Written by John Zarr, Professional Shoe Shiner
Feel free to contact John with any questions by sending him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Most people have never learned how to achieve a tuxedo quality shoe shine on black shoes unless they've shined shoes professionally or have been in the military. Not to worry, I'm here to happily share with you a bit of my expertise. I've been a professional shoe shine guru for 13 years plus and here's the method I've used to shine thousands of black dress shoes.
Before you begin to polish a pair of shoes, first remove the shoe laces and apply black Fiebings brand edge dressing to the sole of the shoe and allow the shoes to dry on a newspaper to prevent getting edge dressing on the floor. Second, clean the welt of the shoes using a welt brush lightly dampened by Chamberlain's Leather Milk Leather Care Liniment leather conditioner. A quality, horsehair welt brush can be purchased on eBay with the following search engine words: "Horsehair Detail Brush Detailing Car 7.25" 85647" You can buy a horsehair welt brush for about $2.00.
Polishing Black Shoes Step By Step
1. Apply Chamberlain's Leather Milk Leather Care Liniment leather conditioner to the surface of the shoe to be shined using a latex glove to protect your hands along with a thin, clean and soft 12 inch by 12 inch cotton rag wrapped around both the pointer finger and middle finger of the dominant hand you use. Most experienced shoe shine experts obtain this special fabric by cutting up old Santoni brand shoe bags. However, this same type of fabric can be purchased as a sectional at Walmart for about $5.00 per package.
2. Use a standard Meltonian brand jar of black shoe polish to further condition the leather and add color to the shoe using the same area of the rag used in step one.
3. Apply Lincoln brand black wax to the surface of the shoe by first spraying one puff of Chamberlain's Leather Milk Leather Care Liniment leather conditioner into the can of Lincoln wax to make application of the wax easier (I find Leather Milk easier to apply with a spray bottle when shining shoes). Use the same area of the rag used in step one and two.
4. Use an 18 inch by 32 inch piece of polyester blend fabric to wipe any excess polish off the shoes. This type of sectional fabric can be purchased at Walmart for about $5.00 per package. Cut the 18 inch by 32 inch section from the fabric for this and future shoe shine projects.
5. Apply Lincoln brand "blue" wax to the surface of the shoe by first spraying one puff of Leather Care Liniment leather conditioner into the can of Lincoln wax to make application of the wax easier. Use the same area of the rag used in step one and two and three.
6. Use an 18 inch by 32 inch piece of polyester blend fabric to wipe any excess polish off the shoes.
7. Use a standard 8 inch long horsehair brush to buff the shoe for 30 seconds.
8. Use a nylon sock wrapped around your hand to buff the shoe while also removing any excess residual film that may still be on the surface.
9. Clean the shoe laces by running the laces through the same area of the rag used in step one, two and three. Finally put the shoelaces back on the shoes and feel free to wear your newly shined shoes to your favorite black tie event.
Want to know how to polish dress shoes with white or light colored stitching? Read our blog, "HOW TO SHINE A PAIR OF DRESS SHOES WITH WHITE OR LIGHT COLORED CONTRAST STITCHING"