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A lesson in shoe shining

Your shoes make an entry before you. Do you know what’s common to every well-dressed man? Impeccably shiny shoes. No formal outfit is complete without a great pair of spiffy leather shoes. Polishing your shoes increases their longevity. Your man Friday might take care of this detail but there’s no harm in learning to shine your shoes. Getting shoe polishing right is pretty important after all. So here’s the arsenal you need:
how to polish your shoes right
Shoe polish: Pick a polish in a colour that is as close to the colour of your shoes as possible. If you are having trouble matching the colour of the polish to your shoes, use a neutral or uncoloured polish. You can choose between cream and wax polish. Wax polish adds shine to your shoes, covers scuffs and protects the leather. Cream polish is less shiny but it moisturises the leather as it is absorbed. However, since it gets absorbed in the leather it can affect the colour of the leather.
Polishing cloth: Get yourself a shoe polishing cloth or use an old t-shirt.
Rag: You will need this to clean excess polish and wipe your shoe.
Horsehair buffing brush: You will need a brush with sturdy but soft bristles. It should be sturdy enough to raise the fibres of the leather and soft enough not to scratch the leather. Horsehair brushes are ideal.
Welt brush: You need this to lift the dirt off your shoes and off the welt strip. You can also use an old toothbrush.
A bowl of water: This is pretty self-explanatory as far as cleaning goes.
complete shoe polishing guide
Getting down and dirty

  1. Remove the laces. It’s better to be safe than sorry especially when working with lighter coloured ones.
  2. Stuff your shoes with old newspaper or insert a shoehorn to give yourself a firm surface to work with.
  3. Use your welt brush to remove dust and dirt from your shoes. Pay close attention to the welt since that is where most shoes get the dirtiest. Do a thorough job because the friction from shining the shoes while they are still dirty or dusty will scratch the leather. You can also use the dry rag to clean them.
  4. Using the polishing cloth, apply shoe polish on the shoe surface in small circular motions. This helps melt the wax/cream and allows it to spread evenly. Apply polish until the shoe looks matte.
  5. Apply polish on the welt and the heel and let the polish dry for about 10 minutes.
  6. Use the horsehair buffing brush to buff the shoe. Use quick side-to-side movements and you will notice that the matte look makes way for a healthy shine. Be thorough; don’t slack.
  7. Use your rag to wipe off excess polish. Let your shoes sit like this for 10 minutes.
  8. Put a single droplet of water on your shoe. Take a little shoe polish on the polishing cloth and place it on the droplet of water and start rubbing it in fast, small circles while covering the whole shoe. Wipe your shoe, with a dry rag in the same swift, circular motions.
  9. Let your shoes dry for 10 minutes before putting on the laces.

Written By : Bushra S Khan

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