If you’ve ever read any Sherlock Holmes stories, you know that you can tell a lot about a man by the state of his footwear. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing Armani loafers or Costco sneakers, if you don’t take proper care of your shoes then you’re giving anyone who looks down at your feet permission to look down on you in general. The good news is, giving your shoes a good shining is easy, quick, and so long as you don’t take frequent strolls in swamps, you won’t have to do it more than every month or two.

  1. What You’ll Need

Shoe polish that matches the color of your shoes. A horsehair shoeshine brush, a rag, and enough newspaper to cover a significant swath of area, it’s hell to wash shoe polish out of carpet. If you live in wintry climes, I’d highly recommend you pick up a bottle of mink oil. It softens, conditions, and waterproofs leather shoes. Apply it at least once a year and you’ll add several to the pair’s life span. If you’re very thorough on the cusp of obsessive compulsive, have an old toothbrush on hand to scrub hard to reach parts.

black leather boots with shoe maintenance set

  1. Dust Off Your Shoes

Once you’ve spread out your newspaper and prepared the area, dampen your cloth and run it over your shoes to take the dust and grime off them. Don’t drench the cloth, you don’t want it to be wet, just damp enough to pick up the dirt. Be sure to give them 10-15 minutes to dry.

  1. Apply Polish

Dip your brush into your polish tin and then rub it into the surface of the shoe using circular motions. If you’re using liquid polish, it usually comes in a spray bottle with a foam thing over the nozzle. Put the foam thing over the shoe and squeeze to get the polish to come out. Brush firmly, and make sure you’re getting into the nooks and crannies. If you need to, use the tooth brush to apply polish to grooves, in particular the space where the leather and the sole meet. Make sure you’re applying even coverage, using a little less polish is better than using too much.Fotolia_100901664_Subscription_Monthly_M

  1. Buffing

Once you’ve made sure the polish is even and there’s no excess bits bunched up anywhere, get a clean cloth and rub hard like you’ve seen street urchins do in old timey movies from the twenties. Buff the shoes until you’re satisfied and leave them on the newspaper to dry. If you aren’t happy with your first attempt, you can repeat the process until you that leather shines like a mirror. If you plan on applying mink oil, wait twenty minutes to a half hour for the shoe polish to dry then apply the oil evenly using a clean cloth.