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Shoe Care Guide

Fundamental Shoe Shine

Learn the basic steps to shining your fine dress shoes using Saphir Medaille D'Or shoe care products. This routine can be completed in as little as 5-10 minutes and should be followed for daily shoe maintenance.

Products used in this video:


Hi, I'm Kirby Allison founder of The Hanger Project. This video on how to shine dress shoes teaches you the basic steps on shining shoes using Saphir shoe polish. This routine can be completed in as little as 5 to 10 minutes and is perfect for both new and old shoes alike. It is really meant to be kind of the basic daily maintenance shining routine that you would complete on a weekly basis, just to keep a pair of shoes looking great between the more intensive shoe shines, like our presidential shoe shine. The first step is to gently clean the surface of the shoes using some water, just to remove any type of surface dirt.

I am going to use a spray bottle. You could dampen a cloth, but the purpose here is just to provide a really light cleaning to remove any type of superficial dirt that is on the surface of the shoes. So after you've cleaned your shoes using a damp cloth, the next step is to begin polishing them using a cream polish. Here we're using the Saphir Medaille d'Or Pommadier cream polish which is probably the best cream polish available anywhere on the market place. And what this is going to do is it's going to condition and recolor the shoes.

First. I like to use a cotton chamois to apply my cream polishes because I feel like I can do a better job controlling the amount that I'm applying. Less is more. So I'm going to apply a little bit of cream polish on a cotton chamois and then massage it into the leather using circular motions. Now one of the nice things about the cream polish is it does act as a gentle cleaner because of the turpentine and solvents that you find in the polish. So again, it's going to be helping to remove any type of surface dirt that you didn't get in the first step.

After you've applied a thin coat of the cream polish, you really want to allow the leather as much time as possible to absorb those nutrients. We recommend allowing at least three to five minutes for the leather to fully absorb the polish and for the waxes to dry, but you can certainly leave the polish on much longer than that. We have some shoemakers that I know actually saying that they'll leave their cream polish on overnight to allow that leather to absorb as much of those nutrients as possible.

After you've allowed the cream polish to dry for a good three to five minutes, the next step is gonna be to buff the polish off using a horsehair brush. Now, normally we recommend having two brushes a black brush for your black shoes and kind of another brush with lighter bristles for your brown shoes. The purpose is just to basically keep you from using a brush that's got residual traces of black polish to buff your brown shoes and then end up with streaking. So this is our Hanger Project horsehair brush 100 percent tail hair and basically just buff the polish off using moderate to firm pressure.

Now what you're going to see here is that one, the brush is going to remove any excess polish that built up on top of the leather, it's going to smooth that polish out and then the friction between the horsehair bristles and the polish is actually going to cause those waxes to begin to develop their shine.

You can see with the high quality Medaille d'Or Pommadier Cream Polish that after just one application when buffing, we're already getting a really nice shine out of these pairs of shoes. You can absolutely do more than one coat of a cream polish, you know, if it's been a while since you've polished your shoes like it has been with these Grensons then I would probably recommend two to three different applications of the cream polish in order to build that finish. Wow so you can see with just two applications of the Saphir Medaille D'or pommadier cream polish, these Grensons are looking absolutely fantastic. You could honestly stop here if you are happy with this level of shine, but I'm going to go ahead and apply one more coat of the Saphir Medaille d'Or wax polish just to show you how we can elevate the shine even more by adding some hard waxes. Now, with the cream polish what we've done is we've nourished the leather and we've recovered it. Now the wax polish is going to further help elevate that shine and add a little bit of protection with the higher concentration of hard waxes. I've got some of the cognac Medaille d'Or Pate De Luxe Wax Polish here. I am matching the wax polish to the same color cream polish I used, but there's no reason that you couldn't use a neutral wax if that's all you had because again, in this step we're really less concerned about pigment than we are about adding that higher concentration of hard waxes.

So I'm going to apply a light amount of the Pate De Luxe Wax polish to my cotton chamois and then I'm just going to apply this the same way that I did the cream polish in small little circular motions. Less is more whenever it comes to the wax polish. You don't have to apply a ton. The more you apply the harder it's going to be to buff off. After you've allowed the wax polish a good two three minutes to dry, then simply buff it off with a horsehair brush the same way you did the cream polish using moderate to firm pressure

OK, so you can see that with the Pate De Luxe wax polish we've elevated that shine even more. We've also added a little bit of a higher amount of hard waxes to the surface of the leather. What that's going to do it's going to provide additional protection against you know any type of water spots and just anything else that could damage the leather of the shoes. This shine is actually quite fantastic. I'm not going to do a second coat of the Pate de Luxe because honestly I think these more casual loafers would be too shiny. But one note for someone that is wanting to elevate the shine even more: you could do a second application of the Pate De Luxe on the entire shoe, that hat would be completely fine, but you want to be careful about applying too much wax across the vamp because when that bends as you're walking these hard waxes, if you have too much built up, are going to crack and leave a white residue. If that happens it's very easy to remove- just buff it off with a horsehair brush. But just again because the Saphir Pate De Luxe Wax polish has such a high concentration of hard waxes, you do want to be careful about building too much across the vamp. So there we have, just with two products: the Saphir Medaille d'Or Pommadier cream polish and the Pate De Luxe Wax polish we've totally renovated and restored the shoes and they look fantastic.

So that's it for our basic shoeshine guide. If you have any questions feel free to email us at or feel free to ask your questions in the comments section. We love hearing from you and we look forward to teaching you how to shine your shoes.