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21st Century Shoeshine Service

Shoe Care Tips

1) Use Wooden Shoe Trees

2) Rotate Your Shoes

3) Use a Shoe Horn

4) Polishing Techniques

There are many different ways to professionally polish a pair of shoes, from a 'commercial' shine – such as that offered by Shoeshine Express – to a 'military' or 'butlers' shine, which takes many layers of polish and literally hours including drying time between the stages.

To achieve a high shine in your own home, allow at least 10 minutes for the shoes to dry in between each stage of application, as well as following my below advice (this will probably mean you adding to the contents of your shoe box!):

• First remove the laces

This enables polish applications to fully reach the important lace eyelet and tongue areas of the shoe – which receive a lot of strain, as well as being a trap for dust and dirt to gather.

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• Use leather lotion

Leather is like your skin, it needs to be treated to maintain its soft looks, shape and feel. Leather lotion (e.g. Saddle Soap) is the moisturizer that you need to use to rejuvenate the leather. Apply the leather lotion (sparingly) before the polish colour and let it dry for 10 minutes before applying...

• Use shoe WAX

I prefer wax over a paste or a cream; It absorbs into the leather better and gives you more of a shine as well as protects your leather from water. There are many brands of wax, Lincoln is a famous one and you can find it at many shoe repair stores.

• Use an old T-Shirt and add water

You can use an applicator brush to apply the first layer of polish (to get into the crevices such as the welts); I prefer to then use part of an old t-shirt to apply further layers of polish. Have different pieces of t-shirt available for the leather lotion and the different polish colours.

Wrap the fabric around your forefingers and use a circular motion. Interspersed with the polish, use just a dab of water as a contributor to the polish, not as a main factor (click on short video to the right for the example technique).

• Use a horse hair brush

Buffing off wax and wax polish with a quality horsehair brush (soft, long bristles) provides a better finish than a standard shoe polish brush that usually comes in a kit.

Make sure that you have one for black, one for dark brown / burgundy and one for lighter colors / neutral. Brushes come in different color bristles to keep it simple.

• Use black nylons

This is my final tip to really bring out the shine. You will be amazed at how black nylons (think women's tights!) achieve a final gleam at the end of the polishing process.

You can also use black nylons for an 'in between shines buff up' – after a quick buff with a horse hair brush to get dust out of the cracks between the welt and the upper leather, the lace area etc.