How to Mirror Shine Your Shoes

How to Mirror Shine Your Shoes

Hi I’m Kirby Allison founder of The Hanger Project, and the purpose of this video is to show you how to create a high gloss mirror shine in three basic steps using the Saphir Medaille D’Or mirror gloss polish. A proper mirror shine is arguably one of the most difficult to achieve. The reason is that it requires the build up of a wax layer on the cap, on the hard surfaces of the shoe that reflects light. In order to do this you have to successfully apply coat, after coat, after coat, of wax polish until you build the wax finish above the pores and it’s able to glass out- to glaçage so that reflects light. The products that I’m going to use here is a horse hair brush to help brush the leather, The Saphir Medaille D’Or Pommadier cream polish for cleaning, the Saphir Medaille D’Or mirror gloss wax, and finally the Pate De Luxe Medaille D’Or standard wax polish. I’ve also got something to apply water which you need with your glass wax because it’s very dry, so I’ve got both our high shine water dispenser and just a simple spritz bottle, and then another product that is actually really essential for this process that we created specifically for the mirror shine, is our high shine chamois. Now the high shine chamois is very important because what it is, is basically high quality cotton shirting. We use a 180×2 ply shirting for this and what it does is it creates a very tight weave that allows you to very efficiently control the amount of wax polish that you’re applying to the shoes. This is very important if you’re trying to produce a mirror gloss using cotton balls or a standard cotton chamois, it’s much more difficult than using this mirror glass high shine chamois. Today I’m going to be shining a new pair of bespoke Cleverley Cap toe shoes, these are bespoke shoes I had made from G. J. Cleverley in London. Now the amount of preparation that you need before you start with the mirror gloss shine is really going to depend on the condition of your shoes. These are relatively new shoes, I’ve worn them several times so there is a little bit of preparation that is needed but, really I’m just going to use a cream polish in order to prepare them. If you’ve been using a shoe polish that contains silicone and resins like a cheap or store bought polish, then you might want to clean the shoes first with a RenoMat in order to really open up the leather. If you’ve got a really high quality pair of shoes that you’ve been taking care of with the Saphir Medaille D’Or, you really don’t need to do much prep. The second thing to know about that mirror finish is that you only want to do a mirror finish on the hard countered areas of the shoe, traditionally, that’s the toe box and the hind quarters. The reason is that you’re building up essentially a solid wax finish, so if you do that anywhere the shoe leather is going to bend, the moment that you walk, that wax is going to crack so if you see white build up across the vamp of the shoe, normally it is because you applied too much hard wax to that area. First I’m going to brush the shoes, just a very light brush in order to remove any type of large surface dirt. So the purpose of using the Saphir Medaille D’Or Pommadier cream polish is just to clean the leather and prepare it to receive the mirror gloss wax. Because of the high concentration of solvents in the cream polish, it’s able to clean the leather and prepare it. Here I am using the high shine chamois, and I like to pull the chamois over my index and middle finger. And then here. I’m just applying. A little bit of cream Polish. So just applying it here. in small circular motions, I’m going to take a little bit more. But remember with shoe polish, less is more. So here I’m just applying it. Then, instead of buffing it off what I’m going do is I’m going to employ the technique that you see used throughout the entire shoeshine process, which is that in order to really elevate the shine, you buff- you don’t brush. So you’re going to use a high shine chamois with a little bit of water in circular motions and that’s how you take the fogged wax finish and elevate the shine. Here I’m to let the wax – or the cream Polish dry a little bit and you can see how it fogging- completely normal, and then I’m going to take my water dispenser which we sell on the Hanger Project, and I’m just going to get my chamois a little bit. Right. So after this has dried, I’m going to buff this cream polish and that’s all the preparation I’m going to do to the leather. So here I’m just using circular motions with light pressure. You don’t want to press too hard into the leather it’s just with light pressure, and as you buff the leather you’re going to see that this cream polish begins to shine. Now once you start feeling the chamois beginning to track across the surface of the leather, you need to apply a little bit more water. You’re going to do this until the fogging disappears. Now you can see that because this is already been shined it few times that it’s already got a pretty nice high gloss shine, but once we start flying the mirror gloss you’re going to see this shine elevate even more. I’m going to do it in the same process I did in cleaning the shoes. I’m going to use a clean section of the chamois, going to wrap it around my two fingers. And again, because the mirror gloss has such a high concentration of hard waxes and such a low solvent ratio, you really want to be using as much water as possible in order to lubricate the chamois and to allow it to glide across the shoe. So I’m going to do know three sprays, take some wax polish- now you can see I’m rubbing it a lot in here, but because it’s such a hard wax I’m still just picking up just a tiny amount of wax polish. Using circular motions and a very light touch, I’m going to start applying. The mirror gloss wax to the shoe. Again, you want to be very careful to apply the mirror gloss to the hard countered areas of the shoe. On a Cap Toe, it’s very easy to see you know where the hard countered area ends and the soft vamp begins because of the cap but on a pair of hole cuts, you really need to pay attention to where you know the shoe to bend. Sometimes you can see that by the creasing, but sometimes you just need to know that based off where they’ve been when you’re wearing them. I’m going to spray a little bit more water and while this is drying, I’m going to apply the same mirror gloss polish to the rear of the shoe. Again, I’m just applying it to that hind quarters; once you feel the chamois begin to drag again apply a little bit more water and start going again. So here I’ve applied my first layer of the mirror gloss wax polish. Now using this product you can normally produce a pretty high mirror gloss within three to five different coats. So after you’ve allowed the mirror gloss to dry, it dries pretty quickly, because again, it’s such a hard wax, spray a little bit more water and your chamois. You can see I just got a few little white drops there, and then using a very light touch begin to buff that wax. I’m using circular motions, you can take up just a little bit of wax polish to help further lubricate your chamois also and then using circular motions, I’m going to try to buff as much of that clouding out of the wax polish. During this process of building the wax foundation, don’t concentrate too much on the quality of the shine because that’s really going to come in the last step where we use the Pate De Luxe to melt that wax and really glaçage it. So here I have applied some more and then I’m just going to repeat this three or five times using more of the mirror gloss wax polish, applying it in circular motions, massaging it into the leather, then allowing it to dry before buffing it off. I like to buff on the fingers whenever I’m applying the wax polish, then whenever I’m buffing the polish off, what I’ll do is I’ll roll my fingers so that I’m buffing on a clean area of the chamois that doesn’t have any wax build up, and I find that it’s really effective at buffing the wax off. So between layers of wax polish while I’m doing this process, you really don’t need to allow much time just a few, you know, 30 seconds. I mean, because this wax is already so dry to begin with, the Medaille D’Or mirror gloss dries pretty quickly. Once you’ve created that mirror gloss, it’s actually kind of a pretty fragile shine. This is about the third or fourth wax finish-or layer of wax that I apply to the calf of my shoe, and I think I’m getting near the point where I can finish it off using the Pate De Luxe. Now again the question of how many layers to apply is really dependent upon the shoe that you’re starting with. If you’re shining a pair of shoes for the first time and it really doesn’t have much wax finish, then you’re going to have to add more layers of the mirror gloss in order to build up that foundation, but if you’re just glaçaging over a pair of shoes that you’ve had for a while, that are already in pretty good condition, you should be able to get away with three to five layers of the mirror gloss before coming on top with the Pate De Luxe. A lot of that also depends on how much of a gloss you want. Like with anything, there’s different levels. You could literally spend all afternoon of lawsuits no question. OK. So here I am. You can see that there’s still a little bit of fogging one the toe box here. Right. It’s not a mirror shine but that’s OK because what we’re going to do is we’re going to finish the mirror shine off with the Pate De Luxe wax polish. The high solvent ratio is going to melt that wax to really glaçage it over, but you can’t do that unless you already have a really strong wax foundation. The next step is then to take some traditional Medaille D’Or Pate De Luxe wax polish and you can see, it’s a much softer wax polish. Since we’re just doing this to the toe box and the hind quarters, you want to apply just a tiny amount of wax polish. I’m going to just, with a really light touch, apply a little bit of wax polish, then using no water, I’m going to repeat that same process where I apply the wax polish. and without letting it dry, I’m going to begin buffing it off. If you feel that your chamois is really starting to drag you could probably do just one small spritz of water, I think I still have enough residual water on my chamois that I’m not going to need to. With a really light touch, I’m just buffing the clouding out of that wax polish, and you can really see that mirror shine start to come out. Especially during this last stage, you want to use just a really fine light touch, I mean, as light as possible, in order to get that polish to come up. I’m doing just another small layer and again, I’m really not giving this enough time to dry, I’m going to spritz my chamois then continue to buff that off. Now what’s happening here, is that you’ve built a foundation of hard waxes using the highly concentrated mirror gloss polish, and then you’re using the solvents, the higher concentration of solvents that you have in the Pate De Luxe to melt that Polish down and to buff it to a high shine. Now it’s difficult to do this using the Pate De Luxe alone because it’s such a relatively soft wax that you have a much more difficult time building up that initial foundation of wax but with the mirror gloss, it’s really easy to do. Use just one more water-no more polish, again, a very light touch and I’m just going to very lightly buff this polish. And there you have it, in as little as 20 minutes, of course depending on the condition of your shoes and how comfortable you are, you can produce a really nice high gloss mirror shine. If you desire even more gloss, even more or glaçage, even more mirror, just continue this process by applying the mirror gloss wax polish to build that foundation and then buffing it down or polishing it down using a little bit of the softer Pate De Luxe wax polish. and your high shine chamois.

100 thoughts on “How to Mirror Shine Your Shoes

  1. Good job. Reminds me of the youtube channel where a guy in suit reviews fast food "The Report Of the Week"

  2. Great video! Nearly the same process I used to shine my jump boots for inspection during my Army days. What's your recommended cleaning recommendation for your high shine chamois? I was looking at ordering some of the 180's.

  3. What would everyone say to wear around London, Tweed suit with suede shoes or tweed shoes with brown Oxford brogues. I am also thinking a sharksin charcoal suit with black oxfords.

  4. Guy looks like a British intelligence agent from the 60's. Like he has a walther ppk with a silencer on it.

  5. You don't need all that fancy stuff to get a mirror shine, just kiwi black, water, and an old t shirt. I got my NWU boots to a glass shine in 4 hours

  6. I'm wondering. If I put some Saphir High Gloss black wax to deepen the color of my boots and THEN use neutral mirror gloss or if I put the Neutral Mirror Gloss and THEN the Saphir high gloss black afterward would it still work? I didn't have enough money to buy the Black and Neutral Mirror Gloss. Thx for the info!

  7. Hey Kirby, love the videos and appreciate your responses. Here's another question/scenario: I wear a nice high shine pair to work. Mirror toes and heals, nice shine everywhere else. They hold up well, wear them again, get a couple scuffs in the mirror shine. Will the cream polish take off the mirror shine? Should I just add more mirror shine to the toes and heals? Trial and error never hurt, but was wondering about how to maintain the mirror once it's started.

  8. Saphir high gloss black wax polish just arrived in the post and I have to say it is fantastic. Thank you for introducing me to Saphir's line of products sir.

  9. Oh my … I may have to give up the idea of having a mirror gloss shoe shine when I travel, I have to place the shoes in the luggage, in other words, it will ruin everything and having limited available time while at customer site is quite an issue. 🙁

  10. Hi Kirby and thank you for your amazing videos! I get lots of compliments on shoes that are not even that expensive just because they are so shiny and dapper. My question to you is which order would you use the Saphir Mirror Gloss Wax polish, Saphir Beaute de Cuir Wax Polish, Saphir Pate De Luxe Wax Shoe Polish? Is the purpose of Saphir Beaute de Cuir Wax Polish to protect mainly from water? Thank you!

  11. Im a young boy in the JROTC program, Ive been confortable shining shoes even before now, and shine all of my shoes, but now that I have attempted the mirror shine on my ROTC shoes I also need alittle shine on the rest of the shoe, would you recommend putting 1 layer of wax on the soft part of the shoe, maybe using a soft wax.

  12. After establishing a mirror shine, would you only apply periodic conditioning to areas around the toe box and heel? And how would you maintain the mirror shine?

  13. I see comments about using cheaper products. Yes it is true that you can use cheaper products to get a shine but the shoes he is referring to cost a few hundred dollars and more. It is not just about polishing but preserving your investment as well. You can get a glassy shine with cheap polish and hair spray but you would not do that on $500.00 hand made shoes.

  14. Can I achieve a high mirror shine on my dress shoe if the original leather wasn't shiny to begin with? If yes, what kind of products would i need to do that?

  15. Pretty amazing. I remember spending hours on hours getting a mirror shine on my boots using kiwi for Monday morning inspection. Sir you have really great videos and I appreciate you for putting them out there.

  16. so you get a high shine on the toe box and back. What are you doing to the other parts of the shoe?  Just one round of wax on the other parts or what does that routine look like?  Thank you

  17. Well just finished my black shoes with the process in the video. I will say what a mirror shine, best shine I have ever been able to get on these shoes.  i think I might have not waited enough time between applications of Mirror gloss but still came out with excellent results.

  18. again I assume using the Saphir Pate De Luxe Wax Shoe Polish is the best for the "soft areas of the shoe.  I put one layer but need to do more on those areas.  Toe box and heel good incredible.

  19. What's best to do if you wind up with cracking wax on the vamp? I've gone too far with the wax and definitely have this going on with two pairs.

  20. Any tips on mirror shining wholecuts? I know that on the toe you need to avoid straying too far towards the vamp, but do you try to keep a crisp delineation between where you mirror polish and where you don't (as if it had a cap) or do you favour a more blended fade from mirror to normal shine?

  21. Hi, I've got a question, if I wanted to achieve a mirror glass shine on my shoes, could I just use a neutral saphir cream polish, and a neutral saphir wax polish (with the high glass as well), or would I need them to be pigmented?

  22. I have watched several of your videos and I like the way you present all the information. I have been polishing my shoes like a "pro" for many, many years and since I started using Saphir I noticed that some whiteish color started to appear on certain spots, but only on non-black shoes, to which I don't apply Saphir but a cheaper brand. Here, you clearly explain the reason but the question remains, why isn't the issue present in my black shoes? Perhaps is because of the specific characteristics of the Saphir wax? Anyway, I solved the issue by applying the cream before the wax! I like your videos, I believe you do a good job!

  23. With a layer of hard wax on the toe/heel counter, would those areas still benefit from the conditioning of the pommadier or the renovateur? Or would you have to use renomat on those areas for the conditioners to properly permeate the leather?

  24. I love the finished product. Quick question though; why was the whole shoe not shined and just the cap and the back?

  25. Excellent info. I'm in Dallas often, I can't seem to find your store. I surfed endlessly through your site and can't find it.Again very informative videos.

  26. You use the same color cream and wax for all three steps, Can you get the same results but using  Neutral Mirror Gloss Wax polish  and Neutral  Pate De Luxe wax polish?

  27. It would be intresting looking into a resoling of bespoke shoes from cleverly for instance and the result…… That is something that hasn't been showcased in the youtube community before… at least not what i know of.

  28. You mentioned at 0.46 Saphir Pommadier Cream Polish for cleaning? I thought it was for recoloring the leather – like other brands of shoe polish. I dont understand.

  29. By the way: D'or is not pronounced: "Deoor" But: "Door" just like a door you enter through in any given building. 😉

  30. So when you are finished with the tasks – then how does one maintain the shoes after that? Can you freshen the shoe up with the horse brush or do you need to something else? Thank you.

  31. Just use regular kiwi and a soft cloth or some thing similar. I bulled my cadet boots and mirror shined in around 4 and a half hours.

  32. I already get a mirror shine but I know if I purchased all this fancy stuff I'd get too attached to my cadet boots

  33. wow, coming back to this old video i can really see how much your video quality has improved over time. good work, and keep at it, kirby.

  34. I have a question. I just bought a pair of Corcoran 1525 Leather Field Boots. I’ve not polished them yet. I was wondering if it would be acceptable or a good idea to apply a conditioner to the boot( minus toe cap and counters). Also since the boots are 10” in height what would you use as far as tree shoes for them?

  35. You must think people are extremely gullible…$75 in shoe polish/products to get a spit shine on a pair of shoes? Seriously? Btw, don’t try to “sell” me on how Kiwi isn’t absorbed into the leather of the shoe and doesn’t allow it to breathe…TOTAL FALLACY! Show me PROOF!! Do you have any scientific evidence of such a statement? I know you don’t because it is merely a sales tactic. Kiwi shoe polish has been used by the military, honor guards, presidential details, law enforcement and others for over 100 years! The “snake oil” you’re marketing (on new/hardly warn shoes) is something to drive your bottom line through the roof. Kiwi, water and a t-shirt are all you need (oh, and a little time).

  36. My old leathers with Kiwi had a hard wax shell. I realize I want them to breathe and be supple for a lifetime (rather than just a few years). I'm surprised with the quality of Saphir. Smells great too….like a minty menthol rather than industrial smell. My leathers are 10 years old. I realized that the plastic dress shoes scuff easily, are consumable, retain odor, and are not as comfortable. I'd rather maintain what I have than waste. I just got the creme too. Gonna try that on a brand new pair that I hope to alternate with.

  37. Seeing that someone commented that using kiwi can achieve the same result, this argument may be true, but I also engaged in this kind of leather repair industry. I only believe saphie is top-notch packaging and effects, I
    This product is confident to help customers maintain a lot of bags and shoes. I use saphir, although many people say that using low-end products such as Kiwi can also achieve the same effect, but after a few months , you will Know which one works well. Each hobbist has his own requirements and needs. Don't use his own set for other people. Some products are not for comparison. For example, the price of iPhone is also very expensive why still have many fans? for my own maintenance of leather I still believe saphir, a credit product, although I'm not buying with a hanger project, haha

  38. How many coats of polish would i generally need for a full mirror shine? And how long should i wait between each coat before buffing?

  39. Great Videos! I was just wondering have you ever encountered stripping off the patina off a shoes while doing the mirror gloss on the toebox?

  40. Thank you for all your videos. Can you use neutral Saphir Mirror Gloss Wax Polish on black shoes? BTW, I followed this same procedure on my high quality handmade wallet with excellent results. I wasn't going for a mirror shine because it is flexible, but the creme polish followed by the wax polish and a layer of Saphir Mirror Gloss Wax Polish gave the leather a very rich, deep color and finish.

  41. ($200 Shoe + $100 High end Shoe care) produces much better result than ($490 Shoe + $10 Cheap Shoe Care)

    So investing in a good collection of shoe care products (Saphir, Avel etc) is more important than investing in the shoes themselves.

  42. I have a question. Could you use the natural mirror gloss on all my shoe colors? Or should I really try to get a black, brown, cognac, and red? Thanks!

  43. dislike simply for the fact that your shoes are already perfect. How about actually prove what your doing works on a dull set. So sick of being lead in 20 different directions on how to shine boots and none of them work

  44. I have seen some japanese shoe shine videos where they work a mirror shine with patte de luxe and whiskey!! What do you think about that combination, make any diference?

  45. Dear Mr. Allison, I have a problem with my mirror shine. Whenever I apply the Saphir mirror gloss wax and even after a nice mirror shine is created, as soon as I put another layer of mirror gloss wax on the shoe, the entire wax built up is almost completely removed. Do you have an idea, why after giving the wax even a day to dry, another application of wax is removing and not building up a stronger wax foundation?

  46. You don't need to buy the expensive Saphir wax/polish to mirror shine your shoes. Just a 0.50 cents wax polish of Cherry Blossom will do the job. And remember this guy never posts videos polishing old shoes. He always polishes new or almost new shoes. He also never compares one pair with another one – – before and after I mean. So you just need any wax polish and a micro fiber cloth to make your shoe toes shine like mirror.

  47. Kirby,
    Thanks for all you do.
    Two questions for you.
    Your thoughts on the laundry detergent you all sell.
    Also, who would you recommend for AFFORDABLE French cuff dress shirts?

  48. Hi Kirby,

    Great video. One question though.

    I've achieved a good mirror shine on my shoes but now when I've worn them for a month I would like to add some more cream polish. Do I need to remove the hard wax before applying more cream polish and do all the work again or can I just add more cream polish directly and it will be absorbed by the leather?

  49. Is the colorless medal d’or wax the same as the colored ones ? Because i have a black and a darkbrown pair so i can use it for both ?

  50. Kirby, Thank you! After an hour, my shoes are shinning like yours. I do have a question. I have a Beck Shoe Polisher, what are your thoughts on automatic shoe polishers? I did not use them this time around, but I'm wondering if I can incorporate it during the mirror shine. Thank you.

  51. It helps if you understand what your doing. You get a shine from a smooth level "mirror like" surface. Shine comes when light bounces off an object evenly with nothing to produce a shadow. Rub a generous amount on with cloth an heat it with blow dryer to melt wax evenly creating the smooth finish. Once cooled spit shine with high count fabric. Same principle as grit number on sandpaper. You cant wet sand your car shiney with 100 grit but you can with 2000.

  52. ok this is a genuine question, but why bother shining only the tips of the shoes? like I understand why the rest can't be shined if it'll just crack with movement, but doesn't shining just the tips only bring attention to the dull rest of the shoe?

  53. What should I do if my mirror shine shoes was under the rain ? It shows some white spots. Should I clean it using half-wet cloth ? How should I re-shine it ?

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