On your next commute to work, take a look at the ground around you. What do you see? Probably tons of shoes…men’s shoes…men’s shoes in REALLY bad shape. In fact, if there was a 1-800-Domestic-Shoe-Abuse hotline, it’d be your obligation to use most of your monthly minutes on anonymous tips to save all those poor soles. Lots of guys’ dress shoes look like they were toys for angry kids in a gravel covered play ground. And while that dirty, scuffed up look might work for a pair of Chuck Taylor’s, dress shoes require a higher degree of care. So trust us on this because no matter how sharp the rest of your outfit looks, you won’t look like a thousand stacks of a thousand bucks if it looks like you borrowed your shoes off a hobo.

Your dress shoes take a beating and quickly start to show it unless you do something.

But what? Get new shoes every few months? While a new pair may be warranted and is always nice, you can also dance with the ones that brung ya. A good pair of shoes can and should look good after 10 wears or 10 years if we just take a few minutes to keep them in decent shape. In short, we need a reboot, gentlemen. It’s time we revived the ancient craft of shining our own shoes!

Here’s how to get that just-walked-out-of-the-shoe-store look to last without spending your whole weekend polishing your shoes. Of course, there are people who will do this for you and we highly recommend a full-service polishing from a good shoe shine stand or cobbler every so often, but in the meantime, just like shaving and cooking, its good to learn this basic life skill for yourself.



Not pictured:
Rag – Think thick, otherwise you’ll be cleaning shoe polish off of your fingernails for a week.

Yesterday’s Newspaper – Lay some pages from the paper down to protect your home from wet polish.


1. Leather Conditioner/Lotion – leather needs nutrients (it is a skin, after all) so feed it some and clean away dirt and grime at the same time with this healing conditioner. (available in stores and online from Kiwi and Meltonian)

2. Polish – Polish revives color and protects your leather. One tin of wax polish will get you through years of at-home shoe shines. (available in a variety of colors in stores and online from Kiwi and Lincoln).

3. Edge Dressing– This secret weapon adds the finishing touch to a good shine by restoring the color to the sole edges and heels (available in stores and online from Kiwi and Fiebing’s).

4. Horsehair Shine Brush – Much of shining is brushing. Keep a soft brush for bringing out the shine when you’ve applied polish (available in stores and online from Kiwi and Otter Wax).

5. Horsehair Cleaning Brush> – To remove dust and dirt, sweep your shoes with a separate brush for cleaning your shoes(available in stores and online from Kiwi and Otter Wax).

6. Welt Brush (optional) – This brush is not a necessity for getting a good shine but it’s a nice option for spreading and applying polish without a rag. (available in stores and online from Kiwi and Four Seasons).

So without further ado, see how you can whip a pair of wingtips into shape in five quick and easy steps.


Step 1. Clean

Using a horsehair brush, sweep across your shoes to remove dirt and grime that may have gathered on your shoes.


Step 2. Condition

To restore nutrients and moisture to leather, rub a dab of leather conditioner into the shoes in a circular motion with a rag. Repeat until you’ve covered the entire shoe.

Step3. Add Polish

Smear a little polish on your rag and rub it into the shoes in a circular motion. Spread it evenly over the leather. Add a drop of water every other wipe, it will help the shine come out in the next step.t in the next step.


Step 4. Brush

Now the magic happens. Using a soft clean shoe shine brush, swipe back and forth across the entire shoe and the shine will start to come out. Brush the entire shoe paying special attention to the toes and heels. Add a bit more polish and dab of water to bring out more color and add more sheen.

Step 5. Edge

For the finishing touch, restore the scuffs along the edges of your soles and heel with an edge dressing tool that rubs on wet and dries quickly.


And You’re Done!

Get your shine on gents.
Got some shoe shining questions? Leave a comment below!