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The Compass  /  Ask a Black Lapel StylistShoe CareShoesStyle  /  The Quick Shoe Shine

The Quick Shoe Shine

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Q: “I don’t always have time to get my shoes shined when I’m on the road, got any tips for a super quick shine?”  Bart L.

A: There are several products out there that will help you give your shoes a quick once over. Toss a couple of shine sponges in your travel bag. These little lifesavers pack a polishing punch by evenly spreading a little instant polish onto your shoes when you apply them. We like the ones from Kiwi because they have a little indicator which shows you when they’re out of liquid. Pick up a black and brown one to give a little boost to your shoes’ color or get a neutral colored one to give your leather some sheen. If the sponges take up too much space in your bag, try Express Shine Wipes (also from Kiwi).

Of course, if you’re carrying dress shoes when you travel you should keep them in cloth shoe bags to keep the other stuff in your bag clean. When all else fails, a good nylon or even microfiber shoe bag, like this one from Tough Guy, can be turned inside out and used to buff up a shoe that’s lost some of its luster.

Just run the bag over the shoe’s toe and pull down on either side in a sawing motion to bring out the shine in the top of the toe. (Be sure to use the INSIDE of the bag, or any polish or grime that rubs off on the bag will get on your clothes when you repack your bag.)

Run the bag around the heel and pull either side to give the back and heel some love and you’ve got yourself a two minute shine that’ll hold you over until you get home for a full shine.

Got questions about keeping your shoes looking sharp? Share them in the comments below!

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6 thoughts on “The Quick Shoe Shine”

  1. I stay away from the quick shine sponges, since a lot of them (from most brands) contain silicone and damage your shoes. My wife bought one, and I’d use it on my shitty shoes, but won’t use it on my good dress shoes or red wings, in a pinch I’ve used the inside of the shoe bag trick, I’ve also used the inside of a banana peel trick, which works surprisingly well, if you have a cloth to shine it with afterwards, and neither or them will damage your shoes the way the quick shine sponges will…

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Glad to hear the bag trick and banana peel treatment proved helpful in a pinch, Adam.

      Just out of curiosity, what damage did you see from the quick shine sponge?

      1. over time, the leather dries out, and it tends not to absorb polish or conditioner very well, eventually making it difficult to get a shine on the shoes…

        1. Ugh, that’s not cool.

          Did you hear that guys? If you’ve got to use a sponge, keep some conditioner handy and use it so the leather doesn’t dry out.

  2. James Smith says:

    I have actually used this technique quite alot since I have seen this article; It’s really helped me when in times of need

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Excellent, James! We’re happy to be of service. Give those puppies a more thorough shine every now and again and you won’t be sorry.

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