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Shoe Care Guide

High Gloss vs Matte Patina

An example of a pair of Shoes with a High Gloss patina

High Gloss Patina

This super-high-gloss finish has its roots deeply in military service, where servicemen were required to produce a mirror-like finish on their shoes. The various coats of wax required to build the high-gloss shine also offers the leather additional protection against water and soot. A more bold statement, a high-gloss shine is immediately noticeable. This style of shine is appropriate for a pair of shoes you wish to be noticed or for more formal encounters.

on the other hand, contain special waxes that, when buffed, soften to saturate leather pores to create a high-gloss shine. Buffing wax polish with a horsehair brush alone will not provide a high gloss shine. A high-gloss shine is only created by buffing the wax with a cotton chamois (often first spritzed with a little water). The friction created by a cotton chamois generates heat that causes the waxes to melt into the pores of leather. A high-gloss shine arises once the waxes fill these microscopic pores to create a smooth finish – thus the mirroring. The more wax that is applied, the smoother the finish becomes, and the higher-gloss shine that arises.

It is important to note, though, that high-gloss shines are not the best for the leather. The filling of the leather pores with wax polish required to build a mirror finish prevent the leather uppers from breathing. Over time, this can cause cracking. To prevent this, I recommend limiting high-gloss shines to the toe box alone, leaving a softer matte finish for the rest of the shoe, and remembering to nourish the leather with Saphir Renovatuer.

An example of a Matte Patina Shoe

Matte Patina

There is the traditional matte patina. A softer, not-in-your-face shine that is softer and will not draw undue attention. Call it the everyday shine. Perfect for the office or more casual encounters.

Richer in nutrients and pigment than a wax polish, Saphir Cream Polish yields a beautiful, soft patina that showcases the quality of fine leathers.