Importance Of Shoe Shining & Conditioning
So you've already invested hundred over dollars on a pair of leather shoes and you would most definitely want to ensure it can last a long time. Now, how do you do that? It's time you invest in its upkeep too - and we guarantee it's not going to cost you half as much!
Why is conditioning your shoes so important? It's good to note that leather is a piece of skin that no longer has a living body to take care of it. Thus, even for the best and most expensive leather in the world, if you do not condition it on a regular basis, it will dry up and eventually crack and break down quickly. Once the shoes show signs of cracking, there is no going back.
But beyond prolonging the lifespan of your shoes, learning how to shine your shoes can really transform an outfit, too. Whether it's an upcoming job interview or your friend's wedding, the formality of the shine on your shoes is an ideal pairing for tailoring and not to mention - it also exudes confidence and shows that you're well-kept.
Before we get down to the quick process of conditioning and shining your shoes, here are 5 basic tools you'll need to create your very own shoe shining kit!
1. Shoe Brush
For brushing away dirt and dust and also for applying your polish. If you have different coloured wax, it is important to have 1 shoe brush for each colour.
2. Soft Cloths
Use any old t-shirt that you have and tear them into strips
3. Leather Cleaner
Removing dirt, stains as well as old polishes
4. Shoe Conditioner
For obvious reasons, to condition the leather upper to keep your leather from drying out and cracking
5. Shoe Polish
Wax based are for creating immaculate shine and cream base for maintaining its colour
6. Shoe Trees (optional)
Ideally made for keeping your shoes in shape and absorbing moisture, it also comes in handy when you're polishing your shoes as it helps to open up cracks in between!
Now that you've gotten these nifty tools, it's time to get to work!
To begin, make sure to line your work area with newspaper to ensure that it doesn't get all dirty. If your shoes have laces, remove them. And if there is a built up of polish or if they are very dirty, use the leather cleaner on them. Also, if you're using a pair of shoe trees, this is the part where you put them into your shoes!
To condition, first use the shoe brush to brush away dust and dirt from your shoes. Then apply a pea-sized amount of leather conditioner onto a clean cloth and start gently rubbing it into the leather. Work on the shoes upper then set it aside and work on the next shoe. Leave the shoes alone for about 10 minutes and you will notice a haze developing, use another clean cloth to buff away the haze. It's very important not to skip this step as it helps to keep the leather soft and supple! Without this vital product, the leather will deteriorate faster.
Moving on to polishing your shoes, pick up a fresh cloth and a tiny bit of polish then apply it on the shoes in a circular motion. It's important to use the polish sparingly for lighter coloured leather shoes (Tan/Chestnut). You can add more as you go if you feel that it's not enough but never apply too much on the first go! Before you put your shoes to dry, always ensure that all the polish has been thoroughly absorbed and there aren't any visible polish clumps. Then allow the polish to dry and set it aside for about 10 minutes.
Finally, it's time to buff the shoes vigorously using the shoe brush. This is to help to work the polish into the leather as well as remove any excess. This will also help to add some shine to it simultaneously!
If you're looking to get some super shiny shoes, follow the guide above and add one last step to the process. Add a small amount of wax on the area which you are going to shine with a cloth in with circular motions, once it starts to look a little mattified, add a small drop of water on the area and start rubbing it in again using circular motions. Repeat as needed until you have achieved your desired level of shininess!
Moving on, how often should you condition and polish your shoes? As a general rule, you don't need to follow-up with this routine more than once a week. But if you're really that lazy and do not want to polish them, the least you could do is insert a pair of shoe trees into your shoes at the end of each day and brush them down with a shoe brush and apply some shoe conditioner once every 2 weeks. This is the bare minimum if you're really looking to prolong the lifespan of your shoes. There's no other way around it!
How do you maintain your shoes? Share with us in the comment section below!