How to Shine a Shoe

If your leather shoes aren’t kept up, what's next? Your home, your car, YOUR LIFE? People might assume things about you (and it ain’t going to be pretty). So why sabotage your swag? Shining your shoes doesn’t take long, and—let's be honest—it’s pretty cool to own a shine kit.

all the tools you need to shine a shoe

First thing’s first, here are the essential tools needed to polish your shoes:

  • 6-inch horsehair brush for buffing
  • Professional shine cloth
  • Shoe polish in your desired color, or clear
  • Applicator brush or foam sponge
  • Polish brush
  • Leather cleaner (optional)

Now, roll up your sleeves and remove your laces—it’s time to shine your shoes in five easy steps. Make sure you cover your work area with an old towel, and stuff your shoe with newspaper.

Step 1: Wipe the Shoe Down

Using warm water and diluted dish soap (or leather cleaner) on a cloth, gently wipe the exterior of your shoe.

Step 2: Remove Excess Dirt

Buff with a clean horsehair brush to remove excess dirt.

Step 3: Apply the Polish

Using the foam sponge or round applicator brush, apply an even, thin layer of polish in a circular motion. Take care to get it into every crevice, including the area between the heel and shoe uppers. Allow 15 minutes for polish to dry.

Step 4: Buff the Shoes

Next, use the horsehair brush to buff your shoes vigorously—in long strokes. The goal is to remove excess polish and give it a good shine. Pay more attention to the toe and heel until you’ve reached your desired shininess level. Repeat steps 3 & 4 as needed.

Step 5: Remove the Remaining Polish

Lastly, hold your shoe still and use your shine cloth to buff with a brisk side-to-side motion, removing any remaining polish.

Your life, car and house may still be a disaster. But your shoes will be impeccable. And, hey, that’s what really counts.

Now that you are an expert on shining shoes, are you ready to schedule a Fix? It only takes a few minutes and an expert stylist is waiting to lend a hand. Take your style quiz, order a Fix and sit back and relax. Shipping and returns are always free. 

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