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The Best Products for Maintaining and Shining Leather Shoes

Updated Dec 11, 2022
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A pair of leather shoes might last some people only a year—but with proper care, a high-quality pair of leather shoes can last many years. We spent 30 hours researching shoe-care products and methods, and then had a shoeshine professional use the most promising finalists in the shop on his customers’ shoes for two and a half more weeks. Turns out, you can get all the gear to keep your finest shoes clean and shiny for less than $100.

Nordstrom Cedar Shoe Tree, shoe trees

Nordstrom Cedar Shoe Tree

Shoe trees
These trees, which will fit most dress shoes (US men’s shoe sizes 5½–17 or women’s sizes 7–18½), are built to last and budget-friendly.
Kirby Allison Medium Horsehair Shoe Polishing Brush, our shoe brush pick

Kirby Allison Medium Horsehair Shoe Polishing Brush

Our shoe brush pick
This model has denser, more uniform bristles than cheaper options, so it helps you get more done with fewer passes.
We recommend
Kiwi Horsehair Polish Applicator, dauber (for cleaner and polish)

Kiwi Horsehair Polish Applicator

Dauber (for cleaner and polish)
It’s cheap, but you’ll need one for each polish and cleaner, so that’s good. Its medium-stiff bristles work well for getting what you need out of the tin and onto your shoe.
Another good choice
Fiebing’s Saddle Soap, our shoe cleaner pick

Fiebing’s Saddle Soap

Our shoe cleaner pick
Mild yet effective, and very budget friendly, this cleaner is easy to use and formulated not to eat at your shoes’ finish.
We recommend
Saphir Renovateur, our conditioner pick

Saphir Renovateur

Our conditioner pick
Its ease of use and efficiency make it worth the premium. Shoes treated with this conditioner had a better shine, and one jar will last about 100 shines.
We recommend
Saphir Medaille d’Or Pommadier Natural Cream Leather Shoe Polish, our cream polish pick

Saphir Medaille d’Or Pommadier Natural Cream Leather Shoe Polish

Our cream polish pick
The richer and more nourishing of the two cream polishes we tested, although trickier to apply properly, this polish is, however, the only one of the two that is still being produced.
We recommend
Lincoln Stain Wax Shoe Polish, for a mirror shine

Lincoln Stain Wax Shoe Polish

For a mirror shine
This wax polish is the one to get if you want a high-gloss shine. It lasts longer than Kiwi polish and has superior spreadability.
Saphir Pate de Luxe, for a longer-lasting glow

Saphir Pate de Luxe

For a longer-lasting glow
Splurge on this polish if you want a longer-lasting luster. Just don’t expect to see your reflection in it.

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