Attention to detail sits high on the list for maintaining men’s dress shoes. It’s easy to let a few scuffs and smudges slide, but as these marks add up, they can detract from a man’s overall pulled-together look. Polishing men’s dress shoes takes a bit of time and effort, but the supple shine of the leather should put a spring in your step.
Clean and Condition
Before you can polish, spend some time cleaning your shoes to remove dirt and grime that inevitably accumulate during wear, advises NuShoe. Brush the shoes first, and then use a leather cleaning product without added acids or detergents that could damage the leather. After cleaning, apply a leather conditioner as often as your shoes need it to protect the leather and keep it supple. This would be once a week if you wear your shoes regularly in wet weather or if you live in a dry climate. Everyone else should condition once every two to three months. Work in the conditioner with a clean rag, using circular motions. Keep going until you coat both shoes completely with just enough conditioning product so that it soaks in. Let your shoes sit for about 24 hours with shoe trees inside of them to maintain their shape.
With shoe trees still inside the shoes, you have the option to pull out the shoelaces and set them aside so they stay clean and dry. Choose a type of shoe polish — paste, wax or liquid. Paste polish moisturizes leather and allows it to breathe. Wax polish brings out a fierce shine in leather but could cause leather to dry. Liquid polish delivers shine, but cracks in leather could result. Generally, paste or wax polish will be your best choices. Choose a polish that matches your shoe color. Working on one shoe at a time, apply the polish with a shoe polish brush or a clean rag, spreading it generously over the entire shoe. Keep polish off the heels and the edges of the soles — you’ll work on these areas later. Let the polish sit on the first shoe, then move on to the second shoe. Let the polish dry on each shoe for approximately 10 to 20 minutes. Grab the shoeshine brush and start brushing off the dried polish from both shoes. Once you finish removing the polish, buff out your shoes with a clean, lint-free shine cloth until they shine.
If you notice unsightly scuffs beginning around the edges of your shoes or on the heels, apply edge dressing to these areas after applying the shoe polish. Edge dressing helps minimize scuffs to keep your shoes looking newer. While buffing out your shoes, vary the strokes you use by taking long swipes along the shoes and then using circular strokes to add more shine.
Daily or frequent wear of dress shoes adds up quickly to grungy shoes that need help. While daily polishing probably isn’t necessary, your shoes will love you if you get out the shoe polish and brush once a week, advises The Attire Club. Clean your shoes as often as necessary, depending on how you wear them. If you wear them in sloppy weather or dirty, dusty conditions, your shoes might need cleaning attention every time you wear them. Cleaning and polishing your shoes regularly helps maintain them, which can make them last for years, looking impressive and stylish.