How To Polish Your Shoes

How To Polish Your Shoes


At Josephs we believe that one of the foundations of shoe care is polishing your shoes. We supply the best quality polish money can buy from both Church's and Loake. The tools you'll need to produce the best possible shine beyond polish can be found at any good shoe repairer.

At Josephs, a weekly polishing of shoes with just polish and a polishing cloth is advised to buff out any small marks that have appeared and add moisture into your shoes to avoid cracks in the leather. 

A thorough polish, as we detail how to do below, once a month is an essential and ritualistic act that ensures you get the best possible wear out of your shoes. 

The essential supplies for polishing your shoes are:

  • Shoe polish that matches the colour of your shoes
  • Leather upper brush
  • Water
  • Polishing cloth
  • Horsehair brush
  • Welt brush (or toothbrush)
  • Clean rag

The process of shining your shoes can get messy so we highly suggest laying some newspaper down beneath your shoes. 

Step One: Remove Laces 

Step Two: Fill Your Shoes

Either with shoe trees (which you can purchase from our store) or with newspaper, so you have a firm surface to work off. 

Step Three: Clean Off Dust & Dirt.

Use a dry brush to remove any dust and dirt from your shoes. You can use the welt brush and water to get into small spaces, but make sure to let the leather dry completely before moving on to the next step. Scrub the welt of any dirt or grime with your small brush.

Give your shoes a thorough inspection before moving to the next step because lingering dirt specks can scratch the leather while shining. Wipe them off with a clean, dry rag.

Step Four: Apply Polish

Add a dab of polish onto your polishing cloth. Apply your wax polish to the shoe surface with circular motions. This causes friction that slightly melts the wax and allows it to spread more evenly.

Add more polish as needed. Continue until the shoe has a waxy matte look to it.

Step Five: The Welt

Use the welt brush or a toothbrush to apply polish to the welt, heel and any other neglected areas. Allow the polish to dry for about 10 minutes.

Step Six: Buff

Take the horsehair buffing brush and buff the entire shoe with quick side to side movements. A nice shine will start to come through.

Step Seven: Wipe

Wipe off any excess wax using a rag, making sure every part of the shoe gets equal love. Wait at least 10 minutes before moving to the next step.

Step Eight: Spit Shine

While traditionally a spit shine, involves actual spit we advise against this tradition and instead suggest water. To start a "spit shine" use your finger to place a droplet of water on the shoe. With the polishing cloth, rub a small amount of polish into the water droplet in fast, small circles. Repeat this process around the whole shoe.

With similar fast movements, wipe down your shoe with a dry section of the polishing cloth. Repeat the “spit shine” stage once or twice to your liking.

Step Nine: Dry and Re-Lace

Allow your shoes to dry for 10 to 20 minutes. Once they’re completely dry, re-lace your shoes.