Shoe Care Shoe Shine Tutorials

Just Add Water: The Perfect Spit Shine

Why spit on your shoes when you can get the same shine by using a drop of water? Luxury Shoe Shines deserve a little bit more class than an ounce or more of saliva running down the side of its shoe.

Would you spit on your hands while washing them? Of course not, you would rinse with water and then wash with soap…. not rinse with spit!

Luxury Cotton Socks

While the “spit shine” is classic and as old as time – it wasn’t meant to clean off your $250 Luxury Dress shoes. While your shoes may be “drool” worthy – let’s try to be proud of the phrase instead of making it a reality.

Add water to your shoeshine wax/cream and even shoe shampoos. Less is more, especially with Hanger Project Luxury Shoe Shine Products. These products were meant to last a long time and sometimes need to be diluted due to exceptional quality.

Now the question stands – are your $250 Dress Shoes worth a Simple Spit Shine or are they worth a Luxury Shoe Shine meant to last much longer than a quick fix?

Shoe Care Shoe Shine Tutorials

Creating a Mirror Shine

As detailed in our Introducing Shoe Shine Sundays blog, begin the process by cleaning and conditioning your leather with Saphir Renovateur to remove any debris or light stains. Follow with a single, thin coat of Saphir Cream Polish (minding the color) and gently buff. Lastly, apply a normal, medium coat of Saphir Wax Polish, enough to completely fill in the pores of the skin. This will provide the flat surface that will look like glass and give rise to a mirror finish.

Once your shoes are cleaned, polished and buffed with a coat of wax, the secret to generating a flawless mirror shine is in the diligent application of many small layers of wax. This will help further smooth the surface of the leather, filling the pores, to create the necessary smooth surface required to create a mirror shine.

The trick is to apply a very small amount of wax polish (tiny, tiny, tiny) with about one drop of water, massaging it into the leather in circular motions with a cotton chamois until it disappears.

When you come to the end of a dab of wax, exhale warmly into the leather. Adjust your cloth slightly and finish off the remaining wax by swirling a little longer before you go for another drop of water.

This process should be repeated until your shoes reflect a mirror finish. If this is your first time, it may take more than fifty applications, but be comforted by the fact that the more often you shine, the easier it gets to accomplish brilliant results. In order to create a mirror finish, you actually do not buff the toe box with a horsehair brush – this would disrupt the smooth finish. Instead, only a cotton chamois is used to apply the wax and polish it up.

A few things to avoid:

  1. Too much water. Make sure you are matching each tiny dab of solid wax with only a single drop of water.
  2. Too much pressure. As the shine appears, you’ll need less and less pressure.
  3. Not enough coats. A shoe that has never been properly polished will have a pitted surface and will require many small applications of wax to level out into a mirror finish. A perfect mirror finish is very time consuming to achieve.
  4. Not enough light. Polish in natural light to reveal the growing shine.


We’re working on a more in-depth version on how to achieve a Mirror Finish for our Shoecare Guide.


Shoe Care Shoe Shine Tutorials

Introducing Shoe Shine Sundays

Come join The Hanger Project for Shoe Shine Sundays! I will be virtually hosting this shoe shine event every Sunday! Upload a photograph of yourself shining a pair of shoes to The Hanger Project Affiliate Thread or to our Facebook Page and receive a special promotional offer good towards your next purchase!

I will also be online available to answer questions about how to deliver the best shoe shine results with our Saphir Shoe Polish.

First Shoe Shine Sunday

For the first Show Shine Sunday, I’ll be polishing a pair of my light brown Alfred Sargent Monk Strap shoes — perfect for a casual Sunday. These have a little water spotting on the vamp, but that’s about it. The purpose of polishing these shoes today will be general maintenance (Renovateur), removing the water spots, and just smoothing the finish. So, I am going to use a single coat of Saphir Renovateur and Saphir Cream Polish.

Saphir Shoe Shine Sunday

Here I am applying the Saphir Renovateur. This is a gentle cleaner and conditioner (and more conditioner than cleaner). It will pull off any light surface staining and dirt. Anything grittier should require the attention of the Saphir Leather Cleaning Soap. However, these shoes are in pretty good condition, as to not require this.

After I buff of the single coat of the Saphir Renovateur, I apply a coat of Saphir Cream Polish in light brown. The pigment of a cream polish helps even the finish while repairing any scuffs. The wax content of both the Renovateur and Saphir Pommadier Cream Polish combine to create a nice protective barrier and soft shine. If I wanted something higher-gloss, I would follow this with a coat of the Saphir Wax Polish in either a neutral or matching brown.

And here we go. Twenty minutes later my shoes are looking dignified.

Join Us Every Sunday

Join us every week for Shoe Shine Sundays on our Style Forum Affiliate Thread or Facebook. I’ll be available via Live Chat and via our Affiliate Thread to answer questions.


Shoe Care Shoe Shine Tutorials

Kirby’s Personal Shoeshine Kit

Every Sunday before Church, I normally take the opportunity to shine a pair of shoes, enjoy an espresso, and listen to NPR on the radio. I normally do this in my office. For my personal shoeshine kit, I use one of our Groom Shoeshine Kit from La Cordonnerie Anglais. After I used up the round 100 ml jars of Brown Cream Polish and Renovateur, I used the spaces on the right side to store four of the Saphir ink well creams. In the larger center compartment, I keep the two LCA polishing brushes, several 50 ml jars of Saphir Wax Polish (they fit better than the 100 ml tins), some additional Saphir Cream Polishes, and the Saphir Reno’Mat.

I like the Groom Box because it is very nicely appointed, so it does not look out of place on the floor of my office (less complaints from my wife). The leather handle at the top also makes it very easy to carry. I also keep a La Cordonnerie Anglaise Leather Shoeshine Carpet to use as my polishing surface.

Kirby’s Shoeshine Kit Contains:

– Two Medium Shoeshine Brushes by LCA (included with the Groom Shoeshine Kit)


– Two Large Shoeshine Daubers by LCA (included with the Groom Shoeshine Kit)
Cream Polish
– Black Saphir Cream Polish


– Light-Brown Saphir Cream Polish


– Mid-Brown Saphir Cream Polish


– Burgundy Saphir Cream Polish


– Neutral Saphir Cream Polish
Wax Polishes
– Navy Saphir Wax Polish 50 ml


– Black Saphir Wax Polish 50 ml


– Light-Brown Saphir Wax Polish 50 ml


– Mid-Brown Saphir Wax Polish 50 ml
Conditioners & Cleaners
– Saphir Renovatuer Medaille d’Or
– Saphir Reno’Mat
– Black Saphir Edge Dressing
– Saphir Cleaning Soap 200 ml
Other Necessities
– A small travel shoehorn by LCA (included with the Groom Shoeshine Kit)
– Cotton Chamois

In addition to the above products, I use the Saphir Dubbin a few times a year when I preform a Saphir Presidential Shoe Shine.

Surprisingly, the Groom Shoeshine Kit can accommodate all of these items. The Saphir Cleaning Soap has to be placed on top of everything right before I close the lid, but it all fits!


Shoe Care Shoe Shine Tutorials

The Elusive High-Gloss Mirror Finish

When it comes to shining a pair of shoes, there is no shine more difficult to achieve than a proper high-gloss mirror finish. Being able to achieve such a finish demonstrates an expert-like capacity to polish one’s shoes. I have been trying to learn this finish for a few months now (albeit not spending as much time practicing as I should).

The above picture is of a high-gloss mirror finish that Benhour from The Style Forum produced (see this post). This is no small accomplishment because such a high-gloss shine requires that the shoe be stripped down to the leather and then for the finish to be completely re-built. Countless layers of Saphir wax polish are applied in successive coats using nothing but a chamois and a little bit of water in order to produce the mirror finish.

I am working on mastering this finish. As soon as I do, I’ll write a thorough tutorial! Until then, hats off to Benhour from The Style Forum!

Shoe Care Shoe Shine Tutorials

Saphir Presidential Shoeshine

Regular maintenance of one’s shoes can dramatically extend their lifetime. A well-made pair should easily last a decade or more. Many more, if cared for properly. Regular maintenance is essential to the long-term health of shoes. Since leather is an organic material, it needs to remained both nourished to keep from drying and protected from the elements.

Saphir Shoe Polish, specifically the Medaille d’Or range, is the absolute best polish one could use on their shoes. Whether you wear Allen Edmonds or John Lobbs, good shoes require good shoecare products. Saphir’s shoe polish is unquestionably considered the best by shoe afficionados.

In addition to regular maintenance, more extensive semi-annual mainteance can make a dramatic difference in the finish of your shoes. Consider this more like a annual check-up or physical, semi-annual mainteance is designed to provide deep, intensive cleaning and nourishment that, performed more often, would overwhelm the shoe leather.

After collaborating with many shoecare afficionados and the owner of Saphir, we have designed a “Presidential Shoeshine” semi-annual regiment and posted a thorough, step-by-step guide. Our Presidential Shoeshine is appropriate for all calfskin shoes and, especially, for shoes being initiated into an all-Saphir shoecare regiment.

Shoe Care Shoe Polishes Shoe Shine Tutorials

Saphir Shoe Polish – Everybody Loves a Good Shoeshine

Everybody loves a good shoeshine, especially the guys over at
Esquire Magazine. This
past week, Rickey Thornton (you’ll remember him from our first “exhibition” post
on the Saphir
luxury shoe polishes
) and I headed to New York to preach a little shoe love.
Rickey is probably the best shoe guy I have come across and the Saphir shoe
polishes are unquestionably the best shoe polishes in the world. Together, who
could resist an offer for some shoe love?

Our hope was certainly not the editors of any magazines. Nick Sullivan, fashion editor of Esquire Magazine and an
all-around incredible man, was one of the first in New York to jump at the
opportunity to have us drop by their offices and demonstrate the magic of the
Saphir shoe polishes.
If I thought that my small scuff was a test for the Saphir polishes, Nick had
something altogether different in store for us. You see, he had just received a
pair of Church’s shoes back from the shoe repair store around the corner from
the Hearst offices. These guys are not B. Nelson’s Shoes (best shoe repair in
the city), and subsequently returned his shoes in a condition that would have
had most men just throw them in the garbage. However, luckily for us, Nick held
onto them out of nostalgia.

Enter me, Rickey, and the
Saphir Shoe Polishes.
Nick, not quite knowing what to make of our “absolutely the best” claims,
decided to take some pictures of his shoes before and after Rickey put the
Saphir MDO polishes to the test.

Check out how the Saphir Polishes performed below. Needless to say, we were at the Esquire offices for quite some time spreading our love for these incredible shoe polishes from France.