Polishes, Creams, and Dyes...OH MY! 

Shoe care is anything but simple - and depending on the condition of your shoes, you need to make sure you have the right items to keep them looking their best. While this article is geared toward dress shoes: oxfords, loafers, heels, and flats, you can use these concepts for any shoe that has a smooth, leatherlike surface. 


Saddle Soap: The first step in shoe care is making sure they're clean and moisturized. A bit of saddle soap can add luster and moisture to your leather without adding any dyes, and it can also help even out dye imperfections that can happen with normal wear and tear.


Creams: Creams provide both moisture and color, and can be used to touch up surface scrapes and minor scuffs, without adding a lot of shine. They simply wipe on and then buff off, and are great to apply when your shoe's finish could use a boost.


Polish: Great when you need a deeper shine than can be provided by a cream, or if you have actual damage to the surface of the leather. Polishes will fill in minor scuffs and make scratches less visible, and does so by applying a film on top of the leather and fill in pores. 


There are a number of ways to apply polish. I've used cotton rags to apply the polish, a heat source (like a lighter) to melt the polish in, and then a brush to apply the polish. 


Dyes: Dyes are useful when there is significant damage to the surface of your leather. You can lightly sandpaper the damage to make sure it blends back into the shoe surface and reapply the leather color, let it dry, and then use a cream or polish to build back the color to match the rest of the shoe. You can also strip the shoe and redye it another color, but be mindful, you can only go to a darker color, rarely will a lighter one take enough to provide a consistent look. 


Want to use what I use? I have a complete list of shoe products for you here on Amazon



Before and after photo of using a white shoe dye on a minor scuff