In Your Complete Guide to Shining Men’s Shoes - The Tools, we looked at the tools and polishes you need to keep your shoes looking great and lasting longer.
Today, we’ll show you how to wield those tools, apply those polishes and get a mirror-like shine on your shoes every time.
The Technique of Shining Men’s Shoes
Like anything, it takes practice to get really good at keeping the shine on your shoes. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll be trying to outdo yourself every time you shine.
1. Remove the Laces
Not even to pro shiners in the best hotels do this one. There’s nothing that looks more amateur than polish on your laces. And nothing that looks more professional than a consistent shine, even under the laces.
2. Clean the Shoes
Apply a small amount of conditioner or cleaning solution to your shoes with one of the cotton chamois cloths. Rub hard enough to get rid of dirt, but not so hard that you remove the shoe colour. You’ll also be removing the previous cream and wax polish in this process.
3. Apply the Cream Polish
Use small amounts at a time using a chamois. Use your best judgement as to how much is needed to actually condition the leather and no more. Too much will affect the wax application later on and too little will strip the leather of the conditioner.
Some shoe shine pros recommend using your bare fingers for polishing to get an actual feel of it working on the leather. That’s also a good way of getting to know exactly how much polish to use.
4. Brush the Shoes
With the conditioners and polishes applied, you can use a bit of force here. This is definitely not a buff. Go over the entire shoe looking to keep the shine consistent throughout. Also look for any details in the leather where either conditioner or polish may have collected. Make sure to brush along the creases, not across them, that are back from the toes of shoes.
5. Wipe the Shoes
Using a chamois, give the shoes a good wiping. This wipes off any remaining polish that didn’t get absorbed into the leather.
6. Apply the Wax Polish
Again, apply sparing amounts of wax polish to start bringing out the real shine. Following a similar process as applying the cream wax, use a chamois or your fingers to apply the wax in small amounts. Unlike the cream polish, you can apply more layers of wax, up to four or five, as needed.
7. Wipe With a Slightly Damp Chamois
Adding a bit of moisture to your chamois when polishing after the wax application is what creates a mirror-like shine. You can even continue to add small amounts of wax and moisture to the cloth as you polish. The secret to this step is to polish in a circular motion with the cloth wrapped tightly around your fingers. Creases in the part of the cloth that contacts the leather will leave streaks. Polish until you get the level of shine you want.
Of course, going through a proper process of shining men’s shoes isn’t really worth it if the shoes don’t deserve it. Find the shoes that make a sharp-dressed man right here at Ed’s Fine Imports.