Well I must throw in a disclaimer, everything I am going to say is not gospel by any means but it should be enough to put you on the way to a better shoe shine. For me I have been wearing the same Government Issued shoes from Boot Camp for 10 years and they don’t look a day over 30.
First things first, buy a good quality shoe. You can put a nice paint job on a car but that doesn’t mean the engine will last.
Get some supplies, Polish/Wax, Horsehair Brush, Polish Application Brush, Buffing Cloth, Cotton Rag, and Saddle Soap/Mink and/or Neatsfoot Oils
What I use
- Kiwi Shoe Polish Kit available at any drug store. No need to spend a grip on fancy stuff when this works just fine but throw away the polish (I am not a fan of Kiwi).
- Lincoln Polish
- Old white cotton T-Shirt (Rag).
Here are the steps for a good polish.
1. Warm shoes; Run them under some hot tap water just enough to warm the leather, DO NOT SOAK. Buff dry with your rag, this will also clean your shoes too.
2. Put a small amount of polish on applicator brush and apply to shoes in circular motion, pay extra attention to the heel and the toe.
3. Let polish sit on shoes for a few minutes. Preferably under a lamp to keep warm.
4. Brush the shoe with the Horse Hair Brush in a side-to-side motion; really put some elbow grease in it. Make sure you get entire shoe, once again paying attention the heel and toe.
5. Repeat steps 2 and 4.
6. Put shoe on.
7. Take buffing cloth and run it over the shoe in a brisk back and forth motion, until shine. By now you should know what spots to pay attention.
If you have some extra time on your hands go for the spit shine. After you do the steps listed above continue with these steps.
1. Take that old cotton T-Shirt/Rag and wrap it around you middle and index fingers.
2. Put a little polish on, then dip in water (don’t need to use spit)
3. Rub in a circular motion, a haze will form but don’t worry. Keep going until you can see yourself in them.
4. Buff to finish.
** You could just spit shine the toe area and it will look real sharp…
No edge dressing needed (I don’t like it because it is messy and dose not look right), just shine the edge along with the shoe itself.
Shining brand new shoes will take you longer then an older pair will but don’t be discouraged. After two or so shines you will be amazed at how well they will take it.
When you are not wearing your shoes put them on a Shoe Tree or in a Shoe Box until you do. Take care of them and they will take care of you.
Shoe shining is a messy task so lay down some newspaper. You don’t want to dirty the surface you are polishing on. Be sure not to over shine or the polish will crack.
Lastly, apply Mink Oil, Neatsfoot Oil, or Saddle Soap to the shoes (as directed) once and a while. It will remove the excess polish and condition the leather.
If all else fails give up two bits to MTSSB and watch a pro in action.
And that’s the way it is… enjoy!