Lost Shine of The Shoes! Learn How To Shine Leather Boots

Learning how to shine leather boots shoes is not just about making them look good. It is also necessary to extend their lifespan and make them more durable. By applying some shine, you’ll be able to waterproof and moisturize the leather.

Materials You Will Need

  • Shine cloth
  • Cotton balls
  • Shoe polish
  • Towel or old newspaper
  • Horsehair shine brush
  • Wax polish

Step by Step Guide

  1. Spread some old newspapers or towel where you will do your work. Cover a large area so the polish doesn’t smear anything. Don’t polish near carpets because shoe polish is very hard to remove.
  2. Use the horsehair brush to remove dirt and dust. You can use a damp cloth if you don’t have a brush too. If dirt won’t come off, dampen the brush. Wait for the boots to dry before proceeding.
  3. Apply shoe polish. Follow the label directions on how to apply. Use only polish that matches your boots’ color.
  4. Apply plenty of polish all over the surface. Do not forget to apply polish on the seams. Polish in an even manner, similar to how would you paint.
  5. Wait for the polish to dry. Usually this takes 15 minutes, but it may take more or less time depending on how much polish you applied.
  6. Use the horsehair brush to shine the boots. Brush the extra polish off until only a fine layer is left.
  7. Once you have covered the boot, add another layer of shine on the heel and toe to make it glossier. Dip a pad or cotton ball in water so it is damp.
  8. Apply some polish on the cotton ball and rub this on the heel and toes. Wipe in a circular motion.
  9. Repeat the process with the cotton balls until you’re happy with the amount of shine. Just like when shining the boots, you have to remove the excess polish. Always use new cotton balls to remove the excess polish and when applying a new layer.

Tips for Shining Shoes

  • It is harder to shine new leather boots than old ones. The reason is the polish on new shoes haven’t fully opened, which makes it difficult to work in polish. Once you have worn the boots for a while, the pores open up and polishing becomes easier.
  • New wax polish takes longer to settle than old wax. It takes also takes more time to settle down and flatten. Older wax is more easily absorbed, allowing you to create multiple layers. If you’re having a hard time, put the new wax in a freezer overnight so it’s hard when you use it.
  • Use old rags and clothes to polish. Sometimes however, old rags leave “scratches” on the surface. If there are scratches, apply a bit of polish on a new cloth. Apply this polish with a bit of water and rub on the surface back and forth.
  • Whenever possible, use shoe trees before polishing. As you apply the polish, it might get out of shape as you press. With shoe trees this won’t be a problem.
  • Be careful when shining tan leather boots. The color is very sensitive, and applying the wrong polish shade will ruin its color. Make certain the color you choose is the appropriate one and you apply only in small amounts.
  • Mirror shine should only be used on heel counters, the toe caps and facing. The rest of your boots should have a smooth appearance, but save the glass-like effect for those three areas.
  • Blue wax gives a better shine than black. However it’s also going to depend on the shade of your boots.

Frequently Asked Questions


There is no need to go to a professional shoe shine service as it’s easy enough to do on your own. Shining leather shoes don’t take a lot of time, but the payoff is immense. No matter what type of shoes you’re wearing, they’re going to last longer and look better with some shine.

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