October 24


How to Polish Leather Shoes (The Right Way) 

By Teddy

October 24, 2022

A good shoe shines brightens up any outfit and makes you look like you have your sh*t together (even when you don’t). But getting a high-quality shine on your leather shoes isn’t always easy. In order to get the perfect mirror shine on your Oxfords, you’re going to need to put in a little elbow grease. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to polish leather shoes the right way. 

Step 1: Invest in a Good Shoe Polishing Kit 

A good shoe polishing kit should come with everything you need to get the job done right, including a can of shoe polish, a waterproofing spray, a shoe brush, and a cloth. Make sure to choose a shoe polish that matches the color of your shoes; otherwise, you risk discoloring them.  

Step 2: Prep Your Work Space 

Before you start polishing your shoes, make sure to lay down some old newspapers or a drop cloth. This will help protect your surfaces from any stray drops of polish. Once you’ve got your work space set up, remove the laces from your shoes and set them aside. 

Step 3: Remove Any Excess Dirt or Grime 

Use a soft cloth to wipe away any dirt or grime on your shoes. If there are any stubborn spots, you can use a file or an emery board to gently scrap them away. Once your shoes are clean, use a hairdryer on the cool setting to dry them off completely. 

Step 4: Apply Polish With a Shoe Brush 

Dip the shoe brush into the can of polish and apply it to your shoes in small circular motions. Make sure to cover the entire surface of the shoe, paying special attention to any creases or scuffs. Allow the first coat of polish to dry for 5-10 minutes before applying a second coat.  

Step 5: Buff Your Shoes With a Cloth 

Once both coats of polish have dried, use a clean cloth to buff your shoes until they shine. If you want an even higher shine, repeating this step with another clean cloth dipped in water. Allow your shoes to air dry for 30 minutes before moving on to the next step. 

Step 6: Protect Your Shoes With Waterproofing Spray 

In order to extend the life of your newly polished leather shoes, give them an extra layer of protection with waterproofing spray. Holding the can about 6 inches from your shoes, evenly mist them with the spray.. Allow your shoes to dry for at least 24 hours before wearing them again so that the waterproofing has time to set.. And that’s it! You’ve now learned how to polish leather shoes like a pro.. Whether you’re headed into an important meeting or out on hot date, shining leather shoes will help you look and feel your best.. So go out there and show the world what you’re made of!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you condition leather before polishing?

Yes, it’s always a good idea to condition leather before polishing. This will help keep the leather soft and prevent it from drying out.

Can you use olive oil to polish leather shoes?

No you should not use olive oil to polish leather shoes. Leather will soak up the oil and speed up the deterioration process of the shoe.

How often should you polish your leather shoes?

It’s a good idea to polish your leather shoes every 3-4 weeks to keep them looking their best. However, if they start to look dull or scuffed in between polishing sessions, you can give them a quick touch-up with a shoe brush and cloth.

How can I shine my shoes fast?

If you’re in a hurry and need to shine your shoes fast, you can use a shoe shining sponge. These sponges come pre-loaded with polish and will give your shoes a quick shine in just a few minutes.

How do military styles shine shoes?

There are a few things you can do to get a military-style shine on your shoes. First, make sure your shoes are clean and free of any dirt or grime. Next, apply a generous amount of polish to the shoes with a brush and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Then, buff the shoes until they shine using a clean cloth. Finally, mist the shoes with a waterproofing spray to help protect them from the elements.

How do you apply shoe polish without a brush?

If you don’t have a brush, you can apply shoe polish with a clean cloth. Simply dip the cloth into the can of polish and rub it onto your shoes in small circular motions. Pay special attention to any scuffs or creases in the leather. Allow the polish to dry for 5-10 minutes before buffing it to a shine with a clean, dry cloth.


With these simple steps, you can keep your leather shoes looking their best for years to come. Just remember to always start with a clean surface, use enough polish for even coverage but not too much, let it soak in before you start buffing, and be sure to wipe away any excess when you’re finished. With a little bit of care and attention, your leather shoes will stay shining like new no matter how many wears they see.

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