How to Shine Up a Pair of Dress Shoes in Only a Minute

How to Shine Up a Pair of Dress Shoes in Only a Minute

Imagine this common situation: you’re going out for the night and you got everything ready. You put on your best clothes, you do your thing and then it’s time to slip into your dress shoes. You take them out only to find they aren’t shiny! While a traditional shoe shine might add an extra 15 minutes to your routine, there’s another method to shine up a pair of dress shoes – and this one only takes a minute!

The secret to quick shine up

The key to shining up your dress shoes lies in the equipment. Swap those old brushes and sponges to a basic horsehair brush. That’s a soft bristled brush and you can find them from shoe retailers and online. The La Cordonniere Anglaise brush is a good choice – it’s affordable and the bristles are extremely soft to ensure you don’t damage even your priciest of shoes. It also comes in different shapes to suit all sorts of dress shoes.

You then need to find a good shoe polish. Wax is definitely the best for the job. The key is to ensure you always use a polish that matches the colour of your shoes. You can usually find a good shoe sine from your favourite show retailer.

Remember that wax is generally just for adding shine. If you also need to add a bit more colour to any worn out spots, you want to opt for shoe cream instead of the wax. This can take longer to apply than the wax, so be mindful of it.

Finally, you need a soft rag of some sorts. Don’t spend money on finding one – just look to your wardrobe and pick an old T-shirt or a pillowcase. It’s perfect for this purpose and you’re putting those old items no one ever uses into a good use.

The technique

Now that you have the equipment sorted out, it’s time to learn the right technique. You should start by applying the wax on your shoes with the old T-shirt (other rag you’re using). Simply lay out a small layer of the wax all over the shoe.

Once you have an even layer of the polish, you can start brushing with the horsehair brush. You can do it in sweeping motion, with the action, helping to remove any dust and dirt that might be stuck to the shoes. Once the shoe looks clean, you can finish the shining up with the rag.

To do this, wrap the T-shirt or rag tightly with your fingers and apply more polish to the shoes. In order to get the shiny effect, you should apply the polish with small, circular motions. If your shoes have been relatively well kept, you probably need to apply only one more layer of the polish.

Allow the polish to dry just for a few seconds and then use the horsehair brush to remove the remaining polish. This will give the shoes a lovely shiny finish and a puffy look.

All in all, the above technique shouldn’t take longer than a minute from start to finish. Just like with most things in life, practice makes perfect with this technique. As you use it, you’ll start cutting the time spent without sacrificing the quality of the shine.

The tips to keep in mind

When you are shining up a pair of shoes, there are few essential tips to keep in mind. These tips are crucial whether you are using this quick technique or the traditional method.

First, you need to remember to use only a tiny amount of polish. It can be tempting to add a big splash of it, but this won’t add to the shine and could actually be the reason your shoe polishing operation takes forever. The right amount of polish is the size of your little finger (depending on the size of the shoe a bit too, naturally).

Protect your area with another old T-shirt or a newspaper. You also shouldn’t start polishing up the shoes once you are already in your fancy clothes. You don’t want to end up with a polished dress in this occasion.

If you want extra shine and you have a bit more time, dampen the shoe before adding the second layer of polish. You can use a bit of water or – wait for it – your actual spit! Don’t be put off by the spit, as it can actually add a lot of shine to your shoes. Dampen the shoe in the same circular motion together with an extra layer of polish.

Now that you know how to polish your shoes without it taking forever, you can check out various popular retailers for a pair that matches your style. You can find discounts at for a number of designer brands and make shopping for shoes as effortless as polishing them with the above tricks in mind.

The above tips and strategies can help you skip a routine that typically takes around 15 minutes. Instead of having to panic before your big date or an important business meeting, you can just take your essential shoe kit and get sorted in less than a minute.