How to Find the Best Shoe Polish

It’s been shown that the first thing anyone notices about another person isn’t their eyes or their smile or even how they smell – it’s what their shoes look like. It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise considering the range of phrases targeted at footwear – “well-heeled” people for instance are wealthy.

The simple fact of the matter is that a person’s shoes are a quick way to gauge where they are in terms of life style, financial means, and self-worth. As such a well-polished pair of shoes shows not only a person with confidence and means, but also demonstrates a certain level of discipline and concern.

That tends to engender respect from others – which can go a long way in terms of making that first crucial impression on someone else. So then – what is the best shoe polish to use if you’re going to go to the effort of polishing a pair of shoes? It’ll really depend  on what type of shoes, the material being polished, the color of the shoes, and most importantly – if you want a mirror shine. Let’s go over a few things and see what we turn up.

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What is Shoe Polish? 

Anyone that owns a pair of leather shoes or boots knows very well that leather can begin to fade, dry and develop cracks overtime especially being exposed to rain and high levels of heat on a regular basis.

However, with a touch of shoe polish all those problems can be easily fixed. Shoe polish comes in many forms and types such as wax, paste, cream and liquid and it can be used to polish, soften and waterproof leather shoes and other leather footwear products.  As well as to restore, maintain and refine their appearance. Shoes polishes also come in a variety of colors so you can match the polish to the shade of your shoes.

Each type of shoe polish performs slightly different, yet overall it doesn’t matter what form of shoe polish you use, they will all leave wonderful results and keep your leather shoes appearing new.

Lastly, shoe polish is not a cleaning product, and therefore make sure the footwear is both cleaned and dried before the application of shoe polish. As well as should be avoided on shoes made out of suede and nubuck. To learn how to restore back the color of your suede and nubuck shoes you can read our post how to clean nubuck and suede.


Types of Shoe Polishes

Wax and Paste Polish

Wax and paste shoe polishes are the best shoe polishes for covering scuffs and scratches as well as making the leather more water resistant while sealing and protecting the leather from water.  

Liquid Polish 

If you want to achieve quick and easy shine, liquid shoe polish is the one to use. This type of polish is good for on the go polishing of your leather since it dries very quickly. It also leaves a durable high gloss finish making your leather shine! Liquid shoe polish is perfect for refining last minutes imperfections because it leaves no mess behind. Since it’s a liquid it does not last for an extended period of time. Which is why it’s best to use other types of shoe polishes alongside a liquid shoe polish if you want to keep your leather looking polished for a longer period of time.

Cream Polish

Compared to other shoe polishes cream shoe polishes are considered one of the top shoe polish for restoring back faded colour. These polishes usually contain larger amounts of dye: a coloured substance added into shoe polish to match the polish to your leather’s colour: which helps bring back the colour of your worn out leather. A cream shoe polish is also better at moisturizing and conditioning leather compared to any other shoe polish.


Common Ingredients Found in Shoe Polishes 

Shoe polishes have been around for centuries and in the early days they were only made from natural ingredients such as tallow and wax. Whereas today shoes polishes are made from a combination of natural and synthetic compounds: synthetic ingredients such as turpentine, naphtha and historically used natural ingredients such as wax.  Just as before today’s shoe polish is still able to soften and waterproof leather yet now it’s also formulated to shine and polish leather.


Wax is a natural substance that has been one of the main ingredients in shoe polishes for last hundreds of years. It still continues to be a main ingredient because of its ability to make leather more water resistant. Carnauba wax and beeswax are some of few waxes found in shoes polishes.


Dye is a coloured substance that’s been added to shoe polish to better match the different shades of leather. However, neutral colour polishes usually do not contain dye as an ingredient and can be used on any color of leather.


Lanolin is a greasy, waxy, yellow substance which is also referred to as wool wax or wool grease. It’s often obtained from wool bearing animals such as sheep. Lanolin’s purpose is to help waterproof leather as well as act as a bonding agent between ingredients, which is that it holds the ingredient in the polish together in one solid form. Since lanolin is such a great natural moisturizer it’s can also be put into shoe polishes to help moisturize leather. Lastly, it is great that Lanolin is a natural substance and not an artificially produced synthetic compound.

Gum Arabic

Gum Arabic also referred to as acacia gum and it is a natural substance derived from thesap of an acacia tree and added to shoe polish to increase the thickness of the polish.    

Naphtha & Turpentine 

Naphtha is a colorless, flammable oil containing various hydrocarbons, obtained by the dry distillation of organic substances such as coal, shale, or petroleum and is a volatile solvent that helps to dissolves wax, and spread it into a thin layer so that your shoe polish can be applied easily. Whereas Turpentine is a volatile solvent distilled from gum turpentine or pine wood which also plays a similar role. 


Tallow is a hard fatty substance rendered from animal fat that helps to soften and water proof leather. This ingredient helps protect your leather from water damage.  


Top 3 Shoe Polishes 

We have listed the top shoe polish for each different type of shoe polish down below.  

Best Wax Shoe Polish 

Kiwi Shoe Polish 

Kiwi shoe polish is known as the best wax shoe polish out of the many shoe polishes out there. Kiwi shoe polish is made out of high quality waxes that protect and nourish leather as well as make the leather more water resistant.

This shoe polish goes on very smoothly and produces a long lasting shine that makes any leather shoe appear new again. Not to mention it restores back faded color and covers scuffs and scratches. Additionally, Kiwi shoe polish is available in many colors so you can find the specific shades to match the leather shoes you want to polish. Nonetheless, it is not suitable for shoes made out of canvas, fabric or suede material.  In short Kiwi shoe polish is easy to use, inexpensive, and a long lasting product.


Best Cream Shoe Polish  

Meltonian Shoe and Boot Shoe Polish 

Melatonin’s shoe polish is an easy to use, inexpensive, yet soft and moist cream that’s performs many jobs. It’s not only good for restoring back faded color, but also covering scuffs and scratches that can ruin your leather’s original appeal and texture.

Other than that Meltonian shoe polish comes in many different colors to match different colored leather shoes and  is a very easy to spread shoe polish that also dries quickly.


Best Liquid Shoe Polish

 Kiwi Color Shine 

For quick and easy shine there’s probably no better liquid shoe polish than Kiwi color shine.  It not only covers scuffs and scratches but also restores back leather’s original beauty and glow within minutes and without leaving behind any mess.

Its ability to dry super fast with no help from any tools to help rub in the polish makes the Kiwi color shine shoe polish very appealing for those with busy lives. Kiwi color shine is only available in few colors.   Kiwi color shine is easy to use, great for on the go and for last minutes touches.


Final Words

As you can see polishing leather shoes not only makes your shoes appear new and shiny but also extends the life of your shoes. Yet this can be achieved relatively easily since it’s not necessary to polish your shoes every day to achieve that shine and look for your leather, once in a while is all you need.How often you have to polish your shoes of course depends on how many times you wear them. But majority of the time once a week is considered good enough.