A Beginner's Guide to Shoe Shining

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Every responsible shoe owner will need to learn their way around a shoe polishing kit. Polishing your shoes well not only ensures they will continue to look fantastic, it will also help to keep your shoes in the best possible condition.

If you’ve never shined a pair of shoes before, you’ll need to gather a shoe shining kit. 

This should include:

A shoe brush

Shoe brushes are used at two stages in the shoe polishing process: giving your shoes an initial brush down to remove dirt and dust, and for applying leather cleaner and/or shoe polish.

Soft cloths

Cloths are an excellent gentle tool to use to apply shoe polish, remove cleaner and dab shoes dry. You can use microfibre-style clothes for this, or you can cut up an old t-shirt. Both types of cloth will probably be just as effective.

Shoe polish

Shoe polish is used to add colour and shine to leather shoes. There are two main types of polish: cream and wax. Cream polish will generally give a richer colour, whereas wax polish is designed to add shine. You’ll need to purchase a pot of polish in the right shade for each pair of shoes you want to polish.

Leather cleaner and conditioner

Though leather cleaner and conditioner aren’t always necessary, they’re a nice thing to have in your shoe polishing arsenal. Leather cleaner can help to clean shoes that have picked up more than their fair share of grime. Leather conditioner can help to improve the condition of leather shoes that are starting to dry out or become brittle.

Once you’ve got all your tools to hand, we suggest you set out an old towel and get to work! Perfectly shined shoes take a fair bit of elbow grease, but putting in the time to do it will benefit you in both the short term and the long. 

Want to read more about increasing the lifespan of your shoes? Here’s our advice on how to make your shoes last a lifetime.

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