Start by laying down sheets of newspaper over your work space – shoe polish is notorious for leaving a mess. Gather your tools and your leather shoes. You may want to remove the laces to avoid getting polish on them.
Your shoes should always be clean and dry before a polishing. Remove any dust or dirt with the horsehair brush or a soft, dampened cloth, and then allow them to dry (if needed) before moving to the next step.
Carefully and evenly apply your polish with the small applicator brush. Start with a nickel-sized dab – remember that in this case, less is more. Work your way around the shoe from toe to heel, rubbing the polish in small circles; the shoes will have a matte finish once they’re covered. At this point, the polish needs to dry as it nourishes the leather. This can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.
When the polish is dried, use your horsehair brush and vigorously buff the shoes using a side-to-side swiping motion; this will help remove excess polish and create your shine.
To achieve an extra level of shine, take a cloth and dip it into water; the cloth should be damp, but not dripping. Then dampen the shoe with the cloth and apply another, very thin, layer of polish. Work both the water and the polish into the shoe with a circular motion, repeating as needed until the leather has reached your preferred level of shininess.
An optional step is applying dressing to the heels and edges of your shoe’s soles, which will restore color and provide that perfect finish. Simply follow the application instructions on the bottle, and your shoes will appear brand new in no time.