Easy Shoe Polishing for Beginners: Refresh Your Mind and Shoes with Polishing!

Easy Shoe Polishing for Beginners Refresh Your Mind and Shoes with Polishing_eye-catch imageLife/Health

As we spend more and more time at home, “shoe polishing” is slowly becoming popular.

Many people polish their leather shoes by themselves even if they are busy because taking care of leather shoes makes them feel at ease.

When you polish your leather shoes and make them shine, you feel refreshed and refreshed. It is a great way to kill two birds with one stone, as your precious and expensive leather shoes will last longer.

About five years ago, we started taking care of our leather goods and using them carefully, and as an extension of that, we became interested in shoe polishing.

It’s a really nice feeling when your shoes actually get clean.


I haven’t reached the professional level of “shoeshine hobby,” but I do enjoy having the basic shoeshine tools.

I get excited when I watch various blogs and Youtube videos of shoe polish specialists. Shoeshine is a very in-depth process, and you need a lot of different tools if you want to pursue it.

In this article, I would like to share with you what beginners need to know when trying to polish their shoes, based on our experience.

  • Tools for shoe polishing that you need to have first
  • Basic shoeshine method

It’s hard to choose and expensive to buy shoe polish products one by one, but there are a variety of reasonably priced starter sets that can help you get started!

If you want to take good care of your leather shoes, please try to take care of them.


8 tools for shoe polishing of leather shoes

8 tools for shoe polishing of leather shoes

These are the 8 basic tools that beginners need to have when doing shoe polishing for real.

Shoe polish toolsPurposeMemo
Shoe KeeperTo shape leather shoes.
Horsehair BrushTo remove dirt and dust.
CleanerTo remove dirt.
Polishing for Leather ShoesNourishes the leather.Black has a complementary color effect.
Mini Pig Bristle BrushApply shoe cream.You can use a cloth or cloth.
Pig Bristle BrushBlend shoe cream.
ClothWipe dry to remove excess cream and make it shine.
GloveTo bring out the shine. You can use cloth.

I’ll explain more about each shoe polishing tool later.

6 Steps to Polish Leather Shoes

8 tools for shoe polishing of leather shoes

This is the basic process to take care of your leather shoes.

Procedure of shoe polishing for leather shoes
  • STEP 1
    Shape your leather shoes with a shoe keeper
    Put a shoe keeper in the leather shoes to shape the leather shoes.
  • STEP 2
    Remove dust
    Use a horsehair brush to remove dust and dry dirt from the leather shoes.
  • STEP 3
    Remove old cream and dirt
    Put the cleaner (remover) on the cloth and remove old creams and dirt stuck on the shoes.
  • STEP 4
    Apply cream for leather shoes
    Apply leather shoe cream with a special brush or your fingers.
  • STEP 5
    Blend the cream
    Apply leather shoe cream with a hog hairbrush.
  • STEP 6
    Remove excess cream and polish
    Wipe dry with a glove and polish while removing excess cream.
  • STEP 7
    Shoe polishing is now complete.

Use black shoe cream for black shoes, or colorless for brown, but the rest of the procedure is the same for all leather shoes.

 STEP 1: Place the shoe keeper in the leather shoe and shape the leather shoe

Put shoe keepers to shape the shoes

First of all, put a “shoe keeper” in your leather shoes to shape them.

A “shoe keeper” is a product that you put inside your shoes to smooth out wrinkles and shape them. Although many people don’t use them, shoe keepers are actually very important for the longevity of your leather shoes.

This is the reason why we use a shoe keeper.

  • To keep the shape of your leather shoes and correct any misshapen ones.
  • To prevent wrinkles and cracks in leather shoes.
  • To elongate the wrinkles of leather shoes so that you can take care of the fine parts.

Leather shoes tend to lose their shape and wrinkle easily. Especially after it rains, if the shoes are left wet and unattended, the leather can crack.

For this reason, it is better to put a shoe keeper in your leather shoes on a regular basis so that the shoes will last much longer.

Also, the reason why you should put a shoe keeper in your shoes before polishing them is that the shoe keeper stretches out the wrinkles in the shoes, which removes fine dust and dirt and makes it easier for the shoe cream to penetrate the entire leather.

There are many types of shoe keepers, from expensive wooden ones to cheap plastic ones.

Wooden shoe keeper and plastic shoe keeper

However, buying a wooden shoe keeper for every pair of shoes can be hard on the budget.

In my family, we use wooden shoe keepers for men’s business shoes and plastic ones for women’s pumps and loafers.

This is the wooden shoe keeper that I use. I highly recommend these wooden shoe keepers, which are outlet priced but have the same specifications as famous manufacturers.

Here is a reasonably priced plastic shoe keeper for women’s shoes.

STEP 2: Remove dust and dry dirt from leather shoes with a horsehair brush

Use a horsehair brush to remove dust and dry dirt

Next, brush your shoes with a “horsehair brush ” to remove dust and dry dirt.

As you can easily imagine from a racehorse, horsehair has fine, soft, and flexible bristles that are suitable for removing dust and dry dirt from leather shoes. For this reason, horsehair brushes are used for dust removal.

Horsehair brushes and pig-hair brushes used after this may have similar black or white bristles.

It is hard to tell the difference from the handle side, so we put a tape sticker on it to make it easier to tell.

Horsehair brush and Pig bristle brush green color


The pig hairbrush has black cream on it…

Brushing the leather shoes thoroughly to remove dirt makes it easier to apply the leather cream later, so the dust removal procedure is quite important.


You really should remove the shoelaces before brushing, but if it’s too much trouble, just do it!

If you make it a habit to lightly brush your shoes after wearing them, your leather shoes will last longer. If you make it a habit to lightly brush your shoes after wearing them, they will last longer, but I tend to leave them as they are…

The horsehair brush we bought at home is M. Maubray’s Horse Brush. It is very easy to use and I recommend it.

M. Mowbray is an Italian brand that represents shoe care and is used by leather shoe brands and shoe repair professionals.

Its predecessor has a history of more than 180 years, and it is a top brand of shoe care products along with Saphir.

STEP 3: Remove old creams and dirt from shoes with a cleaner (remover)

After thoroughly removing dust and dirt from your leather shoes with a horsehair brush, use a leather shoe cleaner (stain remover) to remove old creams, waxes, and stuck-on dirt from your shoes.

Why remove stains?

If you keep applying shoe cream without removing old creams and stains, the leather will gradually become damaged. Therefore, it is important to remove stains.

Take a pea-sized amount of cleaner on a cloth and gently rub it over the entire shoe to remove dirt and old cream.

Use a soft, thin cotton cloth, such as a T-shirt or underwear, cut into pieces to remove dirt.

The moisture from the cleaner will lift the dirt and old cream from the leather shoes, so you don’t need to scrub the shoes to remove the dirt.


Do not scrub too hard as it may damage the leather.

If the stain still does not come off, take some more cleaner on a cloth and brush it in a circular motion to wipe off the stain.

This will gradually remove the dirt that was difficult to remove at first.

When the dirt is completely removed, wipe with a clean cloth to remove the shoe cleaner.

The cleaner I purchased is M. Mowbray Stain Remover as well as the horse hairbrush.

Comparison of M. Mowbray Stain Remover Mini Type and Standard Type

The mini type (24ml) shown in the left image was included in the starter kit that I will introduce later, but I used it up immediately.

I liked it so much that I bought the standard size (60ml) on the right.


The mini type has a small volume, so it’s just a trial volume.

 STEP 4: Apply shoe cream for leather shoes with a special brush or your fingers

Once the dirt removal is complete, you can start applying shoe cream for leather shoes. Shoe cream may also be called shoe cream.

Advantages of applying the cream for leather shoes
  • It penetrates and nourishes the leather.
  • Softens the leather to prevent cracks and wrinkles.
  • It also has a color-enhancing effect to reduce the appearance of scratches.
    Colorless creams do not have a color-enhancing effect.

If you apply leather shoe cream with your fingers, it is easy to apply because the body heat heats up the cream, but it smells and makes your fingers dirty.

A shoe cream brush is also called a penetrating brush.

Leather creams are very spreadable, so you only need to use a few grains of rice. Once you get the cream on the brush, quickly apply it to the entire shoe.

The idea of using a brush to apply the cream is a bit surprising, but when you actually use a brush, you will find that it is easier to apply the cream because it can reach the smallest of areas.

I recommend the M. Mowbray Penetrating Brush.

The brush makes it easy to spread the cream on the sole of the shoe, shoelaces, wrinkles, and other small areas.

Make sure to replenish and nourish the cream especially in wrinkled and cracked areas.

The leather cream we use at home is M. Maubrey’s shoe cream (black), which was included in the starter set.

Shoe polish goods, shoe cream black

M. Maubrey’s shoe cream is known for its high reliability and is made from a traditional recipe with excellent penetrating power to moisturize and nourish the leather.

The price is reasonable even though it is a typical cream puff. The price is reasonable for a typical cream puff, so you can buy it easily.


If you want to buy a stand-alone product, the other one I recommend is the Saphir Noir Creme 1925, which has many fans among people who are into shoe polishing.

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

Saphir Noir Creme 1925 is the name of the product that won the gold medal at the Paris World Exposition in 1925. It’s a convenient shoe cream that performs five functions in one: dirt removal, nourishment, shine, water repellency, and color correction.

We also use Saphir leather repair cream for our leather goods. Saphir is also used to repair Hermes leather.

If you are interested in repairing leather goods, please read this article.

The reason why I don’t use “Saphir Noir Creme 1925” is because I still have the Moeblei shoe cream (black) and I am quite satisfied with it.


But I would like to use “Creme 1925” when it’s gone!

STEP 5: Apply the leather cream with a pig-hair brush

Apply a shoe cream with a pig bristle brush

After the shoe cream has been applied to the entire shoe, brush the shoe with a “pig-hair brush ” to blend in the leather cream.

You used a horsehair brush to remove dirt in step 2.

There is a difference between a horse hair brush and a pig hair brush.

Horsehair brush 
  • Fine bristles
  • The bristles are soft and flexible.
  • The bristles are shiny.
Pig Hair Brush 
  • Thick bristles
  • Hard bristles
  • Bristles lack luster

Comparing the two in the photo, the difference between horse and pig bristles is clear. The horsehair looks fluffier, while the pig hair looks harder and firmer.

Horsehair brush and Pig bristle brush

Brushing thoroughly with a pig-hair brush after applying shoe cream will allow the cream to be blended evenly throughout while removing excess cream.

Brushing also has a massaging effect on the leather. You can use more force than you would with horsehair. As you continue brushing, the surface of the shoe will gradually become shiny and glossy.

For pig-hair brush, it is best to use a brush for each color of cream: black for black cream, brown for brown cream, and colorless for colorless cream, as the cream will stick to the pig-hair bristles.

There are a variety of brushes available, from cheap to expensive.

One of the best pig-hair brushes is the M. Mowbray pig-hair brush.

STEP 6: Wipe dry with a glove or cloth to remove excess cream and polish

Remove excess cream and polish

The last step is to polish with a cloth or glove-type cloth.

As you polish them with the cloth, the excess cream will be removed and they will gradually become incredibly shiny. This is the best part of shoe polishing.

The trick is to polish gently, without scrubbing.

For the cloth, you can use a soft thin cotton cloth such as a T-shirt or underwear cut into appropriate sizes, or flannel cloth is also recommended.

We use mitten-like gloves that came with a set of shoe polishers when we bought them.


It’s very easy to use because you can put your hand in and quickly and easily polish. Pretty handy to have one!

Shoe polish is done!

Shoe Polish is Done!

Your shoe polish is now complete!

What do you think? When you see your leather shoes shining and polished, you’ll feel refreshed and refreshed.

Before I started shoe polishing, it seemed like it would be very difficult to do full-scale shoe polishing, right?


But actually, once you get used to it, you can finish it quite quickly.

For men’s business shoes, you can also use an oil-based wax to “mirror polish” the toes and heels of the shoes afterward to make them shine.

For formal leather shoes, even more high shine polish! [Mirror Polish]

Formal leather shoes becomes shinny with mirror shine polishing

For formal leather shoes, mirror polish can make the toe and heel of the shoeshine even more. It’s also called “high shine”.

The left is before and the right is after. The toe area on the right is shinier than the one on the left.

Before and After Mirror Shine Polishing

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

For mirror polishing, use a special oil-based high shine wax.

5 Steps to Mirror Polish Leather Shoes

Procedure for Mirror Polish of Leather Shoes

The following is the order in which leather shoes are polished.

Procedure for Mirror Polish of Leather Shoes
  • STEP 1
    Shape your leather shoes with a shoe keeper.
    Put the shoe keeper into the leather shoe to shape the shoe.
  • STEP 2
    Repeat waxing several times
    Apply a thin layer of wax several times.
  • STEP 3
    Put water on 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 wax lightly with a horsehair brush to even out the mirror-polished area and other areas.

After applying a thin coat of wax several times, drip a little bit of water and polish the surface with a cloth in a gentle circular motion to make the surface even and mirror-like.

Saphir Mirror Gloss: For mirror polishing

Saphir’s Mirror Gloss is a standard wax for mirror polishing.


A mirror polish is a more difficult image than a normal shoe polish. In fact, it seems to be more difficult in the winter than in the summer. I guess it’s because the wax is too hard.

No matter how many times I try, I can’t seem to succeed! But it’s still nice to have shiny toes when you can make them look almost mirror-like.


I hope you give it a try!

What tools should I get to care for my leather shoes and polish them?

How to Prepare Shoe polish Tools

Here’s a question you may be wondering: what kind of tools should I get to polish my shoes?

There are a variety of brushes and creams for leather shoes, from brands to types. In this article, I have introduced various recommended tools for shoe polishing.

In fact, since we decided to try shoe polishing in our house, I’ve been reading various blogs to find out what kind of tools we should get.


I had a hard time deciding, so I decided to start with a shoeshine set (starter set), which comes in a box with all the necessary tools. This was a great decision!

The starter set is definitely recommended for beginners and those who are just starting to polish their shoes.

Of course, once you get hooked on shoe polishing, you will want to buy a variety of goods, but I think it’s a good idea to buy the minimum necessary set at first, and then buy additional items if you need more.

We bought the Original Starter Set from Ginza Ohga Shoe Studio. It comes in a nice box, so I recommend it as a gift.

I like Ginza Ohga Shoe Studio so much that I buy my shoes from them whether I buy them on Amazon or Rakuten.

The starter set includes a kit with two colors of shoe cream and two brushes, as well as a kit with a full-fledged shoe polishing brush.

In this article, I will introduce three starter sets that I particularly recommend from Ginza Ohga Shoe Studio.

Mowbray x Ginza Ohga Shoe Studio starter set [Double W Cream]

Original starter set from Ginza Ohga Shoe Studio: W Creep Type

Our family purchased the W Cream set type.

We wear not only black shoes but also brown shoes, and women’s pumps come in various colors, so we wanted a set that could take care of more than just black shoes.

The set includes one each of colorless and black creams, as well as two penetrating brushes for applying the creams.

Here are the contents of the set.

  • M.MOWBRAY Shoe Cream: Neutral (colorless)
  • M.MOWBRAY Shoe Cream: Black
  • 2 mini pig-hair brushes for applying shoe cream
  • 1 mini brush (synthetic fiber)
  • 1 mini brush (horsehair)
  • 1 bamboo toothpick
  • 1 mini stain remover
  • 1 mini cloth (approx. 85mm x 380mm)
  • 1 shoeshine mouton glove cloth
  • Ginza Ohga Shoe Studio original box

Here are the recommended points of this W Cream Set.

  • It contains two shoe creams, one black and one colorless, and two mini brushes, so you can use it to care for both black shoes and brown and other non-black leather shoes.
  • Reasonable price of about 4,000 yen (about usd 40) for two colors.
  • It also contains a stain remover and everything you need to take care of your leather shoes.

On the other hand, there are some points that I think are not so good.

  • The brush is a mini type, so it is small.
  • If you want to make shoe polishing a hobby, it is better to buy a standard brush from the beginning.
  • The stain remover is a mini type, so it will run out

In our house, we use this mini-brush to clean brown and other leather shoes other than black. I bought an additional brush for my black leather shoes. I bought this brush.

[Horsehair brush]

[Pig Hair Brush]

Mowbray x Ginza Ohga Shoe Studio starter set [Double W Cream] GOLD

I would recommend this set anyway because of its reasonable pricing even though it includes a large brush.

This set was not available when my family bought it, so if I were to buy it for the first time, I would probably buy the “Gold” set now. I highly recommend it.

Here are the contents of the set.

  • M.MOWBRAY Shoe Cream: Neutral (colorless)
  • M.MOWBRAY Shoe Cream: Black
  • 2 mini pig hair brushes for applying shoe cream
  • 1 horsehair workhorse brush
  • 1 pig hair work brush (white, 1 black)
  • 1 bamboo toothpick
  • 1 Mowbray Stain Remover 60ml
  • 1 Mowbray shoe polish (neutral)
  • 1 piece of remover cloth
  • 1 shoe polish mouton cloth
  • 1 piece of cotton
  • Ginza Ohga Shoe Studio original box 

There is one horse hairbrush, but it is for dust removal, so it can be used for both black shoes and other colored shoes.

There are two pig-hair brushes in the box to spread the cream, so it’s okay.

I would recommend this “GOLD set” for the large brush with W cream.

  • It contains two colors of shoe cream (black and colorless) and two mini brushes, so you can use it to clean both black and brown leather shoes.
  • The large brush is included for easy cleaning.
  • There is also a standard size cleaner for removing dirt.
  • It contains everything you need to take care of your leather shoes, and I recommend it anyway.

This is the only disappointing point.

  • High price. Twice as expensive as the small brush type.

Mowbray x Ginza Ohga Shoe Studio Starter Set for Beginners

The last one I’ll introduce is a bargain set that allows you to choose one color of cream, either black or neutral, and provides you with the minimum necessary tools.

Here’s what the set includes.

  • One M. Mowbray shoe cream (neutral or black)
  • 1 mini pig hair brush for applying shoe cream
  • 1 mini brush (synthetic fiber)
  • 1 mini brush (horse hair)
  • 1 bamboo toothpick
  • 1 mini stain remover (to remove stains)
  • 1 mini cloth (approx. 85mm x 380mm)
  • 1 shoeshine mouton glove cloth
  • Original shoe care box from Ginza Ohga Shoe Studio

We recommend this starter set.

  • You can choose between black or colorless.
  • The price is reasonable: about JPY 2,940 yen on Rakuten.
  • It includes a stain remover and all the basic things you need to take care of your leather shoes.

Here’s what I found disappointing. It’s a very good set if you buy it knowing that the brushes are small.

  • The brushes are mini-type, so they are small.
  • The stain remover is a mini type, so it will run out soon.

I think you should buy the basic set you need first, and then add more sets as you need them.

There are also various other sets and individual items available, as well as the Saphir set, so I’m sure you’ll find the right shoe shine tools for you!

Click here for the page of shoe polishing set of Ginza Ohga Shoe Studio

Summary[Easy shoe polishing for beginners! ]Refresh your mind and shoes by taking care of your leather shoes!

SummaryEasy Shoe Polishing for Beginners

In this article, I have detailed the procedure of shoe polishing for beginners who want to try shoe polishing in earnest.

We actually use this method to polish our shoes at home.

Once you get used to it, it’s rather quick and fun, so why not give it a try?

Also, if you are a beginner, I recommend buying a starter set that contains all the tools you need, because it will cost you a lot of money to buy all the tools one by one.


Let’s enjoy the shoeshine life!

Here’s an article on how you can easily repair your leather products with Saphir leather cream!


This is an in-depth explanation of Renapur, a handy cream that can be used to clean anything with just one bottle.

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