How To Get A Mirror Shine On Your Shoes

You know that shoe care is important. You bought shoe trees and polish and are ready to put in some TLC. So how do you get that coveted mirror shine?

It can take as long as five hours of precise wax and water application before a shine appears, which makes it an exercise in patience and dedication. This sounds like a rewarding experience for someone who has free time on their hands. But as a new father, sometimes I don't have time to use the bathroom. Spending hours polishing a single pair of shoes isn't realistic.

Recently, I discovered that Saphir released a high gloss shoe wax that makes achieving a mirror shine easier. The wax is effective because it contains a higher concentration of hard waxes than Saphir's standard Pate de Luxe wax. As a result, a mirror shine can appear within as little as four applications.

I ordered some high gloss wax from the Hanger Project and set out to shine a pair of black captoes. Prior to purchasing the high gloss wax, I spent nearly two hours polishing these shoes. You can see that they look sharp, but are still far from a mirror shine.


Following Kirby’s instructions, I applied some cream polish first and then alternated between applying a small amount of hard wax and water.


Here’s what the shoes looked like after four applications and about 15 minutes of work.

Waving to myself.

Waving to myself.


Pretty impressive! But as I mentioned earlier, these captoes were already polished so the hard wax didn't do a lot of work. I wanted to see how easy it would be to get a mirror shine on a pair of shoes that haven't been shined in a while.

I grabbed my pair of R.M. William black Chelsea boots and went to work. I hadn't polished these boots in a while, so I wanted to see how long it would take to get a good shine on them. I started off with my basic shoe polishing regimen of conditioner, cream polish, and Pate de Luxe wax. Once I finished that, I started to work on the mirror shine.

Here's how the boots looked after four applications. You can see the shine starting to come through on the boot on the left compared to the one on the right, which I haven't started on yet. So far, this took me thirty minutes.


After finishing both boots, I still wasn’t satisfied with the level of shine so I continued apply the hard gloss wax. After a total of 10 applications, here is how the boots looked now.


What a shine! In total, it took me a little over an hour to get this level of shine. Some might think that using high gloss wax defeats the purpose of a ritual where you are suppose to relax and enjoy your shoes. But when you have your hands full with life, kids, and everything else in between, sometimes the easy way is the best way.