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Shoe Care Guide

How to Mirror Shine Shoes

Creating a mirror shine on your shoes is known to be a time-consuming process. However, with our new Saphir Mirror Gloss Wax Polish and a few basic steps, you can achieve a high-shine glaçage in under 15 minutes.

Products used in this video:


Hi I'm Kirby Allison founder of The Hanger Project, and the purpose of this video is to show you how to create a high gloss mirror shine in three basic steps using the Saphir Medaille D'Or mirror gloss polish. A proper mirror shine is arguably one of the most difficult to achieve. The reason is that it requires the build up of a wax layer on the cap, on the hard surfaces of the shoe that reflects light. In order to do this you have to successfully apply coat, after coat, after coat, of wax polish until you build the wax finish above the pores and it's able to glass out- to glaçage so that reflects light. The products that I'm going to use here is a horse hair brush to help brush the leather, The Saphir Medaille D'Or Pommadier cream polish for cleaning, the Saphir Medaille D'Or mirror gloss wax, and finally the Pate De Luxe Medaille D'Or standard wax polish. I've also got something to apply water which you need with your glass wax because it's very dry, so I've got both our high shine water dispenser and just a simple spritz bottle, and then another product that is actually really essential for this process that we created specifically for the mirror shine, is our high shine chamois. Now the high shine chamois is very important because what it is, is basically high quality cotton shirting. We use a 180x2 ply shirting for this and what it does is it creates a very tight weave that allows you to very efficiently control the amount of wax polish that you're applying to the shoes. This is very important if you're trying to produce a mirror gloss using cotton balls or a standard cotton chamois, it's much more difficult than using this mirror glass high shine chamois.

Today I'm going to be shining a new pair of bespoke Cleverley Cap toe shoes, these are bespoke shoes I had made from G. J. Cleverley in London. Now the amount of preparation that you need before you start with the mirror gloss shine is really going to depend on the condition of your shoes. These are relatively new shoes, I've worn them several times so there is a little bit of preparation that is needed but, really I'm just going to use a cream polish in order to prepare them. If you've been using a shoe polish that contains silicone and resins like a cheap or store bought polish, then you might want to clean the shoes first with a RenoMat in order to really open up the leather. If you've got a really high quality pair of shoes that you've been taking care of with the Saphir Medaille D'Or, you really don't need to do much prep. The second thing to know about that mirror finish is that you only want to do a mirror finish on the hard countered areas of the shoe, traditionally, that's the toe box and the hind quarters. The reason is that you're building up essentially a solid wax finish, so if you do that anywhere the shoe leather is going to bend, the moment that you walk, that wax is going to crack so if you see white build up across the vamp of the shoe, normally it is because you applied too much hard wax to that area.

First I'm going to brush the shoes, just a very light brush in order to remove any type of large surface dirt.So the purpose of using the Saphir Medaille D'Or Pommadier cream polish is just to clean the leather and prepare it to receive the mirror gloss wax. Because of the high concentration of solvents in the cream polish, it's able to clean the leather and prepare it. Here I am using the high shine chamois, and I like to pull the chamois over my index and middle finger. And then here. I'm just applying. A little bit of cream Polish. So just applying it here. in small circular motions, I'm going to take a little bit more. But remember with shoe polish, less is more. So here I'm just applying it. Then, instead of buffing it off what I'm going do is I'm going to employ the technique that you see used throughout the entire shoeshine process, which is that in order to really elevate the shine, you buff- you don't brush. So you're going to use a high shine chamois with a little bit of water in circular motions and that's how you take the fogged wax finish and elevate the shine. Here I'm to let the wax - or the cream Polish dry a little bit and you can see how it fogging- completely normal, and then I'm going to take my water dispenser which we sell on the Hanger Project, and I'm just going to get my chamois a little bit. Right. So after this has dried, I'm going to buff this cream polish and that's all the preparation I'm going to do to the leather.

So here I'm just using circular motions with light pressure. You don't want to press too hard into the leather it's just with light pressure, and as you buff the leather you're going to see that this cream polish begins to shine. Now once you start feeling the chamois beginning to track across the surface of the leather, you need to apply a little bit more water. You're going to do this until the fogging disappears. Now you can see that because this is already been shined it few times that it's already got a pretty nice high gloss shine, but once we start flying the mirror gloss you're going to see this shine elevate even more. I'm going to do it in the same process I did in cleaning the shoes. I'm going to use a clean section of the chamois, going to wrap it around my two fingers.

And again, because the mirror gloss has such a high concentration of hard waxes and such a low solvent ratio, you really want to be using as much water as possible in order to lubricate the chamois and to allow it to glide across the shoe. So I'm going to do know three sprays, take some wax polish- now you can see I'm rubbing it a lot in here, but because it's such a hard wax I'm still just picking up just a tiny amount of wax polish. Using circular motions and a very light touch, I'm going to start applying. The mirror gloss wax to the shoe. Again, you want to be very careful to apply the mirror gloss to the hard countered areas of the shoe. On a Cap Toe, it's very easy to see you know where the hard countered area ends and the soft vamp begins because of the cap but on a pair of hole cuts, you really need to pay attention to where you know the shoe to bend. Sometimes you can see that by the creasing, but sometimes you just need to know that based off where they've been when you're wearing them. I'm going to spray a little bit more water and while this is drying, I'm going to apply the same mirror gloss polish to the rear of the shoe. Again, I'm just applying it to that hind quarters; once you feel the chamois begin to drag again apply a little bit more water and start going again.

So here I've applied my first layer of the mirror gloss wax polish. Now using this product you can normally produce a pretty high mirror gloss within three to five different coats. So after you've allowed the mirror gloss to dry, it dries pretty quickly, because again, it's such a hard wax, spray a little bit more water and your chamois. You can see I just got a few little white drops there, and then using a very light touch begin to buff that wax. I'm using circular motions, you can take up just a little bit of wax polish to help further lubricate your chamois also and then using circular motions, I'm going to try to buff as much of that clouding out of the wax polish. During this process of building the wax foundation, don't concentrate too much on the quality of the shine because that's really going to come in the last step where we use the Pate De Luxe to melt that wax and really glaçage it. So here I have applied some more and then I'm just going to repeat this three or five times using more of the mirror gloss wax polish, applying it in circular motions, massaging it into the leather, then allowing it to dry before buffing it off. I like to buff on the fingers whenever I'm applying the wax polish, then whenever I'm buffing the polish off, what I'll do is I'll roll my fingers so that I'm buffing on a clean area of the chamois that doesn't have any wax build up, and I find that it's really effective at buffing the wax off.

So between layers of wax polish while I'm doing this process, you really don't need to allow much time just a few, you know, 30 seconds. I mean, because this wax is already so dry to begin with, the Medaille D'Or mirror gloss dries pretty quickly. Once you've created that mirror gloss, it's actually kind of a pretty fragile shine. This is about the third or fourth wax finish-or layer of wax that I apply to the calf of my shoe, and I think I'm getting near the point where I can finish it off using the Pate De Luxe. Now again the question of how many layers to apply is really dependent upon the shoe that you're starting with. If you're shining a pair of shoes for the first time and it really doesn't have much wax finish, then you're going to have to add more layers of the mirror gloss in order to build up that foundation, but if you're just glaçaging over a pair of shoes that you've had for a while, that are already in pretty good condition, you should be able to get away with three to five layers of the mirror gloss before coming on top with the Pate De Luxe. A lot of that also depends on how much of a gloss you want. Like with anything, there's different levels.

OK. So here I am. You can see that there's still a little bit of fogging one the toe box here. Right. It's not a mirror shine but that's OK because what we're going to do is we're going to finish the mirror shine off with the Pate De Luxe wax polish. The high solvent ratio is going to melt that wax to really glaçage it over, but you can't do that unless you already have a really strong wax foundation. The next step is then to take some traditional Medaille D'Or Pate De Luxe wax polish and you can see, it's a much softer wax polish. Since we're just doing this to the toe box and the hind quarters, you want to apply just a tiny amount of wax polish. I'm going to just, with a really light touch, apply a little bit of wax polish, then using no water, I'm going to repeat that same process where I apply the wax polish. and without letting it dry, I'm going to begin buffing it off.

If you feel that your chamois is really starting to drag you could probably do just one small spritz of water, I think I still have enough residual water on my chamois that I'm not going to need to. With a really light touch, I'm just buffing the clouding out of that wax polish, and you can really see that mirror shine start to come out. Especially during this last stage, you want to use just a really fine light touch, I mean, as light as possible, in order to get that polish to come up. I'm doing just another small layer and again, I'm really not giving this enough time to dry, I'm going to spritz my chamois then continue to buff that off. Now what's happening here, is that you've built a foundation of hard waxes using the highly concentrated mirror gloss polish, and then you're using the solvents, the higher concentration of solvents that you have in the Pate De Luxe to melt that Polish down and to buff it to a high shine.

Now it's difficult to do this using the Pate De Luxe alone because it's such a relatively soft wax that you have a much more difficult time building up that initial foundation of wax but with the mirror gloss, it's really easy to do. Use just one more water-no more polish, again, a very light touch and I'm just going to very lightly buff this polish. And there you have it, in as little as 20 minutes, of course depending on the condition of your shoes and how comfortable you are, you can produce a really nice high gloss mirror shine. If you desire even more gloss, even more or glaçage, even more mirror, just continue this process by applying the mirror gloss wax polish to build that foundation and then buffing it down or polishing it down using a little bit of the softer Pate De Luxe wax polish. and your high shine chamois.