Here’s a little post on something I don’t do often enough: polishing my shoes.
In our throw-away world, we tend to just toss things out once they start getting battered and worn. But a little polish can make your old shoes look new again and actually preserve the leather. Plus, shoe polishing is good for the soul.
Seriously, there’s something really satisfying about working polish into battered leather and then stepping back and seeing how much better it looks afterward. It’s the same feeling you get after you paint a wall or weed a garden. But, happily, shoe polishing takes a lot less effort.
Here’s the “before” of the first pair of shoes I decided to polish up. They weren’t in terrible shape, but the leather was scuffed and tired looking.
I had brown (on the left) and tan (on the right) shoe polish on hand. I decided the brown was a better match.
Polishing shoes isn’t rocket science. You just rub a little onto a soft, lint-free rag and then rub it onto your shoe.
Brown polish looks almost black when you first apply it, but it lightens up as you work it into the leather.
In the photo above, the shoe on the left has been polished, the shoe on the right hasn’t. It’s a pretty noticeable difference.
After you give the polish a couple minutes to dry, you buff it with a clean cloth or soft brush, and here’s what the finished shoes looked like.
These shoes have been more or less abandoned in the back of my closet for years. Now I’m excited to wear them again.
Here’s the second pair of shoes I had that needed a little polishing up. Again I used the brown polish.
Same process as before. The shoe on the left is “before” polish; the shoe on the right is “after.”
The shoes looked like new once I had them both polished and buffed.
Here’s the third pair I was hoping to salvage with a little polish: a pair of vintage Mary Janes that get a lot of wear — and look like it.
They were in such bad shape, I thought I’d start with a little leather lotion before applying polish.
Above, the shoe on the left has had polish applied. The shoe on the right hasn’t. Huge difference, right? Polish won’t remove the cracks, but it sure helps to disguise them and give the leather a smoother look and feel.
Now my favorite shoes are all ready to wear again.’