— 11 July 2023

WATCH: How To Polish Your Shoes Like A Pro

— 11 July 2023
Randy Lai
Randy Lai

Once considered to be a part of routine wardrobe maintenance amongst urbane well-dressed types, shoe shining remains — to our minds, at least — one of the most therapeutic bits of self-care you can do in the comfort of your own home.

Admittedly, the question of how to shine shoes doesn’t ring out quite as loudly as it did 50 — hell, even 20 — years ago: the inevitable result of how widespread sneakers have become in contemporary fashion; alongside a loosening of dress codes in all facets of 21st-century living.

Still, we like to think that, from time to time, certain occasions call for the cleaning and sprucing up of your favourite pair of leather dress shoes: be it job interviews; weddings; funerals; or even just a cheeky night out with the people you love.

RELATED: 17 Best Men’s Shoe Brands For Timeless Style In 2023

In addition — and this certainly bears repeating — even a monthly application of shoe polish will do much to preserve high-quality leather shoes. Throw in some leather conditioner; a bit of buffing using a soft cloth (an old t-shirt ought to do the trick) and there’s a good chance that the lifespan of your entire shoe will be prolonged by some 30%. You’re welcome.

how to shine shoes

Simplifying the approach we’ve taken in previous ‘How To’ stories even further; we recommend you take an extended look at the shoe-shining process outlined in the video above.

Starring Yuya Hasegawa, shoe-shining world champion and founder of Tokyo-based Brift H, we recommend that you adopt his (admittedly exhaustive) process to suit the needs of your own shoe polishing. We’ve broken up the individual steps below…

The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide To Shining Shoes, According To Yuya Hasegawa (of Brift H):

  1. Always remove the laces before you shine your shoes (if applicable);
  2. Brush the shoe with a horsehair brush in order to remove dirt and surface debris;
  3. Use a leather cream to clean and condition the shoe;
  4. Work the cream further into the shoe by buffing using a boar bristle brush;
  5. Use a soft cloth to wipe off any excess cream around the shoe’s tongue and creases;
  6. Apply 2-3 coats of natural beeswax polish to the toe box using a cloth (slightly damp) wrapped tautly around your fingers.
  7. Buff off the excess polish (ideally an hour later) with a horsehair brush.

RELATED: How To Tie A Bow Tie (According To Three Menswear Experts)

5 Essential Shoe Shine Supplies To Get You Started

Saphir Renovateur Shoe Cream

how to shine shoes
  • For cleaning and conditioning
  • Made with beeswax and lanolin
  • Use in conjunction with cream/wax polish

Saphir Pommadier Cream Polish

  • Pine-based
  • Silicone-free
  • Available in 20 colours

Saphir Pat de Luxe Wax Shoe Polish

how to shine shoes
  • Formulated for mirror-polishing
  • Contains 7 natural waxes
  • Available in 10 colours

Saphir Horsehair Shoe Brush

  • Best used for polishing, not brushing
  • Pure horsehair bristles
  • Made in France

Brift H Cotton Polishing Cloth

  • Essential for ‘mirror’ shining
  • 100% cotton
  • Set of four

Subscribe to B.H. Magazine

Randy Lai
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].


Share the article