[Mirror Shine Polish] High Shine Polish Recommended for Formal Leather Shoes

High Shine Polish Recommended for Formal Leather Shoes [Mirror Shine Polish] eye-catch imageLife/Health

When you get really into shoe polishing, you may want to try “mirror shine polish.

Mirror shine polish is a high shine or high gross polish used to make the toes and heels of formal leather shoes such as business shoes and loafers shine like a mirror.

I started polishing our shoes about five years ago at home, and of course, I’ve been trying to polish shes to a mirror shine as well. However, there were several cases where the polish doesn’t turn out to be mirror shine.

In this article, I will explain how to polish your shoes to a mirror shine without failing based on my experience at home.


Let’s get those leather shoes shined up and feel refreshed!

If you want to know how to polish your shoes first, please read this article.


What is mirror shine polish (high shine polish) for leather shoes?

What is Mirror Shine Polish

“Mirror shine polish” is an optional step after the leather shoes have been cleaned and polished with a leather nourishing cream.

Only the toe and heel areas of the shoes are polished to a mirror-like shine using a special oil-based high shine wax.

“It’s also called “high shine polish” or “mirror shine. The wax is applied to the pores of the leather in layers and then polished to a mirror-like shine.

Before and After Mirror Shine Polishing

From the images above, it might be a little hard to tell the difference because of the lighting, but you can see that the toe area is shinier after the mirror shine polishing.

Mirror shine polish is especially recommended for men’s business shoes, pumps for parties, and other shoes for formal wear, as it makes them look much more beautiful and formal.

4 Tools for Mirror Polish of Leather Shoes

4 Tools for Mirror Polish of Leather Shoes

There are only four simple tools used for mirror polishing leather shoes.

  1. Wax
  2. Water
  3. Cloth
  4. Horsehair Brush

I will explain them one by one in detail.

Tools used for mirror polishing (1) Wax

4 Tools for Mirror Polish of Leather Shoes_water

The wax used for polishing contains wax as its main ingredient. Wax is used to coat the surface of the leather to create a glossy shine.

When the wax is applied in layers and then polished, it becomes a mirror-like shine.

However, since wax is the main ingredient, solid and not creamy, it must be applied while adding some water.

There are many types of waxes used for mirror polishing, but here are three typical waxes.

Saphir Beeswax

Saphir Beeswax
Saphir Beeswax is an easy-to-use, reasonably priced, and popular wax for mirror polishing.

Saphir is overwhelmingly favored by many leather brands and shoemakers around the world.

Since we don’t do that much mirror shine polishing at home, we only bought one wax for the polish, and after a lot of Googling, we decided on “Saphir Noir Mirror Gloss,” which I will introduce later.

However, when I looked it up later, I found that

Saphir Noir Mirror Gloss is difficult to use because the wax is a hard type.

I’ve seen many comments that it is not easy to use.

For this reason, we recommend the typical shoe care brand “Saphir Beeswax”, especially for beginners.

Saphir Noir Mirror Gloss

Saphir Noir Mirror Gloss: for mirror polishing

Saphir Noir Mirror Gloss is the most popular waxes for mirror polishing.

The difference between Saphir Beeswax and Saphir Noir Mirror Gloss is as follows.

  • General use
  • Price: about JPY880 (USD8)
  • Easy to use for beginners
  • Melts quickly, Easy to apply
Noir Mirror Gloss
  • Professional use
  • Price: about JPY2,420(USD22)
  • Difficult to make a mirror-shine surface
  • Very hard to melt

“Saphir Noir Mirror Gloss” is a professional wax that can make your shoes shine quickly.

If you are really into shoe shining, try Saphir Noir Mirror Gloss!

M.Mowbray High Shine Polish

The third one I’d like to introduce is M. Mowbray High Shine Polish.

As you can see in this article, we mostly use shoe tools from the Italian brand “M. MOWBRAY” for shoe polishing.

The reason for this is because I bought an M. Mowbray shoe polish starter set first and became a fan.

“M. Mowbray is a great brand that preserves tradition and quality by following the traditional recipes of skilled craftsmen.

Even though it is a well-established brand, its overall price is more reasonable than Saphir.

Tools for Mirror Polish (2) Water

4 Tools for Mirror Polish of Leather Shoes_water

After spreading the wax evenly, polish the shoes with a cloth soaked with “water” prepared in a suitable container.

The reason for polishing the shoes with water is that if you polish the wax with the cloth alone, the cloth will rub off the wax and damage the shoes.


Wax is oil-based and doesn’t mix with water, so you cannot mix wax with water to polish.

Many people put the water in a dispenser called a “push down pump dispenser.”

It’s convenient because you just have to press the head lightly, and a fixed amount of water comes out.

But I use a shallow container with water in it since I don’t have a push-down pump dispenser.

Tools for mirror polishing (3) Cloth

4 Tools for Mirror Polish of Leather Shoes_Cloth

To polish leather shoes, dip a small amount of water in a cloth and polish the wax to make it shine.

You can use ordinary cotton cloths, but flannel cotton cloths are softer and may be used to polish the wax gently without damaging your shoes.

We have extra eyeglass wiping cloths at home, and I use these because their texture is soft.


If you don’t have one, you can use a piece of cut-out T-shirt.

Tools for mirror polishing (4) Horsehair brush

4 Tools for Mirror Polish of Leather Shoes_horsehair brush

“If you’re a serious shoe polisher, you probably already have a horsehair brush.

A horsehair brush is used to even out the mirror polished and unpolished areas after applying a layer of wax and polishing with water.

5 Steps for Mirror Polish of Leather Shoes

Procedure for Mirror Polish of Leather Shoes

This is the order in which you polish leather shoes.

Procedure for Mirror Polish of Leather Shoes
  • STEP 1
    Shape your leather shoes with a shoe keeper
    Put a shoe keeper into the leather shoes to shape the shoes.
  • STEP 2
    Repeat waxing several times
    Apply a thin layer of wax several times.
  • STEP 3
    Add water to the wax
    Take a drop or two of water on your fingertip and put it on the waxed area.
  • STEP 4
    Polish the wax
    Polish the wax with a cloth. If there is not enough water, add more water as needed.
  • STEP 5
    Make the wax even with other parts
    Brush the shoe lightly with a horsehair brush to even out the mirror-polished area with the rest of the shoe.

 STEP 1 Place a shoe keeper in the leather shoes and shape the shoes

Put shoe keepers to shape the shoes

When you polish your shoes, the first step is to put a “shoe keeper” in the leather shoe to shape it.

It would be best to put a shoe keeper in the shoes before mirror polishing because putting the shoe keeper will stretch out the wrinkles on the shoes, making it easier to apply wax.

This is the recommended wooden shoe keeper that I love to use. I highly recommend this wooden shoe keeper, which is outlet priced but has the same quality as famous manufacturers.

 STEP 2 Repeat the waxing process several times

Repeat the waxing process several times

The next step is to apply the wax.

Make the first layer of wax

First, take a small amount of wax on your finger and spread it evenly over your toes and heels thinly and gently. This is the first layer.

Only the toes and heels need to be mirror polished because wrinkles form in the areas where the foot bends when wearing shoes, and wax will cause these areas to crack.

The wax in a candle tends to crack when it hardens, right? It’s the same principle. In our house, we use mirror shine polish only on our toes but not heels for no particular reason.

I use my fingers to apply the wax because I have tried using a cloth, but it doesn’t work well with the wax and doesn’t give a uniform finish.

However, I don’t want to apply the wax directly with my fingers because of the smell, so I use disposable gloves.


You can try applying it with your fingers or using gloves, depending on your preference.

If the wax is too hard or too soft, it won’t work, so try to adjust the softness.

  • If the wax is too hard:
    Warm it up with your fingers to make it easier to apply.
  • If the wax is cracked:
    Heat it by burning it with a lighter, etc., from underneath the can to make it liquid and harden again (please be careful when doing so).
  • If the wax is too soft:
    Let it dry before applying it (If the wax is too soft, the first layer will become too thick).

After applying the first layer, make the second layer for the other foot. While you are doing this, the first layer of wax on the first foot will dry.

Making the second layer of wax

After spreading a thin layer of wax on the left foot and the right foot and letting it dry, apply the second layer.

It does not dry easily in summer and dries quickly in winter, so make sure you touch the wax applied to see if it is dry or not. If you apply the second layer when it is not dry, you will not get a good mirror finish.

If you wax several pairs of shoes at once, they will be completely dry by the time you apply the second layer on the first shoe, so it might be a good idea to polish with wax several pairs of shoes instead of just one.

If this is the first time you polish your shoes to a mirror shine polish, repeat this process about five times. If your shoes have been mirror shine polished several times before, about three times is enough.

Finally, let it dry for about five minutes to get a complete layer of wax.

 STEP 3 Put a drop or two of water on the wax

Add a few drops of water to the wax

After a layer of wax has been applied, take a few drops of water on your fingertip and let fall on the waxed surface.

At this point, you can soak the cloth with water and wipe it off without putting water drops on it, but we do it this way because it works better if you put water drops on the shoes first.

Professional shoe polishers also do it this way.

 STEP 4 Polishing the wax with a cloth

Polish the wax with a cloth

It’s time for the critical wax polishing process.

Using a cloth, polish the wax with a drop of water. Adding water to the wax makes it more flexible and easier to polish. As soon as you feel friction while wiping, add water as needed.

If you use too much water, it will become difficult to polish, so it is better to keep the entire surface just slightly damp.

If you use too much force, the wax will come off, so polish gently in a circular motion, little by little.

This process takes a lot of patience and time, but it will gradually become glossy and shiny as you slowly and gently polish them.


I do it patiently while listening to music or the radio.

 STEP 5 Use a horsehair brush to even out the surface with other parts

Use a horsehair brush to even out the surface with other areas

Finally, brush lightly with a horsehair brush to make the mirror-polished part and other parts even.

You can also use a cotton ball to lightly even out the surface.

Mirror polishing is complete!

Mirror Shoe Polishing is done

Now your effort has been paid off, and the mirror shine polish is complete!

What do you think? Is it done well? It’s a great feeling to see your leather shoes well polished to a mirror-like shine, isn’t it?

Unlike shoe polishing, mirror polishing does not need to be done every time but can be done when the shine is gone.


Every time, it’s a bit of a time-consuming and difficult task.

Summary [Mirror Shine Polish] High Shine Polish Recommended for Formal Leather Shoes

High Shine Polish Recommended for Formal Leather Shoes Summary

This article explained the tools used for mirror shine polishing recommended for formal leather shoes and the procedures to polish your shoes to a mirror shine.

Mirror polishing is quite challenging and requires a lot of patience and practice since if you can’t wait for the next layer of wax to harden and dry, then the results would become an uneven finish.


But when it is done successfully, it feels really good!

If you’re thinking of starting shoe polishing, or if you’ve been doing it for a while but have never done a mirror shine polishing before, you should definitely give it a try!


Please also see the article on how to polish black shoes.

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