10 Best Shoe Polish Rated & Reviewed in 2021 (Updated)

Best Shoe Polish

Like it or not, admit or not, but we have all judged people based solely on their appearance at some point or another.  It’s an ugly truth, but it’s one that we’ve all participated in.  One of the chief ways in which this is done is through looking at someone’s shoes.  It’s an easy way to see what kind of person they are, what type of work they do, and what kind of crowd they might hang out with.  If you want to put your best foot forward then, you’ll want to make sure that you are taking care of your shoes.  The best way to do that in a lot of cases is to use shoe polish.  Today, we are going to be taking a look at everything you need to know about shoe polish.  We’ll then take you through a list of the top ten products on the market currently so that you’ll have an idea of where to begin your quest.  So, let’s get it going then!

Top Shoe Polish Comparison Chart

ProductTypePriceWhere to Buy?
1. Kiwi Shoe Shine Black KitWax$$Check Price On Amazon
2. Kiwi Color Shine Liquid Black PolishConditioner$Check Price On Amazon
3. Moneysworth & Best Shoe CreamCream$Check Price On Amazon
4. OrthoStop Boot and Shoe Cream PolishCream$$$Check Price On Amazon
5. Kelly’s Professional Shoe CreamCream$Check Price On Amazon
6. FeetPeople Premium Shoe CreamCream$Check Price On Amazon
7. Hlaximilian Deluxe Business Leather Shoe Care KitWax$$$$Check Price On Amazon
8. WBM Black and Brown Liquid Shoe PolishConditioner$$Check Price On Amazon
9. Meltonian Boot and Shoe Cream PolishCream $$$Check Price On Amazon
10. Stone & Clark 12 Piece Shoe Polish and Care KitWax$$Check Price On Amazon

Shoe Polish Buying Guide

A Quick History

The history of shoe polish is an interesting one.  As much as it may seem like it might have been around forever, that is definitely not the case.  It was only about 100 years ago, around the time of World War I, in which it became prevalent.  Soldiers were required to keep their shoes shined up nicely at all times, and this was the way to do it.  After the end of the war, it became more of a ‘normal’ thing for regular citizens to do.  You would see shoeshine stands where boys and men would shine shoes for customers.  It became a bit of a social status thing to be able to afford such a thing.  As time went on, materials got cheaper and we now have shoe polish available to us to do ourselves so we don’t have to have someone else doing it for us.

Prolonging The Life of Your Favorite Shoes

We’ve all been there at some point or another.  You absolutely fall in love with a piece of clothing, and you just can’t seem to stop wearing it.  Maybe it’s comfort, style, or perhaps a combination of them both that gets you to loving them.  Regardless, it’s something you wish to wear forever, at least until they look bad or just fall apart on you.  In order to get the longest life you can out of your favorite shoes, you need to work on their appearance.  If you’ll be made fun of and cast aside simply due to the way they look, you’ll quickly ship them out for a new pair in no time.  That’s where shoe polish can and will come into the picture.  With shoe polish, you can ensure that you cover up any imperfections and keep on ticking as if they were brand new again.  Even when they are most certainly not!

Why Leather Needs Polishing

Leather is a tricky material to deal with.  It’s a premium material for sure, but it does have its ups and downs to go through.  As time goes on, leather gets dry and tends to get cracks in it.  These cracks, as well as scuff marks and scratches, can really take the shine out of your nice, fancy shoes and make them look like they are yesterday’s news.  Leather is not the material type to be messing with if you don’t want to do any maintenance, so it’s always a good thing to know why you need to polish them!


Sometimes, you will run into a chance to buy a product that isn’t just polish.  Instead, it’s a kit that includes a brush, rag, etc.  If this is something you are looking for as you are just getting started, then it can be a big helper to you.  This generally does cause the price to go up a little, but it’s not going to be all that much, especially when compared to going out and shopping individually for all of the pieces.  Besides, it’s a great deal if you have your shoes looking good and don’t have to pay for new ones.  That’s value there!

Equipping Yourself

One of the key things you will want to do is to make sure you have all the necessary tools with you when you go polish your shoes.  For many people, it’s a simple process.  And it is one, provided you take the time and consideration to have everything you need on hand.  A brush is very much important to have.  We’ll do over clear instructions on what to do in most general cases below, but you need to understand that a brush is a vital part of this mix.  Without one, you will potentially stain your fingers and can also ruin other materials as well.  Creams are the worst about this, but waxes can also cause this to happen, too.  A brush is also helpful to so many because it gets down into the pores of the leather much easier, lessening the time and easing the burden that is placed upon you.

Types of Polishes

There is more than just one way to polish a pair of shoes, and this section is going to be all about the various types of polishes that you can use in order to keep your shoes looking nice and clean, as if they were brand new.  Here’s a look at the three main types you will see utilized.

Shoe Wax

Shoe wax is a great option because it has something that other substances do not have.  It has hydrophobic properties embedded in it, which are going to make the shoes sealed against water damage.  Hydrophobic means that water is pushed away, thus, you will have a lot of protection against water ruining your shoes.  Because one of the weaknesses of leather is dampness, this is a massive helper for you and your shoes.  It’s also fairly easy to use.  You apply it with either a sponge or a rag and then wait about ten minutes before wiping it off.  When used in conjunction with a pigment, it will cover up scuffs and make shoes look like they just came out of the box.

Shoe Conditioner

The main use for a shoe conditioner is going to be to keep the leather flexible so that it will be able to withstand cracking.  By doing this, it will resist the urge to look as if its aged and will look newer as a result.  With this type, you will want to be very generous with its application.  You will want to put on a lot of it, often as well, and you will want to leave it on for at least a good 15 minutes.  This way, as much of it as possible will be soaked up into the leather.  The good part of this is that, unless you use too much and douse the shoes, you will not need to wipe it off, unlike with shoe wax.  It’s fast acting, too, so you should start to see the benefits right away if you have done it properly.

Shoe Cream

Shoe cream goes about the whole process differently than either of the other two do.  Shoe cream doesn’t soak into the leather like a conditioner does, instead sitting on top rather than being absorbed.  This does help breed additional moisture, but it does not soak into the shoes.  This is great for products that have had scuffing or cracking. It takes about ten minutes after application before you should start to wipe them clean.  Because it doesn’t absorb, you can choose to buff or polish with shoe cream.  However, don’t expect to see the shoes have that luster like you get from a shoe wax.  It just won’t have that ‘glow,’ so you won’t see sparkles, so to speak!


This is a little bit confusing, in truth, and it was tough for us to grasp at first glance, so it’s smart to summarize what we have looked at here.  Waxes are going to be best served for actively working to protect the leather.  Creams are best served for getting the color to stay the same as it was intended to be.  Conditioners are sort of in between.  Many people will use a combination of the three, particularly using creams and waxes together, but it’s ultimately going to come down to you and what you decide to do.


As with anything you buy, the materials used are just as vital to it as the brand itself is.  This can help determine how much quality there is to polish and it can also hint at the price that you end up paying.  Here’s a quick look at the materials you might see used.

Natural Oils and Butters

Oftentimes found in conditioners, these natural objects are great at adding flexibility to the shoes and also can give them that nice new shoe smell.  We all remember how the shoe stores used to smell (we know it’s been a while!) and this is the way to get that back.


Pigments are about as versatile as anything in our world.  They are used in all kinds of processes, and this includes shoe polishes, too.  Pigments are great for covering up scuffs and marks and can be found in most waxes and creams.  Typically you will see them in either a yellowish or clear color, which just hearkens back to the base ‘wax’ that is used.

Paying Attention To Colors

If you are wanting to keep those shoes the same color they have always been, then you might end up turning to a polish that is going to work to rejuvenate the shoes to their natural color.  To do this, you have to be attentive and find the right color for you.  There are dozens and dozens of colors out there for shoes, and to match them there are tons of colors for polishes, too.  It sounds academic, but you will want to make double sure that you have the correct color before you buy and then apply it.  Otherwise you might have a tiny bit of difference and might feel a touch out of place.

General Polishing Instructions

  • While each product might require you to do something a little bit different, you should know that there are some general guidelines that can help ensure you have the smoothest time possible with your polish job.  If you want the best polish possible, read up on any instructions that come along with the choice you ultimately make.  Until then, here’s some things to go by:
  • First you need to set aside the materials you will need.  Acquire a rag or towel, most definitely a clean one, and prepare it by dipping your choice of polish into it with an adequate amount.  Also, take the strings out of the shoes so as to not damage or stain them.
  • Then, make sure you take precaution to not stain the floor or area you are in.  To do this, find an old newspaper and lay it across the ground.  A mat can also work as well, though you obviously don’t want to pick one that is near and dear to your heart.
  • After making sure the shoe is as clean as you can get it and is also dry, take the rag and begin to rub the polish into the shoe.  Repeat for the other until you are happy with the work you have done.
  • When you feel like you have them as best as you can get them, take the shoes and allow them to dry for a few minutes.  You can then wear them and they will look like you just yanked them off the top shelf!

REMEMBER: Moderation is the best policy.  If you aren’t sure about how much polish to use, just take it nice and slow.  You can always add more to the equation later on.  Work it in slowly and surely, and then increase it as you need it.  If you go too much too soon and just dollop polish on, then you can ruin the leather.  Leather, as we will continue to drive home, is not great when soaked, so even a helping agent can and will ruin the shoes if too much comes into contact with them.

Other Tips to Keep Shoes Looking Nice

Like it or not, there is a whole lot more to making sure your shoes look nice, clean, and shiny than just polish.  Here are some other things that you can do to ensure that you have shoes that look truly great.

  • Don’t skimp out on your shoes.  A lot of us love to find a good deal.  And we don’t blame you.  But there are higher priced and lower priced shoes out there for a very good reason.  That reason is because the lower priced ones aren’t as good a quality as the ones that cost more.  This is going to mean that they will take less to make look un-shiny and that they will not be as easy to get back to looking pristine.
  • Clean as you go.  This is a very big one for us.  We are of the belief that the best way to go about life is to pick up your messes as you go.  When you do this you not only cut down your actual cleaning time, but you also don’t have nearly as hard to work.  With shoes, you may to see severe problems develop, too, which is a big plus to have and something you definitely want to avoid.
  • Wearing your shoes in a moderate way is also a smart decision if you want them to last a long time. The old adage says that anything done to the extreme is a bad thing, and that also has to include wearing your shoes too much.  There is always a line to cross, and if you choose to wear your shoes over and over again without regard for them, they are just not going to look as nice as if you wore them in moderation.
  • Putting your shoes in a nice, safe spot when you are not wearing them should be a no-brainer, but this is not the case for so many.  Routinely, you will see people throw their shoes just any old place and have no regard for them.  If you leave them outside in rooms that have no climate control, you’re going to see them wither up tremendously.  You also don’t want them just laying any old place, either, since you could bump into them and end up scuffing them up.  It’s wise to either put them in the closet, or maybe get a shoe tree so that you no longer have this worry.
  • It may be a bit of a chore, but tying and untying your shoes after each use will also help a ton.  A lot of people never think about just putting their shoes on and off, but this can cause slight damage over time to the integrity of the shoes.  It doesn’t have a ton to do with the looks of them, but it can and will help them last a bit longer.

Ease of Use and Putting It All Together

Before we get into our list, it’s important to point out that you need to have something that is easy to use.  Unless you are planning to purchase polish for someone, or you intend to have someone do it for you, you are going to be doing it yourself.  This means you need to have something that is easy to understand and complete by yourself.  Some people are better at working with their hands than others, sure, but no one wants something that has too many steps.  So don’t forget to evaluate this fact when you are researching and looking over what kind of polish to choose.  How much, or how little, of a mess is typically made should also be thought about it.  On top of that, you want to consider the price and durability of the goods at hand.  Are they going to last you a while or will you have to turn around and buy more because they don’t work as well?  If you find a bargain, you might just figure this to be the case, negating your bargain and forcing you back into the shopping cart of life, so to speak.

Top Ten Shoe Polishes of 2019 Reviews

  1. Kiwi Shoe Shine Black Kit

Kiwi is well known for their polishes, and with this offering you get not only two tins of polish but also a kit that includes a brush, dauber, and a cloth to help you along the way. The polish itself is a Carnauba wax, which is going to help rejuvenate the look of the leather as well as protect it moving forward. Because of its excellence, this is one of the highest selling brands in the world, and thus you will always have that fact on your side.  The price at which you get this kit is amazing, too, so there will be complaints about that as you seek a solution to your aging leather shoes.  You do need to add a bit of water when you get to the end of the buffing to get it to really sparkle, but it’s worth the extra wait!


  • Excellent deal
  • More than just polish included
  • Rejuvenates and protects
  1. Kiwi Color Shine Liquid Black Polish

Following close behind is yet another of Kiwi’s polish, only this time it comes in the form of a liquid. This spray on cream is going to work wonders at rejuvenating the color of your leather and restoring it to its former glories, all the while requiring no buffing at the end. This saves a lot of time and trouble, really, and is a major plus for people that are on the go and don’t want to fool around with extra tedium.  Coming with a super durable sponge that has been engineered to last a long time, there will be no mess when applied unlike so many others, including their own counterpart above!  It’s also going to ensure you don’t have all of those scuffs you once had, which should make you quite happy with your purchase, especially at such a low price.


  • Quick and easy
  • No additional buffing needed
  • Won’t make big messes
  1. Moneysworth & Best Shoe Cream

Here is a cream that certainly does what the brand name says: gives you your money’s worth! This cream is made with a ton of colors, all of which will help you match up to your shoes and get them back to the look they once had. It does so by balancing the mixture with just the right blend of waxes and pigments to give you the shine you want as well as rejuvenation and protection.  The price you pay isn’t high at all and will easily be justified by the quality of it, which is extremely high on the charts.  It’s going to be hard to find a cream that is better than this one, that’s for sure!  For many people, it has saved them from throwing out their shoes, so to say it’s provided maximum value would be an understatement.


  • Awesome value
  • Saves shoes from the trash or donation bin
  • Lots and lots of colors
  1. OrthoStop Boot and Shoe Cream Polish

Here is another brand that has come out with a great cream polish that’s been engineered to include waxes to help combat the fading of color of your favorite pair of shoes. Not only does this polish clean the shoes and make them restored but it also helps to shine them back up, which is not something that all polishes are able to do. This is a longer lasting polish, so with that you can expect to pay a higher price.  With that said, the higher price isn’t all that high when compared to the price of a good pair of shoes, so it would be hard to see anyone balk at it that wants a polish that is going to last them quite a while.  You will have to buff your shoes when you are done, but you will downright giddy with the results such is the transformation that they will lead your shoes to take.


  • Massive change in appearance
  • Long lasting formula
  • Shines and restores


  • Fairly high price
  1. Kelly’s Professional Shoe Cream

If you are looking for a massive selection of colors for your cream polish, then this is the way to go. This professional grade won’t even come at a pro price, meaning you get a great deal for wonderful quality. Using all natural waxes, these creams helps restore the finish of your boots and shoes and helps give them a new shine while replenishing the color of old back to them.  Because of the colors that they offer that aren’t the most traditional, they have became a fan of those that have varying fashion tastes.  It’s easy to get on and you just brush it off.  For more pesky pairs, you might have to apply a few times to get it to work, but it will eventually set in and begin to do its job.


  • Tons of colors
  • Fits all sorts of irregular colors
  • Pro quality at a low price


  • Can take multiple applications
  1. FeetPeople Premium Shoe Cream

If you have very smooth leather and want to turn to something to help restore it to its former glory, then this shoe cream is the one for you to go with. With a plethora of colors, much like the Kelly’s above, you have plenty of choices that should match your shoes. With a rich and creamy texture, these are going to condition and help to shine as well rather than just put the color back into its original state.  Blended from very fine waxes, this cream works wonders in all sorts of products, including purses as well, adding versatility to the list of positives.  It comes in at a very low, awesome price that you won’t think twice about.  The one strike against these is that they don’t have a great return policy, meaning you will need to be careful about the color you pick.


  • Good, low price
  • Very versatile
  • Plenty of colors


  • Not the best customer service
  1. Hlaximilian Deluxe Business Leather Shoe Care Kit

Though the price might seem off-putting at first, it’s mainly down to the fact that this is a kit rather than just a polish. Coming with a good neutral polish and wooden brushes, you are taken care of and pampered here all in one box. On top of that, you get the added confidence of being able to call upon a lifetime warranty in which they will offer all of your money back if you don’t like anything.  The brushes and the applicator included are very heavy duty and will not be able to be bent easily like so many of the store bought kits, making this ideal for very serious users and shoe shiners alike!  If you are someone that just needs an occasional polish this is not for you, but if you love it and do it often this is the way to go.


  • Great brushes
  • Awesome customer service
  • Good shine and application


  • Does cost quite a bit more
  1. WBM Black and Brown Liquid Shoe Polish

If you want a nice conditioner, then here is another choice that will help guard against your shoes getting ruined by poor weather. This liquid polish is adept at covering up scuffs, too, as it use beeswax and leather nourishing compounds to help accomplish a two-pronged approach. It’ll leave the shoes nice and shiny and beautiful as they were when you first found them.  All you need is a sponge with them, so there is no need to brush or cloth them down continually.  They offer a bit of a hedge in that they do have a guarantee for month, so if you aren’t happy within that time you can return it and get your money back.


  • Decent warranty
  • Guards against water damage
  • Not much of a mess and easy to use
  1. Meltonian Boot and Shoe Cream Polish

With more than 30 colors available, it’s easy to see why so many people have turned toward Meltonian in the past for their polish needs. Thanks to using a combination essential oils and waxes, this cream is going to help prevent your leather from getting super dried out and then cracking. They will also get a great shine to them to help them stand out as they once did, all the while helping to make sure your favorite footwear is able to last longer than you might have thought was possible.  It really does a good job of getting in there deep where the problems arise, so this is going to be a nice solution for you if you have a lot of stains and marks to be taking care of.


  • Great for stains and marks
  • Sinks deep to oust imperfections
  • Tons of colors to pick from


  • Slightly expensive
  1. Stone & Clark 12 Piece Shoe Polish and Care Kit

Rounding out our list here is a kit that is going to give you just about everything you could ever ask for in regards to taking care of leather shoes. With polish, shining cloth, and a shoe horn, just as a few of the examples of what’s in there, you have all of the bases covered. While the individual parts and pieces may not all be the most sound pieces of equipment you have ever seen, it’s hard to go against this since you just get so much inside of it.  It’s great for moving on the go, too, since it’s got a case to carry it all in, making it possible to open up your own old school shoeshine business and be like Andy Dwyer!  It’s not a bad price for all of it, either, so that won’t be upsetting you too badly!


  • Good value set
  • Easy to carry
  • Has everything you need


  • Quality is lacking in areas

Conclusion Final Shoe Polish Recommendations

Buying anything online can be easy and difficult, all at the exact same time.  With so many choices available at the touch of a finger, it’s easy to think it’s an easy process to find shoe polish.  But this isn’t the case.  In fact, it can confuse and lead some astray simply due to the sheer size of choices.  But after our guide and reviews today, you’ll be so much better placed to make the right call for you.  With all of the information in one place, you will be able to take what you have learned and apply it in quick order.    Making sure your shoes look as close as possible to brand new at all times doesn’t have to be super complicated as long as you hang in there and put just a bit of time into it!  Happy hunting!

FAQ’s About Shoe Polish

Won’t Regular Washing Be Fine?

Maybe if you don’t wear your shoes very often this will be the case, but it’s hard to say it’s foolproof.  It’s not, even in the slightest really.  Regularly cleaning your shoes is a very good idea to keep them in tip-top shape, but that’s not going to cover up scuffs or marks left behind.  So just keep that in mind, but don’t let it keep you from regular maintenance of your shoes, either.

Can I Throw My Shoes In the Washer?

This used to be a regular thing that people would do, and some people still do this as normal practice.  However, it’s a pretty bad idea.  It can really damage shoes, and especially leather ones.  Leather doesn’t do so hot against water.  When you soak them, they wither up.  Even if they have been laced with some hydrophobic properties, they will not be able to withstand that much water.  Plus, even if it worked, it wouldn’t take away the cracks and scuffs that might have been present.  So at best it’s going to be a mask, at worst a damaging piece of weaponry.

How Often Should I Polish My Shoes?

The answer to this question is all up to you.  It’s an as-needed, as doctors would say.  There are a lot of factors that will influence this decision.  How often you are wearing your shoes is going to have a very big say on this.  If you wear them a ton, you’ll likely need it more often.  If you notice that there are scuffs and marks, then you’ll obviously also want to polish them as soon as you can.  Otherwise, it’s a good general recommendation to polish about once a week just to keep them maintained nicely.

Do People Really Look at Your Shoes?

It all depends on the person, but in our experience, it’s a huge yes.  While shoes can certainly lie about the kind of person someone is, it does give you valuable clues.  If you are applying for a job or are doing something more professional in nature, then you are going to want to have shoes that give off a professional aura.  You don’t want something that distracts and leaves someone wondering.  Even if this is just the first impression that you want to give, you don’t want it to be a sloppy, lazy one.  It’s hard to change a person’s mind, but generally, once you have them hooked you can let up a bit!  Plus, some people just like to look at shoes and see what folks are wearing!  So there’s that, too

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