How to polish your shoes using cream polish

How to polish your shoes using cream polish

Do you remember those old movies and novels where the harshest way to punish a child was to make it polish the entire family shoe cabinet? Well, let us assure you it doesn't need to be nearly as bad as it might sound. On the contrary - if done right, polishing your shoes can become a fairly rewarding ritual. We'll try to introduce you to the art of the classic shoe polishing process using a cream polish in a few simple steps.

1) Cleaning

First of all you should brush your shoes to get rid of the most visible surface stains such as those caused by mud and other elements. Natural Horsehair Shoe Brush is the right tool for the job. So first of all, give your shoes a proper brush. No need to be that hard on them, if the brush alone doesn't do the trick, try using a clean moist cloth to get rid of the remaining stains.

Saphir Natural Horsehair Shoe Brush

If your shoes are coated by a layer of cream or wax from your previous polishing attempts, you have to get rid of it first, because that kind of buildup won't do you any good. Judging from our own experience removing these previous layers may prove to be quite demanding. If you don't succeed with your brush or cloth alone, you'll have to opt for a cleaner, something like Saphir Reno'Mat or the famous yet quite aggressive Saddle Soap. These will clean both the shoe care products buildup and silicone alike - something you might find handy if you're switching to proper shoe care from the fast yet mediocre method of polishing your shoes with the instant-shine sponge. A word of caution: do not use the cleaners too often, they're all fairly aggressive and could damage your shoes when used excessively. Once or twice a year is all you need if you're not doing the whole thing terribly wrong.

2) Nourishment

If you had to resort to using a wet cloth, let your shoes dry in the room temperature. Exposing your shoes to excessive heat (e.g. by putting them on a radiator) may damage the leather and that's certainly not an achievement one would boast about. 

Your shoes need proper nourishment to maintain its charm and flexibility. That's what a leather conditioner is here to do. Choose a high-quality one, preferably Saphir Renovateur. It contains beeswax, lanolin and mink oil. That combination works magically on oiled leather - it nourishes it deeply and also adds a first hint of shine. It will also make the leather softer and ready to absorb the cream's pigment. You should apply the conditioner in circular motions using a chamois cloth or a simple cotton cloth, anything natural and clean will do, even an old T-shirt. Avoid synthetic materials though. Don't overdo it with the conditioner - a little dab will go a long way. There's a difference of opinion as to whether you should use the conditioner every time you polish your shoes. Some argue in favor of that approach, some say using it every other time is more than enough.

Saphir Medaille d'Or Renovateur Oiled Leather Conditioner

3) Applying the cream

Let's talk about how to choose the right cream for a second. Pick the color that fits your shoes the best. Darker shades might be handy when trying to create a patina but would work poorly as a ground layer. If you're uncertain about the right color, we would suggest picking a cream that's one shade lighter than your shoes, don't do it the other way around.

If you followed our instructions and applied a conditioner, let your shoes absorb it before you apply the cream. If you want to have a better hold of your shoes, hold it on the inside with your free hand, that should with the whole operation. After that it's time to apply the cream. At first it may prove quite hard to find the right amount. Seeing that you want to avoid a gradual cream buildup it's suggested you go slowly and only a apply a small volume of cream at a time. You can measure it using the cream's lid. The old cotton T-shirt or cloth from the previous step might be useful here as well, but be sure to only use the clean part that's not soaked in conditioner. For the parts of shoe that are hard to reach you can use the Polish Dauber. Apply the first layer of cream evenly using short circular motions. It should dry in some fifteen minutes.

Small & Thin Polish Dauber with Black Bristle

Once the cream has dried, use a brush to polish the shoes and to get rid of the excessive cream. Afterwards, apply a thin second layer of cream, let it dry for a while and then brush it again. If it's a first-ever application, repeat the whole process for a third time. If you have done the whole thing in the past, one or two layers will do. Be sure to remember to go easy on the trigger when it comes to the volume of the cream used.

If you've managed to complete all the mentioned steps, your shoes will reward you with a soft velvety shine. Good luck with the whole thing!


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