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Shoe Care Guide

Shoe Shine Brush Guide

The Hanger Project boasts the largest collection of luxury shoe polishing accessories in the world. We seek out only the highest-quality items and have them manufactured to our unique specifications.Our Horsehair Shoe Polishing Brushes use 100% tail hair. There is no mane and tail. - the finest quality - pinned at a higher density. Not only do they produce a better buff, they do not shed annoying bristle. Our finishing brushes are made with the finest goat and yak hair.

Products used in this video:


Hi, I'm Kirby Allison, founder of The Hanger Project. This video is the ultimate shoe shine brush overview. I'm going to talk about all the brushes that we carry here at The Hanger Project, their differences, how to use them, and most importantly how to select the right shoe shine brush to take care of your shoes. If you have any questions during this video please ask them in the comments section below. And if you haven't taken a moment to subscribe to our YouTube channel please do that now by clicking the red button. You'll get notifications of all of our great videos here at The Hanger Project on garment care, shoe care, and then my travels kind of throughout the world and meeting with different artisans in kind of this industry.

So here at The Hanger Project we carry a ton of different shoeshine brushes, and so at times it can be a little overwhelming of how to select the right shoe shine brush for you. And so one of the purposes of this video is to really simplify all of the brushes we carry. And so at its highest level there's really two different types of shoe shine brushes. One is a primary brush you're going to use to shine your shoes. After you've applied the polish you're going to use this brush to buff off the polish and produce that nice soft shine. The second type of brush which is a little bit less common, is a finishing brush. So this is a yak hair brush or a goat hair finishing brush that is completely discretionary. And this is really more of just something to use to either finish off your shoes to provide that last shine or to just buff your shoes at the beginning or the end of the day.

Every shoeshine kit needs a horsehair shoeshine brush. This is going to be the brush you're using 90 percent of the time and is really the most important brush you can have. If you only have one brush, it's going to be a horsehair brush. We've got two sizes here at The Hanger Project, the larger shoemaker dimension, which is just a larger handle with a longer bristle, or a smaller kind of medium horsehair brush that we have. So again, still the same level of bristle density, but a smaller handle and a smaller cut length on the bristle. Some people prefer a smaller brush because it fits in their hand easier or some people prefer a larger brush because they feel like they're less likely you know whenever they're polishing their shoes to kind of miss and then jam the brush into the leather itself. You know personally, I use the larger shoemaker brush because again, I really enjoy and kind of appreciate that larger dimension, it's got a longer bristle which is softer, and I just feel like you get a better buff with a larger brush than you do with a shorter one.

Second is a pig bristle brush. So this isn't going to be what you use to buff that shine. It's really more to kind of get that polish off of the shoe. Absolutely if you have a pebble grain shoe that's prone to kind of accumulating a polish, this pig bristle brush is going to do a better job actually getting into that grain to remove it. And then secondly, if you've got a shoe with like a lot of texture or a lot of broguing, again the pig bristle brush is just going to do that much better of a job kind of getting in to the leather and removing any type of accumulated polish.

And then lastly is whether or not you need any type of finishing brushes. So there's two finishing brushes that we offer here at The Hanger Project. The first one is the goat hair brush. This has a really soft bristle. Now the purpose of the goat hair brush is really for just dusting your shoes at the end of the day. It's a really soft bristle and it's not going to ruin your mirror shine or really kind of change any of the shine texture. And then we have our yak hair brush. So the yak hair brush is easily, I like to say, the most rare shoeshine brush in the world. The Hanger Project is one of just few companies in the world that is even able to source these brushes. So what you get with the yak hair is an incredibly soft yet dense bristle that is just totally unique in the world. To make these brushes even more unique and rare, they can only be made by hand. So all of these bristles have to be hand pinned and you can tell that because the handle is split. So that it can be opened up and then someone literally is pinning all these bristles by hand with metal twine. Now a yak hair again, is a finishing brush, and so it's just for that last kind of final shine.

Shoeshine brushes in my opinion you know fall into the category of things that if you buy once and you buy high quality, you're never going to have to worry about buying that product again. So you know I love hearing stories from customers who inherited like a shoe shine brush from their grandfather. And if you buy a high enough quality shoeshine brush, I mean there's really no reason that these brushes shouldn't last you the rest of your life. So now on to some frequently asked questions that we often get from customers.

So I think our most popular question is do I need both brushes, both a dark bristle and a light bristle brush. And the short answer to that is yes because you want to keep the brush separate that you use for your dark polishes from the one you use from your light colored polishes all brushes accumulate polish as you use them. So you don't want to take a shoeshine brush that you just buffed off polish on a black pair of shoes, and then go to shine a light brown or tan colored shoe, because you're going to end up with streaking on those lighter colored shoes of the residual darker polishes on your horsehair brush. So by having two brushes you can keep separate the one you use for your blacks and dark browns from the brush you use from your light browns and tans.

Another question that we get is how do I clean my brush. You know one of the things that I do is I'll just take my shoeshine brush with a cotton cloth and just buff the cloth with the shoeshine brush and what you're doing is you're just rubbing off any type of residual polish that's accumulated on the brush. Another question we get is how much shedding is normal? with all of our Hanger Project brushes, because we use 100 percent tail hair, you're going to get substantially less shedding with a Hanger Project shoeshine brush than you would with an ordinary brush that you buy at the store. Now that said, you know all brushes shed especially new brushes. So in the beginning, whenever you first receive your new shoe shine brush you know there's always going to be a ton of shedding because those most weak hairs are going to be the first to break. But after you use a brush for a while, you really shouldn't have much shedding at all.

Another question we get is can you apply shoe polish with a shoeshine brush, and the answer is unequivocally no. You would never want to actually apply polish with a shoeshine brush because you're going to end up with too much accumulation and gunking of polish on the brush itself. And you just wouldn't want to ruin a good shoeshine brush you know by putting too much polish on the bristle. I mean really, polish should be applied with a dauber, with a cotton chamois, or with you know Saphir Medaille d'Or shoe polish because it's such high quality I mean you can even apply with your fingers if you want to, but don't ever apply your shoe polsih with your shoeshine brush. So another question we get is you know what types of materials are these shoeshine brushes good for.

You know any type of bristled shoeshine brush is appropriate for anything really other than suede. Suede shoes use a completely different type of brush. And we talk more about those brushes and our daily suede care video that you can find on our YouTube channel. I hope you found this video useful in helping you understand the different types of shoe shine brushes we offer here at The Hanger Project, what makes them different, and then how to select the right shoeshine brush for you. If you have any questions, you know again, ask them in the comments section below. I personally respond to all questions. And then more importantly if you have any stories about shoeshine brushes please share those with us. I mean I love hearing from customers, you know that inherited shoeshine brushes from their grandfather, or they still have the same brushes that they bought 30 years ago whenever they were an intern in New York City, or they're still using the same shoe shine brush that they got in the military. And lastly if you haven't taken an opportunity to subscribe to our YouTube channel, you know please do so, that way you receive notifications when we release new videos here at The Hanger Project. I'm Kirby Allison, thanks for joining us.