Choosing the Best Shoe Polish: Top 8 Choices for 2022

8 Shoe Polish Featured

We reviewed over 28 shoe shine products, choosing Saphir Medaille d’or Renovateur Cream as the overall best shoe polish.

I started by talking to my go-to shoe shine guy. I asked him for his favorite products, did some research on my own and started testing.

If you want the absolute best, go with the Saphir Medaille d’or Renovateur Cream. It’s the go-to leather shoe polish for experts and shoe workshops.

It renovates, it nourishes, it polishes well. It’s made with the highest quality ingredients. Don’t let the small container fool you; a little bit of this cream goes a long way.

If you have more specific needs, you’re sure to find a fit in our list. If you want shiny, high-shine boot polish, get Lincoln Stain Wax. It’s cheap, it’s glossy and it’s available in all popular boot colors.

If you want a kit, get the Maximilian Premium Kit. With horse hair brushes, two cans of polish and fine microfibre cloth, it’s an incredible product.

Now, keep reading to learn more about the best leather shoe polish products on the market today!

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Table of Contents

Best Shoe Polish Overall

editors pick

100/100

Our Score

editors pick

Saphir Medaille d'Or Men's Leather Renovateur

Saphir Medaille d'Or Men's Leather Renovateur

Why this product?

Featuring natural ingredients like  beeswax and mink oil, this polish gently cleans, conditions  and rejuvenates leather shoes.

100/100

Our Score

We selected Saphir Renovateur Cream as the best overall choice for a shoe polish. It’s effective, easy to use, and made with the highest quality ingredients. If you’re wondering how to store shoes properly, you’ll want to read up on this product first.

This is hands down the best product on the market and a “must have” for leather shoe enthusiasts. It’s what shoe repair experts use to treat their clients’ shoes. The Saphir Medaille d’or Renovateur Cream gently cleans, conditions, and rejuvenates fine leather shoes with natural ingredients, like beeswax and mink oil.

It restores color to dull and discolored shoes. Unlike other polish products, it doesn’t erode the product’s original color. It works particularly well around the shoe creases. Not only does it revive the look of your shoes, but it nourishes the leather and helps extend the life of your shoes. It’s a versatile, glossy wax polish. This allows you to get a neutral or strong mirror shine effect.

A jar of this cream is expensive, but the product lasts for a long time. Don’t let the small container fool you, a little bit of this wax polish goes a long way. You only need to use a tiny amount for maximum results.

After you apply some cream sparingly on a white cotton cloth, gently rub onto your shoes and wait a few minutes for the cream to dry. Polish your shoe with a clean cloth and your shoes will look practically new.

Pros

  • Rejuvenates
  • Restores color
  • Nourishes

Cons

  • High price point

Best Shoe Polish Kit

editors pick

100/100

Our Score

editors pick

Maximilian Premium Shoe Polish Kit

Maximilian Premium Shoe Polish Kit

Why this product?

This kit includes three horsehair brushes, neutral and black polishes, a buffing cloth, a shoe horn and shine sponges.

100/100

Our Score

This professional level shoe shine kit offers tremendous value. The Maximilian Premium Shoe Polish Kit comes with three horsehair brushes, neutral and black polishes, a buffing cloth, a shoe horn and shine sponges. It has everything you need to preserve and protect your leather shoes and boots.

This is a roomy shoe shine kit. It includes three horsehair brushes to fit all your polishing needs. The brushes are made of wood and horsehair, which means they’re gentle on your shoes, boots, handbags, and any other fine leather items. The larger horsehair brush works well for overall polishing and buffing, while the two smaller brushes allow detail-level maintenance.

This shoeshine kit also includes a high-quality microfiber polishing cloth and concentrated water-resistant polish. With this kit, you’ll be able to polish out buffs, condition scratches, and get a glossy finish. You only need a small amount of polish to transform your leather dress shoes and boots from dull to looking new again. This shoe care kit works well for home or travel. It’s the perfect gift for anyone who wants to put their best foot forward!

Pros

  • Allows for detailed maintenance
  • Polishes out buffs
  • Conditions scratches

Cons

Best Black Shoe Polish

98/100

Our Score

Kiwi Black Shoe Polish

Kiwi Black Shoe Polish

Why this product?

This polish nourishes your leather goods while also providing long-lasting water resistance.

98/100

Our Score

Kiwi’s Black Shoe Polish is the world’s best-selling classic shoe polish. Their black polish delivers a brilliant shine to your leather boot or dress shoe. This is one of our favorite polishing brands–they’re dependable, inexpensive, and versatile.

If you have black leather shoes or boots, you can’t go wrong with this trusted shoe polish. It preserves and protects virtually every shade of black leather shoes or boots.

The Kiwi shoe polish balanced formula camouflages stains, scratches, and cracks. The scuff coverage is outstanding. The polish provides a moderate shine so you can use it for standard polish or a light mirror shine. Since the polish is concentrated, a little goes a long way.

This shoe care product nourishes your leather boots and shoes. It also provides long-lasting water resistance. We love the consistency of the polish–it’s not too waxy or creamy.

This is a great polish for black shoes or smooth leather boots. But, keep in mind it shouldn’t be used on patent leather, suede, or nubuck.

With Kiwi’s great price, quality, and longevity, you’ll get your money’s worth! Remember, your fanciest dress shoes deserve some loving.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Concentrated
  • Nourishes
  • Provides water resistance

Cons

  • Not suitable for use on patent leather, suede or nubuck

Best Shoe Cream Polish

97/100

Our Score

Red Moose Boot and Shoe Cream Polish

Red Moose Boot and Shoe Cream Polish

Why this product?

The unique formula of this polish consists of natural oils, waxes, and pigments. It restores, preserves, and protects the color of your fine leather boots and shoes.

97/100

Our Score

The Red Moose Boot and Shoe Cream Polish rejuvenates dull and scratched boots, shoes, purses, and accessories. A little of this cream will transform your well-worn leather product into looking almost new. It’s safe to use, even on expensive footwear.

We liked the consistency of this cream polish–it’s nice and thick. This makes it easy to apply without making a mess. The unique formula consists of natural oils, waxes, and pigments. It restores, preserves, and protects the color of your fine leather boots and shoes. We also found the cream to be water resistant.

A little goes a long with this shoe polish. It only takes a small amount of the cream polish to bring your leather shoes and boots back to life. It’s excellent at restoring color. It does a great job at hiding scuffs and restoring the black pigment in shoes and boots. We love the convenience offered from the wide array of colorways.

Even though there are many color choices, we’d like more brown options than cognac, light bone, and dark brown.
This product is made in the USA.

Pros

  • Restores
  • Protects
  • Variety of colorways

Cons

  • Limited shades of brown

Best Boot Polish

100/100

Our Score

Saphir Medaille d’Or Pommadier

Saphir Medaille d’Or Pommadier

Why this product?

This polish protects your boots from harsh weather conditions like rain and snow.

100/100

Our Score

The Saphir brand is touted by shoe enthusiasts. We love Saphir Medaille d’Or Pommadier Natural Cream Leather Shoe Polish for boots for two reasons.

First, it conditions and protects your boots thanks to ingredients like carnauba wax, beeswax, and shea butter. Since boots tend to get beat up more than shoes, they need extra water resistance. It protects your boots from snow and rain in harsh weather. Also, the high wax formula provides additional moisturization for your well worn boots.

Second, we like the versatility of this shoe care product. The cream’s formula has a high concentration of pigments. It comes in a variety of colors and shades such as brown, black, and neutral to get the perfect sheen for your leather boots. Based on your application technique, you can get a matte finish or a clean mirror shine.

A jar of this cream is expensive, but the product lasts for a long time. Don’t let the small container fool you, a little bit of this wax polish goes a long way. You only need to use a tiny amount for maximum results.

This natural cream is safe to use on your fine leather boots and shoes. It doesn’t contain harmful resins or silicones, yet yields amazing results.

Pros

  • Protects
  • Moisturizes
  • Versatile
  • Variety of colorways

Cons

  • High price point

Best Mirror Shine Shoe Polish

97/100

Our Score

KIWI Black Parade Gloss Shoe Polish and Shine

KIWI Black Parade Gloss Shoe Polish and Shine

Why this product?

KIWI uses all natural ingredients to protect and preserve your leather shoes and boots.

97/100

Our Score

If you want your leather shoes to look like they got an old fashioned spit shine, the KIWI Black Parade Gloss Shoe Polishand Shine is the product for you.

KIWI uses 100% natural ingredients to protect and preserve your leather shoes and boots. Thanks to the unique formula of carnauba wax and beeswax, this shoe polish provides excellent water resistance and protection. It’s strong and designed for work shoes and boots that take a beating every day.

This polish glides on your shoes like butter on toast. It comes in a few different colors. We highly recommend the neutral mirror shine–it’s excellent and outperforms all competitors. Other neutral mirror shine products often discolor your shoes and clothes. This one doesn’t.

Be careful and apply the polish sparingly. It’s best to use light layers and gradually add the polish as you work it into your shoes. It’s especially important to be gentle around the areas of your shoe that crease the most.

This is a hard wax that looks impeccable when applied properly. This is an incredible product that will get your shoes and boots to shine like no other!

Pros

  • Provides water resistance
  • Variety of colorways

Cons

Best Neutral Polish

96/100

Our Score

Cadillac Select Premium Cream Shoe Polish

Cadillac Select Premium Cream Shoe Polish

Why this product?

This versatile cream can be used on purses, seats, chairs and many other leather goods.

96/100

Our Score

Cadillac Select Premium Cream Shoe Polish brings back to life scratched boots, shoes, purses, and accessories. It’s safe to use on premium leather. This cream will transform your well-worn leather products into looking almost new. It’s excellent for buffing out scuffed leather.

We liked the ease of this cream polish – it spreads on smoothly. The formula penetrates the leather and colors evenly. It restores, preserves, and protects the color of your fine leather boots and shoes. We also found the versatile cream can be used on purses, seats, chairs, and many other leather goods.

A little goes a long with this shoe polish. It only takes a small amount of the cream polish to bring your leather shoes and boots back to life. It’s excellent at restoring color and making your shoes look new again. If you know how to mirror polish, you can get your shoes and boots super shiney.

Don’t let the low price point fool you, this is a high quality cream that will transform your leather shoes!

This product is made in the USA.

Pros

  • Safe on premium leather
  • Restores
  • Affordable

Cons

Best Mirror Shine Boot Polish

98/100

Our Score

Lincoln Stain Wax Shoe Polish

Lincoln Stain Wax Shoe Polish

Why this product?

This polish was standard-issue for the US military for decades as it delivers a desirable high-shine finish.

98/100

Our Score

If you want your leather boots to look as shiny as the military’s, the Lincoln Stain Wax Shoe Polish is the product for you. This shoe polish was standard-issue for the US military for decades.

This high-wax polish gets your boots a sparkling spit shine like no other. This shoe polish protects and preserves your leather shoes and boots. Thanks to the unique formula, this shoe polish provides excellent water resistance and protection. It’s strong and designed for work boots that take a beating every day.

This polish is easy to apply and comes in a variety of colors. Other shoe polishes have a strong smell, but this one was more mild.

A little goes a long way with this shoe polish. Be careful and apply the polish sparingly. It’s best to use light layers and gradually add the polish as you work it into your boots.

This is a hard wax that looks impeccable when applied properly. This is an incredible product that will get your boots to shine like no other!

Pros

  • Provides water resistance
  • Variety of colorways

Cons

Buyer's Guide: What makes a good shoe polish?

Quality cleaning and restoration products are the key to keeping your leather goods in tip-top condition.

We pulled together our team of experts to provide guidance on how to buy shoe polish that will properly maintain your leather goods.

Leather Restoration

You want to find a shoe polish that repairs leather in two ways.

First, it should condition the leather so it stays supple, soft, and crack-free. Look for ingredients that hydrate and nourish the leather, like mink or coconut oil.

Second, a shoe polish needs to restore the leather’s color. Dirt, salt, and oil can dull or stain your shoe’s leather. A high quality shoe polish should transform cracked, discolored leather into an almost new looking shoe.

Shoe wax by itself doesn’t nourish leather, but it can be mixed with conditioners, like mink oil. The oil additives provide light conditioning that restores the leather and helps your footwear last longer.

Color

A shoe polish color will almost never exactly match your leather shoes, especially if you have multicolored shoes.. The safest bet is to pick a neutral or transparent shoe wax or cream. This eliminates the need to pick an exact match. Neutral works for all shoe colors and is the most versatile choice.

However, colored cream and wax work best to hide scratches and deep cuts in your shoes. Colored creams work especially well for white, black, brown, and blue colored shoes. Look for a shade as close as possible to your shoe’s leather.

If you can’t decide between two shades of a shoe polish, go for the shade that appears slightly darker than your shoe color. If a polish isn’t available in your color or a multicolor option, don’t get it.

Longevity

How long will a shoe polish look good and keep your shoe conditioned/waterproof?

From our experience, when you use a low-quality polish, your shoes lose their moisture and shine quickly. As a result, the cream or wax needs to be reapplied every few weeks. You end up buying more polish than you would with a higher-quality product. A top-quality polish can last a full season without being reapplied.

Of course, the maintenance required depends on how often you wear the shoes and the weather conditions. You’ll need to apply any shoe cream or wax more often during rainy or snowy weather. It’s important to find a long-lasting polish to protect the shoe from water, snow, salt, etc.

Regardless of the season, you should buy the highest quality shoe polish your budget allows.

Value-for-money

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to shoe polish. If the shoe wax or cream is diluted and weak, it won’t last long.

Sometimes you buy a huge can of polish, but it’s so watery that it only lasts a couple of weeks. In other cases, like with our top recommendation – Saphir Renovator – a small bottle can last for ages.

It all depends on the quality of the product. You should buy the best quality shoe polish within your budget.

Water Resistance

During Winter and Spring, you’ll need a leather shoe treatment that provides extra waterproof protection. This prevents the shoe polish from coming off in the rain or snow. It also protects your feet and gives the shoe some water resistance of its own.

If a shoe is treated with a water-resistant cream or wax, rain and snow will slide off the leather with ease. This prevents the excess moisture and mud from ruining the leather.

Alternatively, we suggest going with quality waterproof shoes in the first place.

What are the main shoe polish categories?

Shoe Wax

Shoe wax is typically made of carnauba wax, beeswax, montan wax, or derivatives of the three. It’s excellent at restoring leather. It revives color, covering scuffs, and sealing and protecting leather. Without regular care, wax builds up and dries leather. Choose a wax that’s close in color to your shoe – or go for a transparent one.

Shoe Cream

Shoe cream adds a moisturizing and nourishing layer to the leather. This polishes and adds color and shine to your shoes. It’s not as good as wax at restoring color, waterproofing or covering scuffs. It can also cause a build-up over time to your shoes.
In the past, shoeshine experts valued wax for its waterproofing ability. But today, shoe cream can waterproof shoes too.

Shoe Conditioner

Shoe conditioner is similar to shoe cream. It moisturizes and nourishes the leather. But, instead of adding a layer to the shoe, it’s absorbed into the leather and softens it.

Can shoe polish make my shoes waterproof?

No. Even if the leather is 100% waterproof, water will still enter the shoe through stitches, seams and perforated areas. No amount of shoe polish can make shoes waterproof. It can only make them water-resistant.

Conclusion

If you invest in fine leather shoes and boots, you want to follow a proper shoe care routine. This includes cleaning, conditioning, and polishing them on a regular basis. With regular maintenance, you can keep your boots and shoes looking like new.

If you’re unsure which category fits your needs, you can’t go wrong with Saphir Medaille d’or Renovateur Cream. It earned our Best Overall shoe polish for its effectiveness, ease of use, and versatility. This wax polish is easy to use and lasts a long time.

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Writer:

Adrienne Parkhurst

Proofreader:

George P.H.

Last Updated:

May 4, 2022

Adrienne Parkhurst

After a successful, 20+ year corporate career, Adrienne pivoted. She’s now a full-time working writer and caretaker for her two sons; one with special needs.

Adrienne is an avid dancer, volleyball player and yoga practitioner. Given her hobbies and career, she’s experienced with sports shoes; dancing shoes; leather shoes.

George P.H.

George is the founder of Shoethority. He started testing and studying shoes after a series of sports injuries. He now shares his knowledge with Shoethority readers as a writer, tester and editor.