Boot Shine Guide

How to Shine Boots by C/ WO Curtis


The expression “Mirror Shine” is used to describe a boot with an extremely smooth, glossy shine. This can be achieved by understanding the “why” and the “how”.

The why it shines is because a smooth surface reflects light more evenly than a rough surface. If you look closely at the leather surface of new boots you will see many low spots which break up the light being reflected, thus giving a dull looking surface.

The how to create the shine is by filling in all the low spots to create a smoother surface. The smoother the surface, the better the shine will be.


1. Brush off any dirt or dust on the boot, from heel to toe .

2. Wrap the Kiwi cloth around your index finger, making sure there are no wrinkles . Apply a medium layer of polish to the boot using the cloth and your finger. Rub it in until a faint shine starts to show. Apply the polish to the sole edges as well. Boots look much neater if they are cleaned and shined from ground to top.

3. Once the faint shine comes through and the polish has been worked into the boot, take your index finger and the cloth and dip it lightly into the water, and start rubbing it into the boot over the polish in small circles about an inch wide . Keep doing this until a greater shine comes through and the swirls start to disappear.

4. Leave it to dry for a few minutes, and then once dry, take your index finger again and apply a thin layer of polish to the boot, start rubbing it in until an even better shine comes through, then apply the water to it using the method in Step 3 . Leave to dry again.

5. Take the damp index finger and apply a tiny dot of polish to the boot and work in till it shines . Make sure that the cloth is very damp but not dripping.

6. Repeat Step 5 until you get the desired level of shine . (8 to 9 layers)

7. Take the soft cloth and buff until desired shine is obtained .

8. Repeat until happy with results

Note: Once the shine has been achieved it is much easier to maintain it. Always clean the boot first, and then focus on any scuff marks or dings. After these areas are brought up to the quality of the rest of the boot, apply a full polish effort to the entire boot.


1. Make sure that the polish you use is a Kiwi brand, as other brands will probably tarnish your boots and contain chemicals that will make them crack

2. To get a gleaming shine, use Kiwi boot polish - it contains silicone, which makes the shoe/boot much shinier - but will make the boots crack IF they are used for the base layer. Be wary when using Kiwi Parade Gloss on the first few layers as there is silicone in the wax and it is better if used on the final 1 or 2 coats only.

3. Another point to think about is to melt the polish onto the boot/shoe - sit the polish tin in hot water to soften to a thin paste and rub in.

4. Old panty hose are the best to use for buffing.

5. The back of a teaspoon can be used to press normal polish into cracks in the boot before adding a coat of parade gloss to give the shine.


Do not use alcohol as it can strip the already existing polish off the shoes!

Saliva contains enzymes for digesting food and can eat away at the leather. Water in place of spit is recommended.

Things You'll Need

1. Tin of Wax-based Polish (Kiwi Shoe polish)

2. Tin of Kiwi Parade Gloss Shoe Polish

3. Yellow Kiwi Polish Cloth

4. Soft Bristled Shoe Brush

5. Tooth Brush

6. Cup of Water

7. Old Panty Hose for final buffing