Introduction: Spit Shine Shoes Like a Gentleman

This instructable will teach you how to get dress shoes to have a near mirror shine and what you will need to do so. It takes a little time and a little practice but will give you amazing looking dress shoes. The last photo above shows the difference between a brush shine and a spit shine.

Step 1: What You Will Need

To do this job properly you will need: -A boot brush - used for applying base coats of shoe polish Other wise known as a brush shine. -Black shoe polish- as long as your shoes are black. -A polishing cloth- this is for the spit shining part. I have only ever used Kiwi brand. -A tooth brush- this is for blackening hard to reach spots. All of these things are sold at Walmart.

Step 2: Brush Shining

Brush shining is an easy way to make your shoes look great, fast. It's also a very important step to spit shining. If you don't want your shoes to have a glassy shine and just want them to have a nice dull shine and look clean this is your final step. Start by cleaning any dirt off of your shoes with a wet cloth then dry them with another cloth. Dip the end of your boot brush into your polish and dab it onto your shoes all over so there's is patches of polish covering areas of the shoes. Now use your boot brush and sweep over your shoes lightly and fast to shine them and move the polish evenly over shoes. If your going for the dull shine your done, wear your shoes and look proud. If you want a spit shine you want to do this step about 10 times letting the polish dry between coats for about 30 minutes. This is called your base coat and only needs to be done once if your shoes have never been polished.

Step 3: Blackening Hard to Reach Areas

There's a few places on dress shoes that get a grayish look from dust and dirt getting caught in grooves and in materials. The most evident one is is where the shoes sides connect to the side of the sole and the sides of the sole itself. Dip your tooth brush into your polish and apply polish evenly into the groove where the leather of the shoe is braided to the top of the sole and to the side if the sole. Use your boot brush to even the polish out and get it to have a nice clean look. Try not to get any polish on the bottoms of the shoes because it can be slippery and cause a mess when wear the shoes next.

Step 4: Spit Shine

This is where your shoes get that glassy look. There actually is no spitting required here. What you'll need is your kiwi cloth, tin of polish and a small bowl of water or just put water in the lid of your tin of polish. Hold your kiwi cloth by putting it onto your middle and index finger covering most of the finger then draping over to the back of your hand and twisting it so its snug around your fingers. Take all the extra material and rap it around so it can be held in the palm of your polishing hand. You do this so there's no extra material swinging and hitting the already polished parts of your shoe causing scratches. Look at the pictures to see how this should look. Now rub your fingers over the polish as if you were just tying to smooth out the surface. Once there's a coating of polish on your clothed fingers dip your finger into the water. You don't want your cloth to be soaked just slightly damp. Apply the polish over the area of the shoe you want to shine in section. Start with the heel for practice. Once it's evenly coated keep moving your fingers in small circles barely pushing, basically just the weight of your fingers is how much pressure to use. When it starts feeling dry breath on the part your shining like your trying to fog up a window, that's about All the moisture you will need. Keep doing this until you can't see swirl marks, slowly using less pressure near the end. One problem people have is they use to much water on there clothed fingers so when they are done you can see water spots.

Step 5: Fixing Grooves or Gouges on You Shoes

The last formal event I went to had a few kids there that loved to stand on your toes. One of the kids shoes left a deep gouge on the toe of my shoe. To fix this use your kiwi cloth and scoop a chunk of polish out. Gently fill the groove with this polish as best you can kind of like filling a hole in dry wall. Slightly smooth out the polish with your kiwi cloth so it's not clumpy but don't try to polish it. Let it dry for about an hour then repeat until the groove has gone. It's hard to make bad groove disappear but can be done with patients. Try not to leave heavy polish lumps when doing this because they are hard to get rid of. Then once the hole is filled your shoes are ready to be re-shined.

Comments

author
rmbarrilleaux (author)2013-06-13

I thought this was becoming a lost art. Still fondly recall my father teaching me. Thanks

author
SXSW (author)rmbarrilleaux 2016-02-04

Yes, as a female, i have fond memories of watching TV with my Dad while he taught me to shine his business shoes. He had a beautiful wooden case for all the accessories and a shoe perch (name?) on the top to hold the shoe while you worked.

As a grown woman, I need to know how to reconstitute dried polish.

Does slowly heating water in a shallow pan of water, not directly over the flame, work?

author
vincent7520 (author)2013-06-10

Albeit among the cheapest, Kiwi is definitely not the best shoe polish for a durable care of your shoes. It is too thick and does not penetrate the leather grain as well as more expensive creams !…
Black color is not needed either, for a deeper black you can make a mix of various colors such as brown, auburn and a little black …
Do not shoe shine just before going out. Shine your shoes the evening before so the cream can get deep into the leather and not remain on the surface. The only thing you'll have to do for a good shine the next day just before getting out, is just a small spit on the tip of the shoe to make it shine bright. Remember an excellent pair of shoe can last years if you take great care of them. Conversely, expensive shoes can be ruined overnight or so if you do not take good care of them.
The best I have are 25 years old (yes I bought them in 1988 !). They were on sale at an outrageous price (380€ or $500 !!!… Yes, it was a good year in the ad industry !) but they still fit and are in good shape : I wear them (and take great care of them !…) quite regularly.
Remember the shoe polish must be inside the leather not on it. If you wear your shoes just after you used shoe polish dust will stick to it and if you do not take care of that you will mix shoes polish and dust the next time you polish them.
Once in a while you should use a leather soap to clean the leather and keep it soft for the next shoe polish cream : dust and polish are not a good combination, leather will crack …
Then again, if you want to wear shoes the right way (ie. if you wish to be somewhat poshy … grin…) only the tip of the shoe should be shining. Also be aware that all shining shoes show bad taste and can ruin a reputation (or so they say on Saville row !…).

Enjoy !

author
wineglut (author)2016-09-14

nitpicking....Gentlemen have patience, doctors have patients.

author
JohnR17 (author)2014-11-16

I use Parade Gloss by Kiwi for the ultra shine. The regular kiwi is almost a dark navy/black. Parade gloss is pure black.

author
3366carlos (author)2014-09-06

you are ready for inspection ladd.

author
thekosminer (author)2014-07-26

You should actually use a woman's nylon to put over your boot brush. That will aid in creating your base layer shine. My father has been in the military for 26 years and he has helped me a lot.

author
sward16 (author)2013-06-21

mbecks - Thanks i got new polish fairly recently but ill give it another go

author
sward16 (author)2013-06-15

I bull my shoes for cadets using this method but i still get a load of light swirl scratches what should i do to get rid of these?

author
mbecks (author)sward162013-06-15

Im guessing the swirl scratches are from either
A)dirty polish, iv sometimes had polish for a long time and i think it gets dust and dirt in it just from being used often.
B)Dirty shoes, If you polished you boots at one point when they were dusty or dirty and didn't clean them off then there is now small grit in the polish so every time you polish your pushing that around and causing scratches.
Solution for these to problems would be to clean your shoe well using wet cloths and such until you feel there clean. don't worry if you wreck your shine here. Get new polish, then brush shine some good coats onto your shoes (using a clean boot brush) then shine them with a new shine cloth
Lastly it could be your not shining long enough or gently enough. remember the last shine should be done by just barely pushing and with only a very slight amount of moisture.

author
Rodh64 (author)2013-06-10

When I "spit polishing" army boots I used cotton wool rather than a cotton or linen cloth.

author
mbecks (author)2013-06-10

Thanks for the great advise Vincent. Lots of good stuff I didn't know. Using a lighter or heat is called burn shine and although it may look good at first I found the polish starts to crack and get almost a shattered glass look.

author
dwgreenisen (author)2013-06-09

I take it this does not require a lighter or heat? had a marine tell me that one time. didn't work too well.

author
vincent7520 (author)dwgreenisen2013-06-10

No it doesn't.
But room temperature is okay if you let the shoes rest overnight before wearing them (see above …)

author
dwgreenisen (author)2013-06-09

is filling in the cracks with polish a permanent fix?

author
vincent7520 (author)dwgreenisen2013-06-10

Unfortunately no (see above)

author
mbecks (author)2013-06-09

I was taught from the best of course haha

author
ynze (author)2013-06-09

That's how Nucky Thomson does it :-)

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