Which Shoeshine Brush Do You Need? | Shoe Polishing Brush Guide

Which Shoeshine Brush Do You Need? | Shoe Polishing Brush Guide

Hi, I’m Kirby Allison, founder of The Hanger Project. This video is the ultimate shoe shine brush overview. I’m going to talk about all the brushes that we carry here at The Hanger Project, their differences, how to use them, and most importantly how to select the right shoe shine brush to take care of your shoes. If you have any questions during this video please ask them in the comments section below. And if you haven’t taken a moment to subscribe to our YouTube channel please do that now by clicking the red button. You’ll get notifications of all of our great videos here at The Hanger Project on garment care, shoe care, and then my travels kind of throughout the world and meeting with different artisans in kind of this industry. So here at The Hanger Project we carry a ton of different shoeshine brushes, and so at times it can be a little overwhelming of how to select the right shoe shine brush for you. And so one of the purposes of this video is to really simplify all of the brushes we carry. And so at its highest level there’s really two different types of shoe shine brushes. One is a primary brush you’re going to use to shine your shoes. After you’ve applied the polish you’re going to use this brush to buff off the polish and produce that nice soft shine. The second type of brush which is a little bit less common, is a finishing brush. So this is a yak hair brush or a goat hair finishing brush that is completely discretionary. And this is really more of just something to use to either finish off your shoes to provide that last shine or to just buff your shoes at the beginning or the end of the day. Every shoeshine kit needs a horsehair shoeshine brush. This is going to be the brush you’re using 90 percent of the time and is really the most important brush you can have. If you only have one brush, it’s going to be a horsehair brush. We’ve got two sizes here at The Hanger Project, the larger shoemaker dimension, which is just a larger handle with a longer bristle, or a smaller kind of medium horsehair brush that we have. So again, still the same level of bristle density, but a smaller handle and a smaller cut length on the bristle. Some people prefer a smaller brush because it fits in their hand easier or some people prefer a larger brush because they feel like they’re less likely you know whenever they’re polishing their shoes to kind of miss and then jam the brush into the leather itself. You know personally, I use the larger shoemaker brush because again, I really enjoy and kind of appreciate that larger dimension, it’s got a longer bristle which is softer, and I just feel like you get a better buff with a larger brush than you do with a shorter one. Second is a pig bristle brush. So this isn’t going to be what you use to buff that shine. It’s really more to kind of get that polish off of the shoe. Absolutely if you have a pebble grain shoe that’s prone to kind of accumulating a polish, this pig bristle brush is going to do a better job actually getting into that grain to remove it. And then secondly, if you’ve got a shoe with like a lot of texture or a lot of broguing, again the pig bristle brush is just going to do that much better of a job kind of getting in to the leather and removing any type of accumulated polish. And then lastly is whether or not you need any type of finishing brushes. So there’s two finishing brushes that we offer here at The Hanger Project. The first one is the goat hair brush. This has a really soft bristle. Now the purpose of the goat hair brush is really for just dusting your shoes at the end of the day. It’s a really soft bristle and it’s not going to ruin your mirror shine or really kind of change any of the shine texture. And then we have our yak hair brush. So the yak hair brush is easily, I like to say, the most rare shoeshine brush in the world. The Hanger Project is one of just few companies in the world that is even able to source these brushes. So what you get with the yak hair is an incredibly soft yet dense bristle that is just totally unique in the world. To make these brushes even more unique and rare, they can only be made by hand. So all of these bristles have to be hand pinned and you can tell that because the handle is split. So that it can be opened up and then someone literally is pinning all these bristles by hand with metal twine. Now a yak hair again, is a finishing brush, and so it’s just for that last kind of final shine. Shoeshine brushes in my opinion you know fall into the category of things that if you buy once and you buy high quality, you’re never going to have to worry about buying that product again. So you know I love hearing stories from customers who inherited like a shoe shine brush from their grandfather. And if you buy a high enough quality shoeshine brush, I mean there’s really no reason that these brushes shouldn’t last you the rest of your life. So now on to some frequently asked questions that we often get from customers. So I think our most popular question is do I need both brushes, both a dark bristle and a light bristle brush. And the short answer to that is yes because you want to keep the brush separate that you use for your dark polishes from the one you use from your light colored polishes all brushes accumulate polish as you use them. So you don’t want to take a shoeshine brush that you just buffed off polish on a black pair of shoes, and then go to shine a light brown or tan colored shoe, because you’re going to end up with streaking on those lighter colored shoes of the residual darker polishes on your horsehair brush. So by having two brushes you can keep separate the one you use for your blacks and dark browns from the brush you use from your light browns and tans. Another question that we get is how do I clean my brush. You know one of the things that I do is I’ll just take my shoeshine brush with a cotton cloth and just buff the cloth with the shoeshine brush and what you’re doing is you’re just rubbing off any type of residual polish that’s accumulated on the brush. Another question we get is how much shedding is normal? with all of our Hanger Project brushes, because we use 100 percent tail hair, you’re going to get substantially less shedding with a Hanger Project shoeshine brush than you would with an ordinary brush that you buy at the store. Now that said, you know all brushes shed especially new brushes. So in the beginning, whenever you first receive your new shoe shine brush you know there’s always going to be a ton of shedding because those most weak hairs are going to be the first to break. But after you use a brush for a while, you really shouldn’t have much shedding at all. Another question we get is can you apply shoe polish with a shoeshine brush, and the answer is unequivocally no. You would never want to actually apply polish with a shoeshine brush because you’re going to end up with too much accumulation and gunking of polish on the brush itself. And you just wouldn’t want to ruin a good shoeshine brush you know by putting too much polish on the bristle. I mean really, polish should be applied with a dauber, with a cotton chamois, or with you know Saphir Medaille d’Or shoe polish because it’s such high quality I mean you can even apply with your fingers if you want to, but don’t ever apply your shoe polsih with your shoeshine brush. So another question we get is you know what types of materials are these shoeshine brushes good for. You know any type of bristled shoeshine brush is appropriate for anything really other than suede. Suede shoes use a completely different type of brush. And we talk more about those brushes and our daily suede care video that you can find on our YouTube channel. I hope you found this video useful in helping you understand the different types of shoe shine brushes we offer here at The Hanger Project, what makes them different, and then how to select the right shoeshine brush for you. If you have any questions, you know again, ask them in the comments section below. I personally respond to all questions. And then more importantly if you have any stories about shoeshine brushes please share those with us. I mean I love hearing from customers, you know that inherited shoeshine brushes from their grandfather, or they still have the same brushes that they bought 30 years ago whenever they were an intern in New York City, or they’re still using the same shoe shine brush that they got in the military. And lastly if you haven’t taken an opportunity to subscribe to our YouTube channel, you know please do so, that way you receive notifications when we release new videos here at The Hanger Project. I’m Kirby Allison, thanks for joining us.

54 thoughts on “Which Shoeshine Brush Do You Need? | Shoe Polishing Brush Guide

  1. Hey Kirby! Which colour of horsehair shoe shine brush should I use for red/mahogany Polish? I'm currently using my neural one but the tips of the bristles have turns rather red and i'm worried its going to streak on my tan shoes. Any advice?

  2. As I was watching this, I had a question about cleaning the brush. Your video answered it perfectly. Very excellent overview. Thank you.

  3. Hello from Indonesia Kirby, amazing video as always

    So i have this question, if i use my black bristle brush to buff my dark brown shoes but i used the black bristle brush to buff my black shoes earlier, is it gonna cause striking on my dark brown shoes or darkening the dark brown polish ?

    Your answer is greatly appreciated, keep up the good work !

  4. I'm 6'2" and wear a 48L jacket with 38" waist. The hangers foisted upon me by suit makers are a joke. Being able to care for my suits by hangng the jackets on one of your hangers that is the correct size is fantastic. I save needless wear and tear on my jackets from excessive cleaning just by hanging them up after Inget home and change. It's also great to realize that you are also "old school" about shining one's own shoes. Once or twice a year I find myself in a shoeshine chair at Penn or Grand Central, but only because someone stepped on one f my shoes or he weather is inclement and I have a meeting or appearance. Thanks again for your great products!

  5. Hi, so is just one brush enough for one shoe or do we need like 2? One soft brush for final buffing and one hard brush for cleaning/initial buffing? Thanks

  6. Hello! Is the Hanger Project Finishing brush similar to the Saphir Polishing brush – with the corrugated edges? Thanks

  7. Why are so many brushes and polishes out of stock on your website? I tried to buy things but most things are out of stock…

  8. Since you asked, I will too soon have a brush from my Dad he bought at the PX in 53’. He taught me to shine shoes as a very young kid with that brush. I’m nearly 50 now, and far as I can tell, it must have been the best top quality. Seldom does it shed at all. He still maintains to this day the bristles were once much longer. I don’t know, but that brush has been in my life since day one, and having it in my closet will be bitter sweet indeed.

  9. What type of brush can I use to clean shoes from dust or dirt? Thanks for the answer. Your channel is very informative and interesting. Thanks again for your work.

  10. Hello Alison, wanted to buy these stuffs but found out my country Ghana is not on the list of countries you ship to. How can you help me get these? Thanks

  11. Thank you sir! I was wondering about purchasing a softer High Quality dusting/finishing type of brush, and this video just answered my question! I will be checking out your website and placing some orders soon!

  12. Just received my large horsehair brush, Saphir Light Brown and Renovatour for my Allen Edmonds Walnut Boulevards. Items exceeded my already high expectations. Thanks for all you do and keep the videos coming!

  13. You would appreciate my primary shine kit. It landed in my home before I was born, likely from the '50s. It is the quintessential 12 inch tall wooded step box, with two dowl divided side compartments for brushes and polish- plus the helpful tread grip on the handle. The sides have the commercial artwork of "DON'T JUST SHINE YOUR SHOES LANOLIZE THEM WITH ESQUIRE BOOT POLISH" including a picture of the product on each side of the text. Then a few years back, I received a smart leather travel kit, nice 5"x3" oval that holds 2 small brushes, two polishes and a chamois.

    One tool I find successful and please tell me if this is bad, I use old silk ties to apply polish as well as for an extra buffing. Much brighter than I get from brushes alone.

    I would like to make a bold suggestion for your consideration. Grab a beverage and kick back for a moment.

    I would ask you to please ponder on offering advice on proper care and gear storage for individuals who vape (perhaps with a Lost Vape Therion DNA75c, Triade DNA 200, or Paranormal DNA 250c to name a few experienced users might know). These devices can be elegant, are collected by many, and some basic care is needed.

    I don't think you need do more that two or three videos over 24 months to adequately broach this growing market as well as suggesting where people might look for more information. There are millions of adult smokers who need an education about the 22% avoidable cancer deaths that stem from smoking.

    The Royal College of Physicians 2015 report and Public Health England's 2018 three year review of the implemented policies are demonstrative of the Tobacco harm reduction possible. Our CDC and American Cancer Society finally started reporting these are appropriate products for adult smokers to use as a 100% alternative after the National Academies report on the Public Health Consequences of Electronic Cigarettes was released in January.

    Very likely you will soon learn of their becoming approved cessation products like nicotine gum is. The FDA's Nicotine Steering Committee held their first meeting in January to begin those discussions and the regulation of flavorings is currently open for comments on the FDA's website. Flavorings are actually the most important factor that have proven to see growth in converted smokers. Each person has a favorite dessert or fruit medley they are willing to accept and leave the taste of tobacco behind. For me ot was a Creme Bruleé and I've even found a few which after using people have inquired what mouthwash did I use… where can they find it. (shh… we tell no tales).

    There is little reason to care for your closest if you are not first caring for your health. Too many misconceptions surround this topic. Cigarettes contain 7000 chemicals which when burned become dangerous to the smoker and others. Nicotine may be addictive but it is not tar- the cancerous culprit. Nicotine dependence is also lower for vapers. Nicotine is an antidepressant, a short Term memory booster and is being studied for both Alzheimer's and adhd.

    First it needs to be stressed this should not be used as a dual product with cigarettes or other burning tobacco products. Even medical marijuana is better when vaped. Third generation devices like mentioned above have proven to be the most successful style in getting people to make the switch and not be a dual product user (but each smoke a person doesnt take is a step in the right direction).

    Vaping has a 50+% success rate for quitting smoking and remaining combustion cigarette free longterm compared to 25% for all other quit methoda combined- cold turkey, NRT's and alternatives. [Second generation pen style work well enough; cigalikes, first generation such as the MarkTen or Blu which you find at most convenience stores are not as effective and lead to dual use most].

    If you agree with my thinking, I would be happy to suggest a few articles from Columbia University Medical School and NYU that confirm the imformation above and help direct your subscribers to one incrediby valuable resource, a battery safety expect who tests and rates each battery before they becomes available giving us true numbers of their capability so we use them appropriately.

    Thank you in advance, i hope you enjoyed your favorite beverage as you took the time to read my short discourse. Truly the audience you capture is prime for this information. Illegal Youth access to these adult products is something each state's Tobacco Control Department should be addressing while people like US News & World Reports does what needs to be done for the health of all.


    Philip Ehrlich

  14. Hi.
    I am from Singapore and I have have a couple of questions that I hope you can help me with.

    1. What are the differences between goat hair finish brush and yak hair brush in terms of their purposes?

    2. Do you have any videos that demonstrates how to use a finishing brush?

    3. I just bought a pair of shoes from Yanko and they comes with a mirror gloss which I like a lot. So how should I maintain and polish my shoes so that I will not affect the gloss?

    Thanks a lot

  15. Hello. Will shoe polish that’s on the shoe and gets into the brush “gunk” up the brush the way paint does on a paint brush? How do you get polish off the brush? Thank you very much

  16. Dose any of these companies make sure that their products DO NOT come from abused goats or Horses?! animal cruelty is a very HIGH RISK.

  17. @kirby Allison, I have tan, medium brown, and oxblood colored shoes. How many shoe shine brushes would you own and which colors would you use for each brush?

    Im concerned that my tan and medium browns could cause streaking. Im also concerned the oxblood could cause streaking on my other colors. What do you recommend?

  18. All you need is a soft rags ..and a simple kiwi brush from Walmart..and water or spit..you dont need all this brushes for your simple shoes .

  19. Hi Kirby, I noticed that the Pig bristle brush is not available on the UK website. Can it be obtained via the Hanger Project in Britain? And would the Saphir horse hair brush at £14.70 do the same job? Kind regards.

  20. Great video. I recently found your channel when I started to look for an additional brush for my kit. The one I currently use is an Esquire brush that I've had for at least 35 years. It still serves me well but I thought I'd treat myself to a new one. Thanks again for the informative videos.

  21. What about for black shoes and burgundy colored shoes? Should these two colors have their own separate brush too?

  22. Mr. Allison, Can you please recommend me the best brush to use after I applied the Saphir Canadian cream to leather Jackets. Leather jackets have different texture than the shoes. Thank You in advance.

  23. Mr. Kirby Allison, once again I ask you please to tell me exactly which of the brushes in your store is the one that most recommends me to work with leather Jackets. There are many to choose from in your store and I do not know which one you are referring to, salt and pepper. Tell me the SKU, the exact name or some more accurate information that will help me buy the exact one. Thank you.

  24. Its shocking how few young men are clueless about a simple action of applying polish and making sure their shoes are clean and tidy

  25. Thanks Kirby for sending my order on time and I will continue order more from your company. I been looking for shoes shine products before but haven’t fine any that I interested as your. Now make my life easier.
    Very recommended hanger project products.
    Thanks again
    God bless
    Mr. Hawj

  26. hi. hello. sir. shoes. Bes. price. iam from India. my name. is. RG.FAIZUl BAIG. my. what's app.09952723905. send me

  27. Love your videos! Q: What is the difference, in purpose or function, between your Goat Hair Finishing Brush and your Deluxe Horsehair Buffing Brush?

  28. So can you use the same brush to clean the shoe pre-polish and then buff? Do you have to clean and such? Or do you NEED and pig hair??

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