Introduction: How to Shine Shoes

These instructions will detail the proper way to shine a pair of Low Quarters or any type of leather shoes. For this you will need:

1. A pair of Low Quarters (Military Uniform Shoes) or any other kind of leather shoe

2. A shoe shine kit (Preferably Kiwi)

    • 1 Brush
    • 1 Tin of Shoe Polish
    • A rag (I cut mine from an old t-shirt, the rag should be smooth so it can distribute the polish evenly)
    • An old toothbrush

3. A cup of warm water

4. Heel and Edge Dressing

5. Dust rag

Step 1: The Basic Technique

The proper technique to applying shoe polish to the shoe is very simple. First you take your rag and put your pointer and index finger underneath it (picture 1). Then you take the access rag material and twist it around your fingers so the rag is tight around your fingers (picture 2).

From there, you want to rub the tips of your fingers on the polish in the tin to apply the polish to the rag, making sure there is plenty of polish in the rag (picture 3). Finally, take your two fingers and lightly rub the polish on the shoe in a counter clockwise motion (picture 4). Ensure that when you rub you are not pressing too hard or else the existing polish will come off in beads. This is the technique you will use to apply polish to the shoe throughout these instructions.

Step 2: Cleaning the Shoe

Cleaning the shoe is an important step in this process because if the shoes are not clean, then the polish will not stay on the shoe. Take your brush and lightly rub the shoe to get any dirt or grime off of the shoe (pictures 1-3). As well as cleaning the shoe, this step smooths out any scuffs from the surface of the polish, which makes it easier to apply polish to the shoe.

Step 3: Applying the First Layer of Polish

Use your Basic Technique to get polish on the shoe. You want to make sure that you cover the entire shoe with plenty of polish if you haven’t already put a few layers of polish on the shoe (picture 1). Once the first layer of polish is on the shoe, you want to apply two or three more layers in the same way as the first layer.

After all of the first layers are on the shoe, take your brush and lightly rub it over the entirety of the shoe (picture 2). This puts a preliminary shine on the shoe and makes this whole process easier.

Step 4: Using Water on the First Layer

After the first few layers are on the shoe, you want to start focusing on the tip of the shoe, since this is what others will focus on. Using the Basic Technique, put a layer of polish on only the tip of the shoe (picture 1-2). After this, take your cup of warm water, dip the tip of your rag covered fingers into the water and get a few beads of water on them (picture 3). It is important that you do not get your fingers too wet, as this will screw up the polish layer.

Take the beads of water and start gently rubbing them into the layer of polish on the entirety of the tip (picture 3). You may need to reapply water to the tip a few times to ensure that the tip is polished. Keep rubbing the water into the polish until you can just barely make out shapes in the reflection of the tip (picture 4).

Step 5: Applying the Second Layer to the Tip

Next you want to add another layer to the tip of the shoe and use the exact same method as in Step 4 (pictures 1-3).

Step 6: Finishing the Tip

To finish off the tip, You want to keep polishing the tip using the Basic Technique until you can see shapes clearly. Be patient on this step because it will take a while.

A good way to know if you're tip is shiny enough is the "Two Light Test". You don't actually need two lights for this test but, to perform it you want to take your shoes and bring it up to a light of some sort. If you can clearly see the light bulb in the shoe, it is shiny enough (pictures 1-2)

Step 7: Cleaning the Sides of the Sole

To ensure that the sides of the sole of the shoe is clean, take your old tooth brush and clean out the threading that attaches the leather to the sole (picture 1). Dirt tends to collect there and cleaning this out will make sure that your shoes look good.

Next, take the Heel and Sole Edge Dressing and apply that to the sides of the sole. There should be directions on the label so follow them (picture 2-4).

Step 8: Finishing Up the Shoe

To put the finishing touches on your shoe, you want to take your dust rag and lightly polish the tip of the shoe with the soft side of the dust rag (picture 1). Do this as the final step on the shoe and you will be looking good! (picture 2) after you finish all of these steps for the first shoe, repeat everything from Step 2 to Step 8 (picture 3).

Step 9: Shining Brown Leather

Just like when shining the Low Quarters, when you want add a shine to brown leather shoes or boots, you are going to need Kiwi Parade Gloss, Kiwi Protect All, your brush and your rag (picture 1). make sure that your leather shoes are clean before you try to shine them, just like the Low Quarters.

Using the Basic Technique, get some gloss on the rag and apply the gloss to the leather sparingly (picture 2). As you rub the gloss on the leather, you will see that the leather starts to get a shine to it (picture 3). Keep rubbing the gloss on the leather until you cover the entire shoe. You shouldn't need more than one or two coats at a time on the shoe.

After this, you want to take your brush and lightly brush the entirety of the shoe (picture 4). This will improve the shine even more and make the leather look very good. After this, apply the Protect-All as specified by the directions on the can (picture 5). This will protect the leather from stains and keep the leather's shine. Finally, you want to brush the shoe one last time to see the final shine.