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How To Shine Shoes? The Ultimate Shoe Shining Guide

You know that feeling when you get a brand new car? The smell of fresh leather, the sheen of the paint under the sun. A new car isn’t just an investment, it’s a feeling. A new pair of shoes isn’t any different. 

Brand new shoes; especially the footwear that is made from leather, smells luxurious and look divine. They smell extraordinary and they are pretty to look at. Every shoe shopping story plays out in a similar way. You see a pair of shining shoes, you buy them, wear them a couple of times and then they start to get weary.

You no longer see the pair of shining shoes you bought anymore. To be honest, it’s our own fault. We have forgotten how to care for shoes. And to spit out facts, the only times we’ve heard of ‘polishing shoes’, is in movies portraying the 17th or 18th centuries. 

Do Your Shoes Need Shining? 

Do Your Shoes Need Shining? 

Hold On! Before rushing to the bottom of this article; to figure out what shoe polishing supplies you need; why not see if your shoes actually need a shoe shine? 

The more you wear your shoes, the more the chances are they need to be cleaned. If your pair of shoes are brand new and shiny, then you don’t need to go crazy with the supplies yet. But, if your shoes have lost their luster and are looking rather dull, then a shoe shine is your best option. 

The Essential Shoe Shine Supplies 

The Essential Shoe Shine Supplies 

When it comes to shoes there are so many different materials available. Leather, suede, polyester, and the list goes on. Even leather has so many different types. The importance of knowing your fabric is that it decides the shoe shine techniques you can use on them. 

If you want to know how to shine shoes without polish then a toothbrush, a cotton rag and a pair of gloves should be enough for you. The shoes will be clean but not polished. If you want the real deal then you are going to have to use polish. 

There are many sorts of balms and polishes available – in different colors and textures – that make the shoe shining process so much easier. Different shoe brushes are also important to get into the nooks and crannies of your favorite pair of shoes. Once you have gathered all the essentials, it’s time to shine your shoes. 

How To Shine Your Shoes 

How To Shine Your Shoes 

Alrighty then, it’s time to shoe shine!  Down below we answer all your questions like, “How to make shoes shine like glass? ” and “How to shine leather shoes?” Start by grabbing the pair of shoes that needs to be polished. 

  1. Prepare Your Shoes 

Before jumping straight into the polish, it is important to give your shoes a good clean. Glove up and wipe the shoes with a cloth (or shoe brush), to remove any sort of dirt or dust. You want to make sure the shoes aren’t wet and remember to remove any laces; so that it doesn’t get stained with polish later on.

Run the brush in a back and forth motion to remove any dirt. Doing this will ensure an even layer of polish all over your shoes so that you end up with shining shoes. 

  1. Know Your Shoe Fabric 

Leather shoes are the usual receivers of shoe shining. As mentioned before leather has many types. Real vs faux leather, soft vs hard, distressed leather vs clean leather and the list goes on and on. 

Before applying any sort of polish, you have to assess the kind of hide you own. For shoes made of more tough leather, waxing and buffing is the way to go. However, softer leathers require more care. Cremes and conditioners are necessary to keep them soft and fresh. Add a bit of product on a rag, or a brush, and rub in circular motions on the shoe. 

  1. Time For Polish 

As we have established, leather comes in all sorts. All leather develop patina in a different way. This is how you distinguish between top-grain leather from its flimsy counterparts. Crazy horse leather is one such type that actually looks better the more you wear it. It’s as good as it gets and would hence not require shoe shining that often. 

With that being said, most leather does require to be polished. So, firstly take a welt brush and apply a bit of polish all over the welt for a professional result. Next, take a bit of polish on a rug and rub it all over the shoe in circular motions. Remember to apply pressure to bring out a nice shine. You can add polish little by little, just until the shined shoes look glowy. 

  1. Drying Time 

Once you’ve applied the polish all over the shoes, not forgetting the sides and heels, you can rest. “How long does it take for shoe polish to dry?” Well, it takes around 20 minutes, but it is better to leave the shoes overnight to really allow the polish to sink into the pores and give an even sheen. We want shining shoes now don’t we? 

  1. Brushing Time 

Now that the shoe polish is dry, and the shoes shined, you can take a polishing brush and brush the shoe using long firm strokes. This will remove the excess polish and will also bring out a higher shine. Once you’ve brushed the shoes, re-lace them. You are now ready to step into the world with a pair of shiny shoes. 

Additional Shoe Maintenance Hacks

I’m sure the question, “How often should you shine your shoes?” is on your mind. Well, honestly it depends on the quality and type of  leather the shoe is made from. the style of it, and how often you wear it. 

You can avoid having to frequently shine your shoes just by using a few simple tricks. 

  • Always make sure your shoes aren’t wet as this will just ruin the material and the overall appearance of the leather. 
  • Store your shoes in the boxes they come in and wrap them with paper.
  • Add in silicon packets to keep the leather fresh. 
  • Avoid wearing the same shoe every day to increase its wear life.  

These little tricks can give you shining shoes without you having to shoe shine religiously. 

Shoe Shining Is Back And For All The Right Reasons!

Let’s face it. With all the advancements in technology and science, we have become lazy. Something as simple as shoe shining has become a task for us. Sometimes it’s important to take a step back and do things the old-fashioned way.

Polishing leather shoes and knowing how to use polish may sound outdated, but trust us, your shoes need this. So, to sum it all up, if you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on new pairs of shoes every year, it’s best you invest in a good shoe polishing kit. Plus, who doesn’t love a pair of shining shoes? 


Shoe shining is what we like to call a lost art. It’s a budget friendly technique that allows your shoes to thrive for years. All it requires is a little bit of skill, some products and patience. Think you can handle it?  Grab your shoes and get to shining! 

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