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Best shoe polish? - Page 8

post #106 of 110
Originally Posted by glenjay View Post

Pretty much all shoe polish uses solvent to keep the wax soft enough to spread. Once the polish is applied to the shoe the solvent evaporates.

Solvents in shoe polish range from Naphtha (petroleum based) to Turpentine (pine based). I have a decent size shoe collection, so I am polishing shoes quite frequently, my wife hated the smell of the solvents in any of the polish I would use so I created my own polish using orange oil as the solvent. Orange oil is similar to Turpentine as a solvent, but has a pleasant citrus smell.

A number of Styleforum members use the polish, and even a bespoke shoemaker, that is a member of this forum, thinks it is great shoe polish. It is certainly a viable option if the scent of solvents bother you.

Thank you for your response Glen.


I do understand the theory applied to solvents and wax. However, my experience with Kiwi is that the God-awful smell wouldn't go away. Worse yet, the wax is too inferior to be a decent shoe polish.


I appreciate your idea of utilizing the citrus acid oil as solvent. I might as well give your polish a try some day. It is potential. However, I'd recommend you expand the paste wax line. There are types of shoes that I'd like to have a hand-rubbed finish (i.e. brush shine) rather than a high gloss.


Saphir and your polish is considerably the best, and why? It is not the price tag nor where it was made, but the material used. Even when turpentine is somewhat annoying for certain individuals, it is still natural, and it evaporates fairly quickly. Once fully evaporated, it leaves a pleasant scent. Natural solvents not only smells pleasant but are also less harmful compare to petroleum based solvents.


Bespoke shoe makers used Kiwi for one reason, and one single reason only - it's cheap and easy to find in large bulk amount. Other than that, compare to other "generic" brands, Kiwi is definitely the loser. As a shoe maker, you don't waste your money too much on shoe polish. You make the shoes, you don't polish the shoes. The finish lies primarily on the leather dye and aniline color, and therefore only a small number of shoe makers would either use traditional recipe shoe polish or higher quality shoe polishes. 


The other thing I hate about Kiwi is, not only the solvent is screwed, the wax is also something else. It is definitely not carnauba nor beeswax. It melts under sunlight, unlike Saphir, consider Saphir is buttery and softer in consistency. It sticks and gum up and ruin good brushes.

post #107 of 110
Only using Kiwi has cracked two C&J Handgrades. They did last 5 years though. How do I know that ? Well I've been using Saphir now and the creams have helped nourish the leathers. The cracks at the sides have never developed. Once a small crack starts the dust and grime set in and it's going to be like sandpaper and the crack can never be repaired. Not all leathers may be the sane though but there is a lot to be said for nourishment versus polish.
post #108 of 110
So after a while messing around with Saphir, I got bored. I went look for something else. What came to my mind first was Glen's all natural shoe polish. I went for the conditioner first, then the cream.

The conditioner is perhaps the most well made since the creation of the Rénovateur. It can be quite greasy before it totally dries off, but once dry, the leather takes a pleasant shine. I had a pair of Walnut Harrison from Allen Edmonds which I antiques, and not only did the product makes the leather healthier, the finish produced after a long period buffing and rubbing also creates a fairly nice burnish patina. Absolutely love the conditioner. Seems to repel water quite excellent as well.

The cream is a big hit. I bought the cream in Navy shade to see how it'll perform on my black AE wholecut Hanover. The cream is not of the soft texture I was expecting. It seems to be quite rigid, although the few swirls and it comes right to the cloth alright. Probably shipping process made it a little tough to scoop, but when it comes to functionality, I doubt if the cream is any ordinary. The carnauba wax gives me a shine almost as good as wax polish, and the high wax content really waterproof the leather without a doubt. The coconut oil in the polish can really shy away the shea butter in Saphir's cream. The color is excellent. It gives a really nice patina to the black calf. And since the solvent is low and the wax content is so high, you can rest assure that the polish is usable on shell cordovan leather. However, Glen, I will have to advice you to expand the color collection a little bit with the cream. The paste wax line annoys me because it's neutral only without any other pigments, or else you can always out run Saphir MDO any minute.

I also bought the well named and famed Venetian shoe cream in 32 oz. can. It works great, I can tell, because it really softens and shine the leather up. It is also excellent for leather crafts, where a warm finish and decent moisturizing property is desired. The odor, again, is fine for me, but for sensitive nose it can be offensive. So much for an American made product. We all just have to have a quart of the cream at home.

Glen, on a side note, pardon me if I should offend you, even if I have no intention to, but I think the package art can use a redesign. It looks too computerized, it doesn't look natural or formal enough. Even when a book cannot be judge by its cover, I still think orientation is a must.

Few cents to put on the table. Hope you guys are all cool with me.
post #109 of 110
@glenjay Have you thought of developing a coconut oil based grease similar to the Saphir's grease? I thought that oughtta be an interesting idea. What's your opinion or expertise on the solid coconut grease? Is it great for a shoe care product?
post #110 of 110

Try Ebony I find it is the best shoe polish for maintaining shoe quality and have a fast and incredible application. 

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