First, I have to ask; when you say you pay a lot for your shoes what does that mean? That is a pretty subjective statement. What brands & models of shoes do you own? Also, when you say they last for years, how old are the shoes that you have continuously used this technique on? What is a well polished look to you? Could you post some pictures? The idea of lighting a tin of shoe polish on fire has been around about as long as tins of shoe polish. But, you are doing your shoes and your polish a disservice by lighting the polish on fire. Most all shoe polish has 4 main ingredients: 1) Solvent, 2) Wax, 3) Oil, 4) Pigment. Other ingredients may also be included like gums and resins, and in the case of neutral polish there is typically no pigment. Each main ingredient has a purpose: The solvent is used to keep the wax soft and pliable for applying to the shoe, and evaporates shortly (about five minutes to half an hour depending on the solvent and the mixture) after being applied to the shoe. The wax really serves 3 purposes; it is the medium for the pigment, gives some water protection to the leather, and creates a surface coating that can be smoothed to a shine (the harder the wax the smoother it can be shined). The oil is absorbed into the leather fiber for lubrication, and of course the pigment is for color. The solvent used in the Kiwi shoe polish you buy in a tin is Naphtha which is a petroleum product similar in chemical composition to gasoline and is therefore quite flammable. unfortunately, what happens when you light it on fire is that you remove some of the solvent from the remaining polish in the tin, so the remaining polish will harden and crack in the tin much sooner. You are also heating up the oil which decreases it resistance to rancidity, and you slightly burnish the pigment. Also, as soon as the wax cools and starts to solidify (about 95F) there is no solvent to help smooth the wax while brushing. I'm not saying that you can't get a good shine on a shoe by lighting the polish on fire, I just wouldn't recommend it.