Originally Posted by JermynStreet
I'm hoping to get a little help on perfecting a mirror shine. Pictured are my AE Waldens. I love these shoes and they are my go-tos for any casual event. I have been trying to get a real mirror shine on these shoes for a while, but one of the finishes on the right shoe keeps getting messed up. Whenever I am putting a coat of wax on it (AE Burgundy Caranuba), and then polishing after the wax has dried, the surface becomes very matte. Wierdly, the matte surface does not become more shiny with each coat of wax on it. Am I doing something wrong? I feel like I have stripped the wax and polish down a lot, so I'm fairly certain it's not a buildup of wax. As you can see from the pictures, the overcoat of burgundy has been polished away and just the red/chili undercoat is there. Anyway, does anyone know why these matte finishes occur? What can I do to get a mirror polish on the right shoe??
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From what I can tell from the pictures I would say that the actual finish on the shoes is different from each other. I don’t know if that happened over time, or they came that way. If the finish is different no amount of polish will make them look the same.
My question would be: why do you want to put a mirror shine on a pair of casual shoes like penny loafers? If you are trying to produce a look of intentional dichotomy, then get a pair of patent leather loafers so the intention is clear.
Otherwise, I would suggest a good brush glow, rather than a mirror shine. You could try black cream shoe polish to darken the shoe slightly (it won’t turn them black) and hide the differences to some degree. But, first I would remove the carnauba wax since it tends to be a tackier wax than beeswax and a little harder to manage when polishing.
I would clean the shoes as best you can with Lexol leather cleaner (or anything similar) and remove as much wax as you can. You should be able to slide your finger across the shoe surface without any drag from the remaining wax. Then I would apply a thin coat of cream polish in burgundy color (not the carnauba); AE makes a very nice cream polish in that color, as does Meltonian and others.
Once you have a base coat, I would add a coat of black in cream polish, brushing for about 3 minutes per shoe between each coat. If you like you can add another coat of burgundy and another coat of black. But I wouldn’t add more than that. I would not apply a paste polish to loafers (just to keep the wax levels to a minimum), as I think cream polish is better for a more casual/flexible shoe.
You can get a very good shine with cream polish, just not a mirror shine. Of course, if you want a mirror shine on your loafers, that’s your preference, it’s just not mine.