So, you got yourself a fancy pair of dress shoes, and now, it’s time to keep those beauties looking clean. This article will run you through our time-tested steps for keeping your shoes looking as good as new for years to come.
- If your shoes have laces, we like to start by removing them, so you don’t stain them with polish, and also, so you have easy access to the tongue of your shoe.
- Remove any dust and dirt from the shoes before treating them. Start by putting a wooden shoe tree in the shoe. This stretches out the leather to make sure you have a nice even surface to work with. Now, use a brush to go over the whole shoe and remove any visible dirt or debris. Dirt has a nasty way of building up on the welt of your shoes. That’s the stitching connecting the sole to the upper. For this, we suggest grabbing an old toothbrush to make sure you get any dust and dirt out of the welt, which can be difficult with a bigger brush. Once you’ve removed any dust and dirt, you’re going to want to clean the leather to make sure any oils and other residues are removed before we start the polishing process. We like to use a KIWI leather cleaner for the best results. Apply it all over the shoe using small circular motions. Old t-shirts work pretty good for this too.
- Now, it’s time to pick a polish color that’s best suited to the leather you want to work on. Remember, there are dark and light shades of brown as well as clear or natural polishes. You don’t want to make the mistake of using a dark brown polish on a light brown shoe, for example. Trust us, it’s … It’s bad news.
- Now, use a horsehair dauber or a soft cloth to apply a generous amount of polish to all of the leather parts of your shoe. Remember, this stuff stains, so if you have a lighter colored stitch pattern on the welt of the shoe, you’ll want to be careful to avoid those. Always keep multiple daubers or application cloths on hand. We like to use one for each color.
- Once you’ve got the polish on your shoe, you’ve got to let them sit for a while.
- After they’ve sat for at least 5 minutes, it’s time to get down to business. Take a soft cotton cloth and start polishing until the leather shines. That means the leather has absorbed the wax. Some people find it easier to do this step with the shoe actually on your foot. At the very least, leave the shoe tree in to keep that nice even surface.
For bonus points, you might also like to invest in a professional shoe polisher. It makes the buffing process much easier, and you’ll also feel a little bit more like James Bond. Once you’ve got them polished up, give them a final once-over with a finishing brush. You want to keep that one separate for just this purpose, and your dress shoes will look good as new.
So, there you have it, a dirty worn-in pair of dress shoes has been brought back to life with a few minutes of care and a little bit of elbow grease.