How to Properly Shine Your Shoes Like a Pro (Watch Video)

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Shoe shining is a great skill that’s not only simple but will save you money over the years. Whether you’re headed to a wedding or simply another day in the office, shiny shoes will set you apart from everyone else as someone who knows how to properly take care of themselves.

Shoe polishing happens to be very easy if you have the right materials. If you’re a beginner, I suggest purchasing a shoe shine kit. Kiwi makes an affordable shoe shine kit that comes with the four basic tools you will need to keep your black dress shoes shining.  This basic kit comes with two tins of black polish, one dauber, one 100% horsehair shine brush and one shine cloth. Now let’s start shining!

Step 1

Use an old towel or newspapers to cover the area you will be using to clean your leather shoes. Shoe polish can be very difficult to get out of carpet. I suggest using a hard surface.

Step 2

Before you start polishing, you will want to make sure that any dust, dirt, salt or other debris are comletley cleaned off your shoes. You can either use a damp rag or your horse hair shine brush. If you get your shoes wets you will want to to wait until your shoes are completely dry before applying polish.


If you’re planning on doing a thorough job on your shoes, its best to remove the laces if your boots or shoes have them.

Step 3

Using your shoe polish brush, cover the entire shoe with polish. Use a circular motion to really work the polish in every part of the shoe. Don’t forget the seams of the shoe. Try to cover evenly with a generous amount.  Once you have finished polishing the first shoe, set it aside on the newspaper or towel and begin the same process on the second shoe. Allow 15 to 20 minutes for each shoe to dry before moving to the next step.


Try to match the color of shoe as closely as possible. If you’re polishing brown boots you will need to use brown polish.

Step 4

Brush the shoe vigoursly with the horse shine brush using short, even strokes. The movement should come from your wrist. This will get off an excess polish. An old t-shirt or cloth can be used for most steps except this one. A proper shine brush is necessary for this particular step.


Be sure to use a different brush for each shoe polish color. You wouldn’t want to add a darker color to a lighter shoe!

Step 5

Buff the shoes with a cloth. Use a clean old t-shirt or chamois cloth and buff the shoes until there is a high shine. Try using a brisk side to side motion– this is most likely easier wearing the shoe.


Breathing on the toe of the shoe (like what you do to fog up a mirror) is an old trick to add shine!

Erin @ Wardrobe Hackers

Erin @ Wardrobe Hackers

Content Creator for Wardrobe Hackers

Erin is a fashion enthusiast, all-around craftsy girl, marketer, and devoted mom. She’s been with Wardrobe Hackers since day 1, as the author and “star” of our very first blog post and Youtube video. Before joining Wardrobe Hackers, Erin had her own custom wreath-making business (Front Door Décor) and prior to that, she managed key accounts with Enterprise. She lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband, two young girls and a beagle that sheds (a lot!).


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