Shoe Care

Cleaning and polishing your shoes not only make them look good it also protects them so they will last longer. Shoe polish nourishes the leather and offers some protection from rain and is available in different colors to match the leather. Neutral polish is good for multicolored shoes, or if you simply want to protect the leather but retain their patina. 

With a little practice it should only take about five minutes to clean and polish a pair of shoes.

The Equipment List

  • Shoe Trees

  • Cotton Cloths

  • Micro fiber cloth (optional)

  • Dust Brush

  • Welt Brush or Toothbrush

  • Jar of Shoe Cream

  • Polishing Brush

1. Brush off any dust

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Brush the shoes to remove any dust. I keep a separate shoe brush for dusting and don’t use my polishing brush. Polishing brush bristles have wax on them and particles, such as sand will stick to them and this can scratch the leather. Also, brush around the welt (where the upper joins the sole) with a clean welt brush or toothbrush to remove trapped debris.

2. Check the shoes for damage

It’s pointless polishing them if they need to go to the cobbler (shoe repair). If the heels are wearing down, get them repaired before they wear into the shoe.

3. Remove the shoe trees and laces

Inspect the laces for wear and replace if needed. Measure them for the correct length when replacing.

4. Dust the tongue and behind the lace holes

Using the dust brush or a soft cloth dust the tongue and behind the lace holes. Then reinsert the show trees, which help to maintain the shape of the shoe.

5. Wipe with a damp cloth-including the instep. 

If needed, remove any matter (e.g. your spilt coffee) from the leather and instep with a damp cloth; follow with a dry cloth.

6. Polish the welt with a welt brush or toothbrush

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Polish the welt with a welt brush, dauber or toothbrush. This is the primary join on a shoe, the polish will help keep the seam waterproof and the threads protected.

7. Apply shoe cream or polish

Apply a thin, even layer of cream polish with a dauber or a cloth using a circular motion. I prefer to use a cloth wrapped around my index and second finger, it's less messy and the motion of the fingers warms the polish, which helps the leather absorb it. Pay special attention to the creases between the laces and the toe where the shoe flexes, this is the most stressed area on the uppers and needs more moisturizing and protection. Also polish the outer edge of the sole, the heel and instep.

8. Brush wax off or allow polish to soak in for up to 24 hours 

The polish can be brushed off immediately, but it’s better to allow the polish to soak in. If you have time, leave the shoes in a warm (not hot) place so the leather can absorb the polish. I usually leave mine overnight and brush the next day.

9. Brush shoes to remove excess wax (shoes will begin to shine)

Brush the shoes to remove excess wax using the length of the brush in backwards and forwards motion and the shoes will begin to shine. Larger brushes have more bristles, which makes the process faster. While brushing I prefer to remove the shoe trees and place my hand inside the shoe, also this saves my fingers being hit by the brush!

10. Brush shoes to remove excess wax (shoes will begin to shine)

Brush the shoes to remove excess wax using the length of the brush in backwards and forwards motion and the shoes will begin to shine. Larger brushes have more bristles, which makes the process faster. While brushing I prefer to remove the shoe trees and place my hand inside the shoe, also this saves my fingers being hit by the brush! 

11. Finally Replace Back The Laces

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