How to Get Your Shoes Really Shiny

Step out in style with high shine shoes.
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In the old days, shoe shining was a regular task to keep your kicks looking brand spanking new. Today, most people go for the low-maintenance lived-in look when it comes to shoes. Set yourself apart from the crowd with shoes polished to a high shine. Getting that mirror-like shine, however, takes more than a quick rub with a rag. Master a few polishing and buffing techniques to shine your shoes and keep them looking that way with little effort.

Spread a layer of newspapers over a flat surface and place your shoes on top of them. Remove the laces from the shoes, if applicable, and set them aside to avoid staining.

Apply one teaspoon of water to a soft cloth, such as an old T-shirt. Insert one hand inside the shoe to hold it and use the other hand to wipe the entire exterior of the shoe with the cloth. Use short, brisk strokes to get rid of dirt or dust from the surface and sides of the shoe, then repeat on the other shoe.

Crumple up two sheets of newspaper and stuff them into the toe of each shoe. This helps to stiffen the toe and remove creases that occur where the toes bend.

Open a can of cream-based shoe polish in a color that matches the shoes. Insert a clean cloth into the polish and scoop out about a half teaspoon.

Spread the polish over the entire top, sides and heel of the shoes using short circular motions. Don’t forget to apply polish to the tongue as well. Don’t try to rub it in until it’s dry. Simply apply the polish until the shoes are well covered in a thin layer.

Let both shoes sit for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the polish to soak in.

Brush the surface of the shoes using a soft-bristled, horsehair shoe brush and short quick strokes. This removes excess polish and begins to develop the shine.

Set the brush aside and pick up another clean soft cloth. Hold the cloth tightly between both hands and rub the tight portion briskly over the surface of the shoes to intensify the shine.

Mist each of the shoes with a shoe protectant spray, which helps seal in the shine and makes it last longer.

Insert the shoe laces back into each shoe.

  • Never polish shoes before wiping them clean. Dust or dirt particles that remain will scratch the shoes as you polish and leave them permanently dull.
  • Polish your shoes once a week if you wear them daily. Alternate between using a cream-based polish, which makes the shoe soft, and a wax-based polish, which waterproofs it.
  • Remove polish that is stuck in the eyelets using a toothpick or a cotton swab.

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.