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How to Polish Shoes

We have all been there, eyeing up the perfect pair of shoes for an upcoming event whether that be a wedding, christening or special date. But, once you have proudly worn them a few times, and they are not quite looking as fresh as they once were, this may be a time to completely transform the look of your shoes to a like-new condition. Here is some of our top tips on how to easily polish shoes.

Things you will need:

  • Shoe trees
  • Soft bristle cleaning brush
  • Buffing brush
  • Polishing cloths
  • Polish

Preparation is key.

There are a few things to do before you jump straight in with polishing. Before you start, remove your laces, and ensure your shoes are completely dry. Then insert a shoe tree into each shoe. These are foot-shaped devices that are inserted into shoes to reduce moisture and help hold their shape when they are not being worn. Now it is time to give your shoes a good once over with a gentle, soft bristle brush. You need to make sure there is no loose dirt or dust on the leather before you apply any products.

Men's Leather Brogue Shoes


Whilst this is not a strictly necessary step, conditioning your shoes before you polish will help achieve the overall look you are aiming for. Using a clean, soft cloth you should apply a small amount of shoe cream and gently swirl the cream in a circular movement to the entire shoe, making sure that you work it into any creases and scuffs. This helps to soften and condition the leather before you start with polish. Ensure that you allow enough time for the shoes to completely dry for a few minutes before polishing them.


Now, if you have invested in a great quality pair of leather shoes, it is imperative that you invest in great quality aftercare. Polishing your shoes will protect the leather shoe from stains, nourish it and enhance the colour if you have lost some shine or are experiencing fading. Make sure to use a colour that suits the shoe. We recommend testing any sort of new product on a small area of the shoe first to see how the polish will take.

Men's Brogue Shoes

Using a soft cloth, apply the polish all over the shoe in a circular motion. Then brush the shoes vigorously with a soft brush. Horsehair brushes are generally regarded as the best choice, but any brush with very soft bristles would suffice. The brush needs soft bristles to prevent any scratching of the leathers. Finally, rub briskly with a soft dry cloth to bring up a nice shine. You can leave the polish on the shoe for anywhere between 30 minutes to 24 hours.


Buffing your shoes helps to remove any excess polish and smooths the surface so that your or shoes look incredible once again. Firstly, take your buffing brush (or cloth) and buff ensuring you cover the whole shoe. Buffing vigorously causes friction which will heat up the leather and bring out a high shine that is second to none. Lastly, bring the shoes back together by removing the shoe trees and re-doing your laces.

Admire your work

Now sit back and admire your work! Your shoes should now be in a like-new condition with a dazzling shine. If polishing is done on the regular, it will work wonders for your shoe’s longevity and appearance, and who doesn’t want that? Depending on how often you wear your shoes will depend on how often you should clean then. If worn for best only, it is best to clean them a few days before. If they are worn multiple times such as for work, we recommend polishing your shoes on a weekly basis to maintain a fresh and clean look.

Leather Shoe Polish

Here at Rydale, we offer a superb collection of men’s leather shoes that are perfect for every occasion. They are a prime example of high standard craftsmanship invested into each and every pair. We have a selection of shoes, which include brogues in a variety of sophisticated brown leathers. The guide above doesn't to to be only used on shoes, if you have a pair of leather boots which are in need of some attention, the steps are exactly the same for both. Leather is a quintessential classic for any gent to have in his footwear collection, so looking after them in the correct way is important. 

Thank you for reading our easy guide on how to polish shoes. If you need any further help or advise, please contact us to know more. Be sure to check our collection of men’s leather shoes if you are looking to invest in a high-quality pair that will last for years to come.

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