Learn how to shine shoes like a professional with our Basic Shoe Care Guide. Any pair of leather dress shoes need to be regularly polished to look good. If you are not polishing your shoes at least once every few months, then your dull shoes are not making a good impression. A nice pair of polished shoes is one of the most important details that men overlook. Differentiate yourself by learning how to shine your shoes!
Over time the polish on calfskin shoes starts to dull and, more importantly, the leather can dry out and ultimately crack if preventive steps are not taken to condition the leather. Restoring shine and providing moderate conditioning can be achieved with either Saphir Renovateur or Saphir Leather Lotion, both of which are moderate cleaners and conditioners for calf leather shoes. In addition, Saphir Medaille d’Or Pommadier Cream Polish is ideal to further condition the uppers, restore color lost through wear and cleaning, and also to add a matte shine.
For the Basic Shoe Care Guide, we primarily recommend the use of Saphir Pommadier Cream Polish from the Medaille d’Or collection because of its higher concentration of pigments (more than four times as much as wax polish) and nutrients. Cream polishes do a better job both conditioning and recoloring than a wax polishes. However, if you enjoy a high-gloss shine, you can always apply a wax polish after the Pommadier Cream Polish.
Saphir Pommadier Cream Polish is an all-natural cream polish that nourishes as well as polishes leather, using the highest-quality beeswax, turpentine, and shea butter with seven other nutrient waxes. The wax layer left after shoe polishes are applied creates a protective barrier for the leather and the shine that everyone associates with a nice pair of shoes.
Once you develop a routine and feel for how your shoes react to the polish, you can alternate between only using the Renovateur, which does not contain pigment, or the Pommadier Cream Polish, which does contain pigment.
To prepare the shoe to be polished, first remove any superficial dirt with a damp (but not wet) chamois. If the chamois changes the color of the leather, then it is too wet. Our Shoe Shine Spray Bottle is perfect for delivering just the right amount of water – dampening, but not over-wetting the chamois.
To use Renovateur or Leather Lotion, first apply a small amount of the selected product to a cotton chamois and use light pressure in circular motions to work the product into the upper. Take care to alternate sections of the chamois cloth so as not to simply distribute surface contaminants around the upper. Note that some color from the old polish may show on the chamois cloth, which is typical.
After applying, allow the product to completely dry and then brush the uppers using a horsehair polishing brush with brisk side-to-side motions and light pressure. The longer you allow the product to dry, the more it will be absorbed by the leather. Note that a bit of shine will come back after brushing, as both Renovateur and Leather Lotion redistribute some existing polish around the uppers and they also contain light amounts of waxes.
Once the uppers have been conditioned and brushed, Saphir Medaille d’Or Pommadier Cream Polish is ideal to further condition the uppers, restore color lost through wear and cleaning, and also to add a matte shine. First, select a color of Pommadier that best suits your needs: (1) one shade lighter than the uppers to maintain the existing upper color; (2) the exact same shade to fill scratches as necessary or all over to slightly darken; or (3) one shade darker to darken the existing upper color.
To apply the Pommadier to the uppers, use a clean chamois cloth to gather a very small amount of the cream polish. Then, apply the Pommadier to the uppers with the chamois cloth in a circular motion using light to moderate pressure.
Ideally, allow the Pommadier to completely dry over the course of 1 hour, particularly if color needs to be added back to the uppers. But if you do not have an hour, a few minutes should be enough to allow the polish to dry. Once the Pommadier has dried, brush the uppers with a horsehair brush using brisk side-to-side motions with light pressure. At this stage, a soft horsehair finishing brush is ideal, as it will do the best job producing a shine without removing any waxes.
This cycle should be repeated two to three times to build the finish or as is otherwise necessary.
If a matte shine is preferred, there is no need to proceed any further. However, if a glossy shine is desired, Saphir Medaille d’Or Pate de Luxe Wax Polish is ideal. Because of the high concentration of waxes in the Pate de Luxe Wax Polish, it is ideally reserved for just the toe box and heel. If you apply wax polish to the vamp where the shoe bends, it can cause the wax to crack and produce a white haze (if this happens, remove with the Saphir Reno’Mat).
Begin by applying a thin (less is more!) layer of wax polish, in the same shade as the previously selected Pommadier, using a clean chamois in a circular motion using light to moderate pressure. Allow the wax polish to completely dry and, once the wax has dried, brush the uppers with a horsehair polishing brush using brisk side-to-side motions with light pressure. Be sure to thoroughly brush any creases or folds in the uppers, so as to prevent the undesirable buildup of wax over time. This cycle may be repeated as necessary to achieve the desired level of shine.