“Shoes that look like they’ve spent the last 6 months trekking through the Amazonian rainforest will not get you that promotion you’ve had your eye on, or the number of that supermodel you’ve been checking out from across the bar.” That being said, I’m sure you’ll finally read a proper how-to. HME reveals the step-by-step procedure and prevents the common mistakes. The method is approved by the board of the P.S.S.A. (Professional Shoe Shining Association) which I am the CEO of. Procedure after the gap!
If you have many shoes of various colors, you might want to purchase neutral polish instead of investing in so many colors. I kindly remind you that it is strictly forbidden by the supreme shoe-shine commission.
Shoe polishes contain alcohol. Leather is no different than your skin. If you put alcohol on it, the alcohol will dry it out and continual use will lead to cracking. There is more alcohol in liquid and hard waxes than in creme polishes, so use accordingly.
Stock up at a drug store, a shoe store, or shoe repair shop. Buy liquid and wax shoe polish in the color of your shoes. Wax takes a bit longer to use, but it gives a much better finish and a higher shine. I like to buy a new polish box of the right colour and from the same brand as the shoes I buy each time I buy a new pair.
Put down some newspaper or an old useless towel to protect the surface under your upcoming shoe shining effort.
Wipe off dust with a damp cloth.
Wash down shoes with a leather shampoo and a nourishing cream for leather. This is the part that will make your shoes last and the leather survive. Just like you would die if you were to stop eating, your shoes need some nourishing cream. Don’t hesitate to be generous in this part. Your shoes must be really hungry.
Let’s wait 2-3 minutes for the leather to eat peacefully.
Use either a soft cotton cloth (like an old t-shirt) or a fine natural bristle brush, whose hairs are tightly packed to the handle, to put on the polish. I personally do it with a t-shirt or anything made of 100% cotton.
Apply polish to shoe in a small circular movement with two fingers (and the wrap cloth around your fingers of course), or evenly cover the shoe with polish using the brush. The key here is not to put too much polish on the shoe but rather build the polish and shine up in thin layers: Fat on Lean process.
Make sure that polish reaches the inside of the creases on the shoe (if they have any) but don’t insist very much on this part but rather on the cap toe and rigid side parts.
Next, let the polish “go off” on the shoe for 2 to 3 minutes. This will help the leather absorb the polish and also help the thin layer of polish melt at a nano level across the shoe.
Repeat the process as many time as needed until you reach an already respectable level of shine you want or need. It normally comes after 5 minutes.
Now you just have to repeat what you just did but you have to add a bit of water to the polish when you apply it. Some like using an atomizer, or pistol grip sprayer filled with water and adjusting the nozzle to a fine mist or spray, and spray the entire shoe until it is covered with tiny droplets of water. Then they polish the shoe dry with the same cloth or brush as hereabove. I’d say it’s cheating and quite unprofessional.
After you have finished (you’ll know when when an army sergent would be proud, or your girlfriend can stare into your shoes to put on some make-up), lightly buff in a brisk side to side motion with a clean cotton cloth or with a 100% Horse Hair shine brush, using one brush for black only and one for brown or colored shoes.
Put all your shoe shining supplies in one location, preferably in a box that holds them neatly together, so that everything’s ready for the next time.