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Shoe Care Guide

5 Mirror Shine Hacks for Dress Shoes

Kirby Allison, founder of The Hanger Project goes through 5 tips and tricks to creating the perfect mirror shine on your dress shoes. These mirror shine hacks are quick and simple for any man that is looking to make their shoes look their best. Using the Saphir Mirror Gloss Wax Polish along with the other tips in this video will take your shoes to the next level.

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Hi, I'm Kirby Allison and we love helping the well-dressed take care of their wardrobes. In today's installment of our mirror shine series, I'm going to share with you five tricks on how to achieve a perfect mirror shine quickly and easily. A perfect, beautiful mirror shine has long been regarded as the pinnacle of a well shined shoe. Invariably your shoes are one of the first things that someone notices whenever you make an introduction. And that's why here at The Hanger Project we insist that proper shoe care is essential to the well-dressed gentleman. For this reason, we've dedicated an entire series to how to create and maintain the perfect mirror shine. So check out our other videos that we've published in this series.

The most important trick that you can do to achieve a proper mirror shine quickly and easily is to use the Saphir Medaille d'Or Mirror Gloss. The high concentration of hard waxes and low proportion of solvents in the Saphir Mirror Gloss makes this incredibly effective at achieving a mirror gloss. On this pair of Dmitri Gomez bespoke shoes, I was able to produce this beautiful mirror shine in less than 30 minutes and four coats of the mirror gloss. The hard waxes are essential to filling up the pores of the open grained leather that would otherwise refract light and prevent it from shining. Before the invention of the Mirror Gloss, shoeshine professionals and shoeshine experts would allow the Saphir Pate de Luxe Wax Polish to dry out by leaving the tin open for several days. And what this did is it allowed the solvents - and the Pate de Luxe is very solvent rich - it allowed the solvents to evaporate, thereby drying this out, and it would actually crack and become much more dense than it is normally. But they would use that basically as effectively as what we now have, the Mirror Gloss. The reason that the Saphir Mirror Gloss is so effective is because, again, it has that high concentration of the very hard waxes like montan wax, and carnauba, and beeswax and a very low concentration of the solvents that are used to liquify or soften those waxes. So what would happen with the Pate de Luxe, is that because its very solvent-rich, you would allow those hard waxes to dry. And then whenever you applied the new Pate de Luxe, it would bring off some of the prior layers and so it was like two steps forward one step back. Now with the high concentration of hard waxes in the Mirror Gloss, you are able to very quickly build the foundation of hard waxes that you need in order to create a beautiful mirror shine.

The second tip is to use our Hanger Project High Shine Chamois. I created the High Shine Chamois because most of the people that are well known for producing beautiful Mirror Glosses actually prefer to use a chamois that's made out of cotton shirting. There's actually a friend of mine that works at Gaziano & Gerling who was talking about how his old Christian Dior dress shirts made the perfect tie shine chamois. That's when I went to the Hemrajani Brothers or MyTailor and had them begin making this High Shine Chamois out of super 180 2-ply cotton shirting. It's absolutely incredible and the reason this works so well for the mirror shine is because it has a very tight weave that doesn't lint like a traditional chamois. Now, the problem if you use a traditional chamois is that the fibers of the cotton can come off and actually get trapped inside the wax. Then whenever you go to buff that off, the trapped fibers will prevent the surface from really producing a nice smooth mirror shine. Now if you don't have one of our High Shine Chamois, you can always just cut up an old dress shirt and use that instead it will work just as effectively. But if you get The Hanger Project, make sure you pick up one of our High Shine Chamois because it makes an incredible difference in producing that mirror shine

Tip number three is to make sure that the chamois that you are using whenever you're doing the buffs, so this isn't whenever you apply the wax, but it's whenever you're about a buff it, is completely clean. Now one of the things that I like to do is I'll take my chamois and I will wrap it around my fingers and then what I'll do is rub it really fast on my leather shoeshine carpet. You could run it really fast on even your hand or say, like a spare towel. Or anything that you're not really worried about having the pigment or the waxes rub off on. What this does is it makes sure that the surface of your chamois is completely smooth. You can see this area of the chamois where I apply the thick coat of the Mirror Gloss still has a bunch of residual traces of the wax polish on here. So what you could do with this chamois is just really rub it really fast right here. And again it's going to help pull off those waxes and if you feel it with your finger you can feel that it's rough. So if I were to take this and then try to buff my mirror shine it would basically scrape or scratch or drag across the surface and it's going to disrupt that surface. It also warms the chamois which makes it that much more effective to buff the high shine.

Tip number four is to use a little bit of isopropyl alcohol in the water that you're using to wet your chamois and buff it. Now what that does is it acts again in a similar manner to the Pate de Luxe, that it helps just melt the wax so that it glacages over really beautifully. Another benefit of the isopropyl alcohol is that it evaporates very quickly. So again, as you're buffing, it prevents too much water from getting into the wax. If you use too much water, it makes it really difficult to get a high gloss shine and it can actually appear foggy. There is no perfect ratio to use. Normally, I'll mix one part isopropyl alcohol to three or four parts of water to make sure that it's effectively diluted, and then I'll use that on my chamois as I'm buffing the Mirror Gloss to a high shine.

Tip number five, and one that is particularly useful if you having a hard time developing a mirror shine, is to use a blow dryer to help melt the wax into the pores of the leather. So what you would do here, and we're actually going to show this in greater detail in next week's video, is to apply a very generous portion of The Saphir Mirror Gloss and then turn this on medium heat to put it on the toe and melt the wax so that it actually soaks into the pores of the leather. Sometimes it's difficult to get that wax into the pores depending on how the leather was treated at the tannery, and so heating up those waxes are just going to allow them to melt easily into the pores of the shoe itself. It's also why sometimes you'll see people light their Mirror Gloss on fire or you know even take a lighter to the toe of their shoe, which we don't recommend. But what people are trying to achieve whenever they do that, is to heat those waxes up just so that they soak in to the pores of the leather. Again, you need to fill those pores with the waxes to create a smooth surface that you then polish to a high shine.

I hope you found these tips and tricks useful. Again, the mirror shine is often elusive and there's no question that it takes time to produce and can be quite difficult and frustrating at moments. But with the little practice and following the suggestions that we outlined here in this mirror shine series, I'm confident that you'll be producing a beautiful mirror shine on your shoes just like these. And remember, if you have any questions or comments about anything we discussed in this video please ask them in the comments section below. I get back to all those questions personally. If you liked this video, give us a thumbs up and don't forget to subscribe to our channel and turn on notifications by clicking the bell directly to the right of the subscribe button so that you know whenever we release new videos. And of course, please visit, where we have the largest, most comprehensive collection of luxury garment care and shoe care accessories in the world as well as other products for the well-dressed. And while you're there, subscribe to our newsletter to receive notifications of new product launches, promotions, as well as a weekly digest of all the videos we publish here on this YouTube channel. I'm Kirby Allison and we love helping the well-dressed take care of their wardrobes. Thanks for joining me.