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Shoe ceam or wax polish?


Senior Member
Jan 4, 2009
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In my view, the advantage of wax polish over shoe cream is as follows:

Wax polish gives a better overall finish than shoe cream. If you're not careful, it's far too easy to apply too much shoe cream. This can leave an unhealthy 'waxy' or 'cloudy' finish. Actually, wax polish or shoe cream should only be applied using a soft cloth and fingertip, not brushes. It's too easy to overdo it. Cream can leave a 'patchy' finish - a dull/bright effect - if you're not careful.

Wax polsih protects the stitching and gives a better overall finish. I'm sure this is to do with the fact that polish is buffed off with (horsehair) brushes, then polished to a deep shine with a soft cloth. Shoe cream is a bit like paint. It is good for covering up scuffs, or changing the colour of the calf leather. A quality dark brown shoe polish on Tan can create a lovely rich chestnut colour. The John Lobb shoe cream is probably the best you can buy. It has a buttery, creamy texture.

An excellent tip I picked up is to apply the wax polish and leave for at least 24 hours, then buff. You'll find that there's hardly any wax polish residue as the polish has had time to absorb. It has the same effect as shoe cream, but with the plus points mentioned. I did for a time use shoe cream over polish, but this chance tip turned it around for me. I now use wax shoe polish.

The advice is mixed. Some quality makers recommend wax polish, others recommend shoe cream. The key thing, I think, is the 24 soaking. It does the trick. Also, from time to time (every three months or so) apply 'Chelsea Leather Food'. It adds that little bit extra.

In all of the above advice it is assumed that a quality shoe polish containing beeswax is used.

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