How to Shine Shoes That Would Make a Drill Sergeant Proud

December 11, 2023 By Isabelle Sophie Martinet

In these days of synthetic materials, shining shoes may not top your list of things to do but if you own good leather footwear then you ought to know the best way to make them look great. You probably already know this but a pair of really nice shined shoes will set off your appearance and but it also sends a message. Either this guy is successful enough that he can afford somebody to professionally shine his shoes, or this guy really cares about his appearance and the time he puts in polishing his shoes proves it.

Think about that for a moment. Remember the last time you noticed someone with really nice shined shoes? Didn’t you surreptitiously look down at your own to see how they stacked up? Nicely polished shoes are the exception today which means they are a great way to make a statement and get noticed.

So how do you go about getting that gleam you want?

The first things you need are leather shoes. Everything that follows only applies to uppers that are crafted out of leather and not some synthetic leather look-alike material.

Secondly put together a shoe shine kit. You’ll need paste wax in the color of your shoes, an old toothbrush, a shoe brush (preferably horsehair), a soft buffing cloth, black liquid shoe polish with a built in applicator, cotton balls (if you want a spit shine) some polish rags, latex gloves and a piece of pantyhose. Yeah that’s right pantyhose.

Step 1

Clean your shoes. We live in a dirty world and your shoes are always in contact with it. Wipe off the dust and then use a little water and wipe then down again and dry immediately. Use the toothbrush to get into the seams between the upper and the sole. Make sure you rinse the toothbrush when your done.

Step 2

Put on the gloves. If you’re like most guys you are shining your shoes just before you’re going out. If you don’t wear gloves you’re going to have polish stuck under your nails and that’s a bad thing. Apply the wax to the shoes and rub it in using a circular motion. If you want a hard shiny finish on the toes, use a cigarette lighter and apply heat to the toe caps. This opens the pours on the leather and will allow the wax to get deeper into the skin. Let the uppers dry for 15 minutes.

Step 3

While the uppers are drying, use the liquid black wax to treat the sole and the heel. Just apply and let dry. You may need to use the toothbrush to get at the threads that attach the sole to the upper.

Step 4

Brush the shoe. When you’re done brushing use the buffer cloth to bring out the shine. Now for you spit shine freaks, take a damp cotton ball and apply just a little wax to it and work that into the toe in short circular motions. You do this over and over again until you get a really glossy shine. The good news is this will last a while if you take care of it. Then you take the pantyhose and, holding the shoe between your knees, use both hands to buff the shoe. The fabric in the pantyhose will bring out an even brighter shine than the buffing cloth.

That’s it. You’re good to go and you will be looking fantastic!