5 tips for perfectly polished leather shoes

If you haven’t heard that you should be practicing proper daily care for you leather shoes by now, where exactly have you been? We cannot stress enough how the everyday care not only keeps your shoes looking great but it also makes them last longer, protecting your investment in a great pair of shoes. But if you’ve been, I don’t know, meditating on top of a mountain in the Himalayas for the past 10 years and you’re just now coming around to dressing like a gentleman, check our guide for everyday shoe care here.

For those of you who have that down, you may be interested in taking your DIY shoeshine game up a notch. If you’re thinking of giving your shoes a proper polish, we’ve got some helpful tips and tricks to make the task easier while granting you better results.


Tip #1: Pick the right polish

If you’re looking to gently clean and condition your leather shoes and end with a moderate shine finish, pick a cream polish. If your shoes need some extra protection from the elements—like in the winter months—use a wax polish. Wax polishes can also provide a glossier finish, if that’s your thing.


Tip #2: Designate your cloths and brushes

Typically, you’re going to want to have a cloth and a brush for your black pairs of shoes and a separate set for your browns. But if you’re a man with more than a few pairs of oxblood leather shoes in your closet, go ahead and designate some tools for them as well. This will prevent any accidental transfer of the wrong color of polish to your shoes—a stupid mistake you don’t want to make.


Tip #3: If you’re not sure about polish color, go lighter

You really want to find the exact shade for your shoes and with black, that’s not hard. But certain shades of brown can be trickier to match. If you’re not sure, pick the two closest options you have and go for the lighter one. You can always add more to make it match, but once you have a big dark splotch it’ll be harder to correct.


Tip #4: Give the sole some love

After all, when you buy premium shoes the soles are leather as well. Don’t forget to take the time to carefully polish the perimeter to darken them and give more contrast that emphasizes the construction.


Tip #5: Less is more

Loving your shoes takes a light touch. However much polish you think you need, use less. Also, don’t overdo it with the practice itself. Over-polished shoes eventually crack, ruining the beauty you’ve worked so hard to preserve.