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The Best Shoe Polish

Last updated on March 9, 2023
Best Shoe Polish

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

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Some products do not need high-tech ingredients to do their jobs effectively. Shoe polish is one of these: it simply contains quality waxes, oils and color pigments, which help it work its magic in a time-tested way.

Polish can make leather goods look like new, and it costs much less than completely replacing your shoes and purses. Leather loses its new look over time, as its outer layers slowly deteriorate. Providing regular TLC with shoe polish can keep your leather items looking great.

There are a few categories of shoe polish, though, which can be a bit confusing. The regular kind of polish contains waxes, which are applied to the leather and then buffed to achieve a nice shine.

Wax serves as a protective layer and provides a gleaming look. It can protect leather from the elements, too. When using wax polishes, be sure to clean the shoes with a leather cleaner at least once a year.

Cream shoe polishes do not provide as much shine, but casual leather styles (like driving loafers) will not need that extra sparkle. These polishes condition the leather, also, and they are less prone to cracking.

Some polishes combine waxes and conditioning agents. They can camouflage scuffs, fill in crack lines and remove water, salt, mud and snow stains.

Our Picks For The Top Shoe Polishes

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Product Overview
Our Take
 Top Pick

KIWI Instant Shine & Protect Liquid Shoe Polish

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KIWI

Instant Shine & Protect Liquid Shoe Polish

From a respected name in shoe care, this easy-to-use premium shoe polish instantly gives new life to your leather footwear. The liquid polish is made with carnauba wax and provides long-lasting color and shine, plus water protection.

Overall Take

Buffing Sponge IncludedThis shoe polish product comes with its own applicator and sponge.

 Runner Up

Red Moose Mess-Free Long-Lasting Shoe Polish

Red Moose

Mess-Free Long-Lasting Shoe Polish

This premium-quality cream shoe and boot polish offers instant results — it's faster and neater than liquids and pastes. It is made with rich pigments, natural oils and waxes. A little bit of this shoe polish is all that is needed for exceptional results in restoring your footwear.

Overall Take

Rejuvenate Worn-Out LeatherGet a beautiful shoe polish on all of your shoes with this long-lasting, mess-free cream.

 Strong Contender

Angelus Long-Lasting Water Repellent Shoe Polish

Angelus

Long-Lasting Water Repellent Shoe Polish

Since this shoe polish comes in 15 different colors, you're sure to find a shade that matches your leather. The polish is specially formulated to do much more than just shine your shoes. It also restores color and provides a waterproof coating for added protection.

Overall Take

Offers a High ShineNot only does this shoe polish last longer, but you'll also need less of it to do the same job as other shoe polishes on the market.

 We Also Like

Tarrago Scuff Concealing All-In-One Shoe Polish

Tarrago

Scuff Concealing All-In-One Shoe Polish

Applying this shoe polish is a cinch, as it comes with a built-in applicator sponge. Simply remove any dust and dirt from your leather shoes, soak the sponge and apply the spread the cream over the leather nice and even. You'll find the polish comes in one of nine different colors, including dark brown, neutral, black and red.

Overall Take

Easy to UsePrevent your leather footwear from cracking using this shoe polish, which is enriched with 50 percent carnauba wax.

What to Look For

  • Shoe polishes can also be used on handbags, leather seats, wallets and other leather items. Read the labels first, though, to be sure your item can handle polish.
  • Always test the polish on an inconspicuous area first in case it is not an exact color match.
  • Do not wax leather too often, as doing so can cause it to crack.
  • Some polishes come with their own applicators and buffers, which makes the process neater and easier. Always remove any dust or dirt with a shoe brush before polishing.
  • There are several methods for applying shoe polish. Here is one: after applying the shoe polish, allow it to sit for a few minutes. You can spray on a minimal amount of water and then polish with a cotton sock.
  • Here is another method: use an applicator brush to apply a thin coat of the polish in a circular motion. Allow five minutes’ drying time, and polish with a horsehair brush.

More to Explore

Back in medieval times, folks used dubbin to waterproof and soften their leather. Dubbin was made from oils, natural wax and tallow (rendered mutton or beef fat).

A shiny appearance was not important until the 18th century, when beeswax and lanolin came into the picture. About 100 years later, blacking came into vogue, when black soot was added to the waxes. The first commercial polish incorporated sugar, vinegar, black dye and water.