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The Best Shoe Polish - 2021

Last updated on June 10, 2021
Best Shoe Polish

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Our Picks For The Top Shoe Polishes

Show Contents
Our Take
  Our Top Pick

Kelly’s Professional Shoe Polish Cream

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Kelly's

Professional Shoe Polish Cream

Overall Take

Your Kicks Deserve ThisThis shoe cream works on a variety of products and offers a pleasing sheen.

  Runner Up

Saphir Medaille d’Or Pommadier Natural Cream Leather Shoe Polish

Saphir

Medaille d’Or Pommadier Natural Cream Leather Shoe Polish

Overall Take

Restores and Protects LeatherFor a thorough clean and protection against the elements, choose this polish.

  We Also Like

KIWI Instant Shine & Protect Liquid Shoe Polish

KIWI

Instant Shine & Protect Liquid Shoe Polish

Overall Take

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

  Strong Contender

Red Moose Boot & Shoe Cream Polish

Red Moose

Boot & Shoe Cream Polish

Overall Take

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

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Guide written by Danielle Smyth
Last updated on June 10, 2021

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.

The Best Shoe Polishes

1
  Our Top Pick

Kelly’s Professional Shoe Polish Cream

Available in 44 different colors, this shoe polish is made with natural waxes and is thick, creamy and easy to use. It re-colors, conditions and polishes smooth, grained or finished leather shoes, pocketbooks, boots and seats.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Kelly's
Model
2
  Runner Up

Saphir Medaille d’Or Pommadier Natural Cream Leather Shoe Polish

This cream shoe polish is made with shea butter, carnauba and beeswax and comes in a good variety of colors. It will clean, restore and waterproof your fine leather shoes and other accessories with a highly pigmented formula designed to restore color and shine.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Saphir
Model
3
  We Also Like

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.

Features


Specifications

Brand
KIWI
Model
4
  Strong Contender

Red Moose Boot & Shoe Cream 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 is all that is needed for exceptional results in restoring your footwear.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Red Moose
Model
5
  Also Great

Lincoln Stain Wax Shoe Polish

This product has been around since 1924. It cleans, colors and polishes leather shoes, is water-resistant and provides just the right amount of shine. It comes in about a dozen different colors for your convenience.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Lincoln
Model

Our Shoe Polish Buying Guide

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.

DWYM Fun Fact

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.

The Shoe Polish Tips and Advice

  • 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.