How to Get the Best Shoe Polish and Shine Ever
Written by Jeff Jacobson
You cleaned and lint-rolled your suit, pressed your shirt, dug your nicest cuff links out of the drawer, and made sure the knot in your tie sits just so on your collar. All that’s left to do is slip on your shoes and head for the door. And that’s when you notice that your reliable oxford shoes you’ve been planning to wear to that party for weeks look like they have already been partying for weeks themselves. It’s time to roll up your sleeves, pull out your best shoe polish, and get shining. Read on to find out how.
Clean Them Off
First things first: Remove any solids (mud, dirt, dust, etc.) from the soles and uppers. If there’s any caked-on mud or dirt on the soles, you need merely to knock the heels together or on a hard surface. Just remember that if you do so indoors, knock the heels over a trash can or some newspaper to prevent a mess. For simple dust, bring out your horse hair brush and go over the entire shoe a few times, paying special attention to any decorative elements, as well as the seams.
Now that the solids have been removed, it’s time to apply some heel and sole edge dressing to your leather soles. (If the soles of your shoes aren’t leather, you can probably skip this step.) After applying the edge dressing, let dry for several minutes before continuing. Edge dressing stains, so be sure edges are dry before moving on to the next step.
Polish Them Up
Next, find the correct color polish. Many manufacturers offer shoe polish in a wax; however, Florsheim’s Black Shoe Creme is the best shoe polish option, as it won’t dry out your leather as wax polishes sometimes can. Using a polish dauber or clean, lint-free cloth, apply a generous amount of shoe creme all over the uppers (only do the leather portions of the uppers; never apply shoe creme on suede, canvas, or nubuck), again paying special attention to any decorative elements and seams.
Buff Them Out
After letting the polish sit for 10-15 minutes, buff out the polish using a different clean, lint-free cloth. This is the least fun but most productive part of the process, so don’t be shy about putting some elbow grease into it. It may not seem like it at first, but you’ll get out of it what you put into it, so sweat if you must.
After a thorough brushing with a cloth, continue brushing, now using your horse hair brush. It’s best to have several horse hair brushes and assign each a shoe creme color specific to that brush, as residual polish will often rub off onto the hairs.
Wipe Them Down
Finally, wipe the entire leather upper down with a shine sponge. And remember: When you’re done wearing any shoes, the best thing you can do to keep them looking great and lasting longer is to keep shoe trees in them. Voila! Task complete.
Read more on Shoe Care
Posted February 5, 2013
Tags: best shoe polish, brogueing, canvas, leather, nubuck, Suede