7 Important Reasons You Should Polish Your Leather Shoes

why should leather shoes be polished

If you own a nice pair of leather shoes, then I’m sure that you want to take good care of them. This article is going to talk about why it’s important to polish your leather shoes and what the benefits are.

So why should leather shoes be polished? Leather shoes should be polished because;

  1. Polishing Help Keep The Leather Shoe Protected
  2. To Give The Leather Shoes A Nice Clean Look
  3. Polishing Leather Shoes Help Remove Scuffs And Scratches
  4. Polishing Increases The Lifespan Of The Leather Shoe
  5. Leather Shoes Are PolishedTo Restore Their Shine
  6. Polishing Leather Shoes Makes Them Easy To Clean
  7. Polishing Is A Very Therapeutic Process

For the rest of this article, I’ll go into the details of the reasons why you should polish your leather shoes. I will also go over how often they should be polished, which tools you need for the job, and tips on how to properly polish your leather shoes at home.

1. Polishing Help Keep The Leather Shoe Protected

When you polish your leather shoes, it helps to protect them from damage such as stains and scratches.

Polishes contain waxes that help to prevent water, stains, and other contaminants from soaking into the leather.

Leather is a porous material and this makes leather shoes very porous as well. So if it isn’t protected with something like wax polish then anything that gets on it will soak in and possibly permanently stain.

Even though you might think your shoes are waterproof because of their finish, they’re not 100% impervious to liquids. This is one of the first benefits of polishing your shoes.

2. To Give The Leather Shoes A Nice Clean Look

Polishing your leather shoes gives them a nice clean look. It makes them shine and brings out the natural beauty of the leather.

This is especially important if you plan on wearing your shoes in public or to an event. No one wants to see a scuffed-up pair of shoes when they’re trying to make a good impression.

Polishing your leather shoes also gives you a chance to check them over. If there is any damage that’s been done then it will be easier for you to find and fix before they get worse.

It may seem like polishing your shoes would just put more work on top of the already long list of things that need to be done, but it actually saves time in the long run.

By keeping your leather shoes clean and polished, you won’t have to worry about doing touch-ups or having to go out and buy new ones due to damage.

This saves time in the future because instead of constantly looking for replacements, you can just polish up what you already have.

3. Polishing Leather Shoes Help Remove Scuffs And Scratches

While polishing your leather shoes can help to prevent scuffs and scratches, it can also help to remove them if they do occur.

Most polishes contain some type of abrasive agent that can help to buff out light scratches and scuffs. Some shoe polishes contain healing ingredients that can also fill, seal, or heal scratches and scuffs.

This means that if you do get a scratch or scuff on your leather shoes, then they can be removed by polishing them.

So instead of having to go out and buy new ones, it’s actually possible to remove the damage with just some light buffing.

The best time for this is right after getting home from wearing your shoes. This is because the polish will be fresh and it won’t take as much effort to remove any damage that’s been done.

It is important to add that polishing your shoes won’t be able to fix major damage, but it’s a good way to get rid of the little things that can make your shoes look bad.

4. Polishing Increases The Lifespan Of The Leather Shoe

Another benefit of polishing your leather shoes is that it increases the lifespan of the shoe.

As mentioned before, when you polish your leather shoes, it forms a protective barrier on top of the leather.

This barrier helps to keep moisture, dirt, and other contaminants from getting in and damaging the leather shoe.

It’s like putting a coat of wax on your car. It may not be the most attractive thing to do, but it helps to protect the car from damage and keeps it looking newer for longer.

The same concept applies to leather shoes. By polishing them on a regular basis, you’re helping to keep them protected and prolonging their life.

So if you want a way to increase the lifespan of your leather shoes, then try polishing them regularly. It’s an easy way to keep them looking good and feeling comfortable.

5. Leather Shoes Are PolishedTo Restore Their Shine

Leather shoes are usually polished because it restores their shine. The natural state of leather is to be smooth with a natural shiny, but over time this can fade away if the shoe isn’t taken care of correctly.

Polishing your shoes helps restore them back to their original appearance. It brings out the luster and makes the color appear more vibrant.

It also helps to seal in the color and keep it from fading over time.

If your leather shoes are starting to look a bit dull, then polishing them can help restore their shine. It’s an easy way to make them look new again without having to replace them.

6. Polishing Leather Shoes Makes Them Easy To Clean

One of the best reasons to polish your leather shoes is that it makes them easy to clean.

When you have a layer of polish on top of your leather shoe, it becomes much easier to remove dirt and dust.

All you need is a damp cloth or brush and you can easily wipe away any contaminants.

Not only that, it makes the process of cleaning liquid stains much easier as well.

If you have a spill on your leather shoes, then all you need to do is wipe it away with a cloth and the polish will help protect the shoe from any further damage.

So if you’re looking for an easy way to render your leather shoes easy to clean, then polishing them is the way to go. This is much better than having to scrub and clean them every time they get dirty.

7. Polishing Is A Very Therapeutic Process

Personally, I find spending Saturday afternoons cleaning my wife and son’s shoes very therapeutic.

I love the process of shining them up, and it’s a good way to take my mind off of things. There’s something about the act of polishing shoes that is very calming and relaxing.

It’s like I’m taking some time for myself to focus on doing something positive. I haven’t met a lot of people who find value in this but it definitely works magic for me.

If you’re looking for a way to relax and take your mind off of things, then try polishing your leather shoes. It’s a simple process that can be very therapeutic for some people.

How Often Do Leather Shoes Need To Be Polished?

Polishing your leather shoes depends on how much you wear them. If you’re someone who wears their shoes every day, then it’s recommended that you polish them at least once or twice a month.

If they only get worn every now and again, then it’s probably best to polish them at least once or twice a year.

It also depends on the type and condition of your leather shoes. This will determine how often they need polishing as well.

Good quality, high-end leather shoes tend to last longer because they’re made with premium materials that don’t wear out after a few months of use. If you have a pair of shoes like this, then you can probably go a little longer in between polishing sessions.

However, in-between polishing, you can have basic cleaning routines of wiping them down with a damp cloth on a daily or weekly basis.

Also, you can use your intuition and whenever you begin to see that your leather shoes are starting to look dull or lose their natural shine, you can give them a full polishing treatment to help restore them.

But overall, it’s best to err on the side of caution and polish your leather shoes at least once or twice a month. That way, you’re keeping them looking good and prolonging their lifespan at the same time.

How To Properly Polish Leather Shoes

Polishing your leather shoes is very easy if you know the particular order to follow; Here is a step-by-step guide on how to polish your leather shoes:

Things Needed:

  • A Microfiber Cloth: This is what you would use to shine your leather shoe if you do not have horse hair brush. You can make do with an old t-shirt if you do not have a microfiber cloth.
  • Clean Rag: You would use the rag to clear polish residue off your leather shoes.
  • Shoe Brush: You would need a good quality horsehair brush with soft yet stiff bristles – enough not to scratch or damage your leather shoe surface.
  • Welt Brush: This is also another type of brush you will need but for the purpose of reaching creases and other hard-to-reach areas of the leather shoe. 
  • Shoe Polish: Although there are a lot of brands when it comes to leather shoe polishes I always recommend KIWI®. They also come in various forms of polish, but the most common and beginner friendly are the wax polishes. Wax polishes always adds a shine and covers any blemishes on them.

Note: If you want to polish your leather but do not want an extra shine then a Cream polish is the way to go as it gives you very minimum shine but gives your leather shoes all the protection and moisturization it needs. the leather.  


Step 1: Prepare Your Leather Shoe

The first step to thoroughly polishing your leather shoes is to prepare your leather shoe. This will make it easy for you to apply the polish evenly.

  • Start by removing the shoe laces as this will give you easier access to the entire surface of the shoe.
  • If your leather shoe has leather laces, then you can leave the lace on and simply loosen them. They will benefit greatly from the shoe polish that your will be applying.
  • If you have a shoe tree or insert, then put it in the shoe now to help maintain the shape of the leather shoe.

Step 2: Clean The Leather Shoe

  • Next, using a brush or damp cloth, remove any dirt or dust that may be on the surface of the leather.
  • You can also use a leather shoe cleaner or cream to help remove old polishes, sticky residues, or stains.
  • Brush or clean thoroughly not forgetting the the tongue and other hard to reach parts of the leather shoe.
  • Make sure to pay special attention to any crevices and corners as this is where dirt and dust can accumulate quickly.
  • After you have removed the dirt and dust from your leather shoe, then let them air-dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Regularly deep cleaning your leather shoes will extend the lifespan of your leather shoes while reducing the risk of staining and discoloration.

Step 3: Conditioning The Leather Shoe

  • Using a high-quality leather conditioner, apply an even coat of the conditioner to your leather shoes.
  • You can use a microfiber cloth to help you apply the conditioner evenly to all parts of your leather shoe.
  • Make sure that there is no excess residue on the surface as this can interfere with the polishing process.
  • Let your leather shoe sit and absorb all of the conditioner for about five minutes before wiping of any excess that may be left on the surface of the leather shoe.
  • Let it to air-dry for several minutes.

Leather conditioner not only helps to keep your leather shoe looking good, but it also helps to keep the leather shoe nourished, protected, and from cracking, and drying out.

Using a leather conditioner is also a good way to restore the color of your leather shoes as some of the conditioners contain pigments.

You can choose a leather conditioner that has the same hue as your leather shoes or one that is colorless.

Step 4: Polishing Your Leather Shoes

Once you’re done nourishing your leather shoes with the leather conditioner, it’s time to start polishing them.

Select a high-quality polish that is designed specifically for leather shoes with natural ingredients like beeswax or any of the polishes totally made from organic materials.

  • With a clean microfiber cloth, apply a small amount of polish to the cloth.
  • Rub the polish in a circular motion until it is completely absorbed into the leather shoe.
  • Make sure to get the polish into all the hard-to-reach parts of the leather shoe and make sure the penetration is even.

Step 5: Buffing The Leather Shoe

  • Once the polish has penetrated the leather shoe and have had a few minutes to air-dry, use a dry clean microfiber cloth or horse hair brush to buff the leather shoe.
  • This will help to remove any excess residue and give your leather shoes a nice shine.
  • Buff for several seconds in one direction before turning the microfiber cloth or brush over and buffing in the opposite direction.
  • If you are using a horse hair brush, then make sure to gently brush the bristles over the surface of the shoe to create a nice shine and sparkle.

Step 6 (Optional): Use Wax Polish

For an extra layer of shine to your leather shoes, you can use this higher wax polish.

Step 7: Drying The Polished Leather Shoes

  • Now, place your polished leather shoes in a well-ventilated area that is away from direct sunlight and heaters to air-dry.
  • Don’t forget to replace the shoe laces if your took them off. Voila!

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, we now know how important polishing our leather shoes are in order to keep them looking good, smelling fresh, and lasting longer.

Polishing your leather shoes will not only make them look great but will also protect them from staining and other damages.

There are many different ways to polish your leather shoes, but I suggest using a high-quality polish that is made specifically for leather shoes and contains natural ingredients.


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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