and to take your time. With a little practice, you’ll be polishing your own shoes like a pro in no time.

How to Polish Shoes: Tips and Tricks for a Perfect Finish 1

Marilyn Chase

Marilyn Chase writes fashion articles for luxury power houses that want to see their brands surge. Her articles have appeared in various North American and Western European websites. She contributes articles about design, craftsmanship, and manufacturing techniques in fashion. Her articles focus on trends and research supported by first hand interviews and pictures. She is qualified by extensive experience and a degree in fashion from New York.

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