How to Make Your Boots Glossy and Shiny

Shine your boots until you can see your reflection in them.
Shine your boots until you can see your reflection in them. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Whether or not you are in the military, leather boots look best when they polished to a shine. Those that have spent any time in the armed forces have boot shining down to a science, though everyone has their own techniques. To shine your boots to that same standard, you'll need polish and proper brushes. Shine your boots when you have a lot of time on your hands, because it take time to give them that shiny, glossy look.

Things You'll Need

  • Towel
  • Damp rag
  • Horsehair shine brush
  • Shoe polish (wax polish or cream polish)
  • Shoe polish brush
  • Cotton balls
  • Shine cloth

Bring your boots to the store that sells the shoe polish so you can more easily choose a shoe polish that matches the color of your boots.

Spread an old towel or newspapers down to protect the area you will be working in from shoe shine polish.

Place your boots on the towel, remove the laces and brush off excess dirt and debris from your boots using a horsehair shine brush. Use a damp cloth to wipe away any stubborn stains, but allow it to dry completely before applying polish.

Dip the shoe polish brush in the shoe polish and cover the whole shoe generously with polish.

Brush the shoe polish all over the shoe, even down to the seams. Set aside to dry for 15 minutes.

Brush off the excess polish vigorously using the horsehair shine brush, leaving a thin film of black polish all over the boots. The boots should have a dull shine from the shoe polish.

Dip a cotton ball, small cloth rag or old sock into a bowl of water and squeeze out the excess, then dip it into the shoe polish.

Rub the cotton ball or the rag on the toe of the boot, as well as the heel, using small circular motions to give those areas the extra shine they need. Use two fingers inside of the rag or sock if you are polishing with one of those items.

Apply one or two more coats of polish, until the toe and heel area of the boots have a very shiny look to them. Use a dry shine cloth to remove any excess polish.

Another method for creating high shine is to fill a small water bottle with water and spray the toe and heal area very lightly. Then buff with a dry, soft cloth until you have achieved a shine so glossy you can see your reflection in the boots.

Tips & Warnings

  • Apply edge dressing to the sole edges, if they are too dull for your liking, by brushing it lightly onto the visible edges of the sole using the applicator brush that comes with it. The edge dress must be completely dry before walking anywhere as it will easily stain whatever it comes in contact with.
  • Although wax polish will give your shoe more shine, it will seal out moisture and dry out the leather over time. Cream polishes soaks into the leather and allows it to breathe, so you may want to alternate using both to prolong the life of your boots.
  • Use hot water on your rag or cotton ball before dipping into the polish, which will help work the polish into the leather better to create more shine.

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