How to shine your shoes

Rules For The Modern Man - - Rules For The Modern Man -

The man who knows how to shine his own shoes would also have a han­dle on most things. It is cer­tainly a skill that de­serves to be passed down from fa­ther to son. There is a def­i­nite plea­sure in be­ing able to care for your own footwear. Un­for­tu­nately most peo­ple to­day have lit­tle ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the process, opt­ing for con­ve­nient liq­uid shin­ers and the like.


Shin­ing is not just about re­mov­ing dirt and grime from the shoe, but also re­fresh­ing the leather, prep­ping it for colour­ing, treat­ment or oil­ing, depend­ing on the type of shoe. Even old shoes can be made to look good through pol­ish­ing as scuffs and marks can be di­min­ished.

A stan­dard shoe shine kit will have all you need to take care of every item of footwear in your closet, from leather to nubuck. Most shoe­mak­ers of­fer such a kit. Just en­quire at the counter. There are vari­a­tions from each la­bel, but most kits are rel­a­tively com­pa­ra­ble. Spe­cialised shoe la­bels may of­fer more com­pre­hen­sive sets with var­i­ous leather colour pol­ishes.

At the most rudi­men­tary, your shoe shine kit should con­tain: 1 pol­ish­ing cloth 1 soft brush 1 hard brush 1 or more colour wax/paste 1 colour­less con­di­tioner cream


Berluti has a rather use­ful and un­ex­pected tip for en­sur­ing your shoes stay per­fectly con­di­tioned. Ac­cord­ing to Ms Olga Berluti, the trick to a well-pol­ished shoe is to mas­sage in some chi­anti, pinot noir or vin­tage cham­pagne in or­der to re­move ex­cess wax from the pol­ish­ing process and make the shoe sparkle. (Ob­vi­ously, red wines should not be used on light coloured leather.)


STEP 1 First, brush off any dirt on the sole or any part of the shoe.

STEP 2 Next, add some warm wa­ter to the shoe pol­ish, which should be of the same colour as the shoe. i.e. brown pol­ish for brown shoes, et cetera.

STEP 3 Ap­ply the soft­ened pol­ish on your cloth. Us­ing gen­tle pres­sure on one fin­ger, rub the pol­ish evenly onto the shoe in a cir­cu­lar mo­tion. STEP 4 Fi­nally, use a clean por­tion of the soft cloth or a soft brush to buff the shoe to a shine.

STEP 5 Use shoe trees to keep your footwear in shape and ab­sorb mois­ture and odours from them.


Con­trary to ex­pec­ta­tion, nubuck and suede are in­cred­i­bly durable ma­te­ri­als. Should they get wet, air-dry them, brush them out and all will be fine.

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