Have your boots lost their luster? Do they look old, cracked and in need of some tender loving care? You can rejuvenate them by reading our guide to the best boot polish.
Leather is a skin, and just like our own skin, it can become dry and cracked. Using a good quality polish can restore the suppleness and give shine to your boots.
Let’s take a look at what we think are the best polishes and boot polish kits, and why you should use them.
Best Boot Polishes Featured Recommendations
1. Saphir Medaille d’Or
This creme de la creme of shoe polishes is imported from France. It contains 10 different types of high-quality waxes to recondition and shine your boots. It is available in eight colors to enhance the final polished result.
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2. Lincoln Stain Wax Polish
This polish from Lincoln comes in three colors: neutral, black and brown. Made with carnauba wax, it can fill in small cracks in the leather and then be buffed to give a glossy finish. Made in the USA, it has been a favorite of the armed forces for many years.
- KEEP SHOES LOOKNG LIKE NEW WITH THIS LINCOLN STAIN WAX SHOE POLISH variety pack for black, brown, and colored shoes
- PREMIUM POLISH ENHANCES THE LOOK OF SHOES AND EXTENDS SERVICE LIFE OF LEAHTER, protecting the investment you've made in your footwear wardrobe
- SHOE PASTE SHINES AND PROTECTS SHOES, giving your look a polished and distinguished ambiance and providing a military "spit shine" to your shoes
- PRODUCT IS MADE FROM IMPORTED CARANAUBA WAX AND OTHER PREMIUM INGREDIENTS, giving it the power to shine, stain, waterproof, and nourish your leather shoes
- VARIETY PACK INCLUDES THREE TINS, MAKING IT EASY TO MAINTAIN YOUR ENTIRE SHOE WARDROBE, with options for black, brown, and neutral
3. Saphir Pommadier Cream Polish
Available in 12 different colors, including a neutral one, there is sure to be a Saphir cream polish to suit your needs. The polish is easy to apply and will bring a soft shine to your boots without needing too much elbow grease.
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4. Kiwi Shoe Polish
Kiwi has been a household name in shoe polishes worldwide for many years. This wax polish is available in several colors, including neutral, white, black, and a few shades of brown. It will protect and shine your leather boots.
- KIWI Shoe Polish is the World’s No. 1 Selling Classic Shoe Polish for leather shoes
- Provides shine, nourishment and proven long-lasting water protection
- Superior stain and scuff coverage
- For leather boots and shoes, not intended for use on patent leather, suede, or nubuck
- For black leather
5. Kiwi Shoe Shine Kit
This kit supplies all you need to get your boots looking good. It contains two tins of black polish, a wooden handled horsehair brush, a dauber and a polishing cloth. Supplied in a zippered bag with a handle, you have everything to hand when you need it.
- Made in US
- Complete shine kit for your leather shoes
- Shine brush is made of 100% Horsehair
- For black leather
6. Kiwi Select Shoe Care Valet
Kiwi features in our top picks again. This shoe valet has everything contained in a wooden box, with a foot pedal on the top. It includes polish, brushes and cloths, as well as a shoe horn.
- 2 KIWI Select Premium Paste Tins
- 2 Soft Shine Cloths (17 inch x 3-3/4 inch)
- 2 Sponge Daubers
- 2 Kiwi Shoe Shine Brushes, 100% Horsehair
- 1 Shoe Horn
Reviews of the best boot and shoe polishes
Depending on whether you want a high shine, soft shine, want to restore color or an all in one kit—there are products to suit. Here are our top choices.
1. Saphir Medaille d’Or
Awarded the gold medal for leather care products in 1925, Saphir produces a range of wax and cream polishes, as well as leather conditioners.
This wax polish is available in eight different colors and contains 10 different types of wax. These include beeswax and carnauba wax to help you get a high shine polish finish.
The pigmented varieties can help restore the color of your boots, filling in cracks and restoring their look. The neutral polish can be used when you don’t want to change the color of your boots. It can also be used on top of a cream polish to achieve a high shine.
While this polish is at the higher end of the price bracket, a little goes a long way and many find that the results they get are worth the expense.
The polish has a smell similar to pine, which can be quite strong.
This video explains the difference between wax and cream polishes and shows the results you can achieve with this polish.
- Contains 10 different waxes.
- Available in eight colors.
- Gives a high shine finish with little effort.
- The smell might not appeal to some.
|Saphir Medaille d’Or is a high shine polish produced in France. It’s available in eight colors and complements other products in the range or works as a stand-alone.|
2. Lincoln Stain Wax Polish
Lincoln shoe polishes have been produced in California, USA, since the 1920s. Their polish is issued as standard at many police and military academies. It can produce a “spit and polish” high mirror shine.
This selection supplies you with three choices for your different colored boots. They are black, brown and neutral.
Made from carnauba and beeswax along with other top-grade ingredients, it can polish, waterproof, stain and nourish your leather boots. This will help restore and extend the life of boots in your footwear wardrobe.
The company advises that the best results are obtained by applying the polish with a clean cloth, then heating the shoes with a hairdryer on low heat. Give the polish time to dry and then buff it to a shine with a cloth or soft brush.
The can has a snap-open style lid which, if not secured properly, can allow the polish to dry out.
- Handy three-pack in black, brown and neutral colors.
- Contains beeswax and carnauba wax.
- Waterproofs and restores leather boots.
- Polish dries out if the snap-open lid is not closed correctly.
|Lincoln has been producing quality polish for leather for many years. In three different colors, this polish can help shine, protect and waterproof your boots.|
3. Saphir Pommadier Cream Polish
This cream polish from Saphir is offered in 12 different colors to help restore your boots to their original glory. The company claims that there is double the pigment in this polish as in normal wax polish.
Colors you can choose from include the usual black, shades of brown and neutral. However, green, gray, navy, burgundy and white are also available.
It contains seven different waxes including beeswax and carnauba. It also contains shea butter and pine-based turpentine, and is all-natural. There are no silicones or harmful resins in the product.
The finish on this polish is a soft sheen, as opposed to a high gloss shine.
Be careful not to apply too much, and ensure you buff it well, or you could find the color rubbing on the bottom of your pants.
Make sure you choose the right color for your boots as well. If you’re unsure of the shade, you can always use the neutral polish to condition and rejuvenate.
This video reviews the Saphir cream polish.
- A little goes a long way.
- Different color choices.
- Higher concentration of pigment than wax.
- Might darken the existing color of your boots.
|Saphir has a large range of colors in this cream polish, with a high amount of pigmentation. The all-natural waxes will leave a soft sheen finish on your boots.|
4. Kiwi Shoe Polish
Kiwi shoe polish is one of many well-known products produced by the family-run S. C. Johnson company. They have been in business for over 150 years and have many globally recognized brands.
This polish comes in two different sizes, 1.25 ounces, and 2.5 ounces. There are seven different colors: black, white, neutral, and four shades of brown.
It contains a blend of waxes, which are designed to nourish, protect and polish your leather boots. It will cover scuffs and stains, helping your boots look as good as new.
The shine produced from this polish is a glossy one, which can be taken further by using a water and shine method.
Though there aren’t as many color options for this wax polish as there are for some of the cream polishes, you can always settle for a neutral polish.
This video from Kiwi shows you how to use this polish.
- A household brand for many years.
- Produces a high gloss finish.
- Color options will hide scratches and stains.
- Limited range of colors.
|Kiwi has been a brand recognized globally for many years. Kiwi’s wax polish leaves a high shine finish on boots and will hide scratches and stains.|
5. Kiwi Shoe Shine Kit
Buying polish, brushes, and cloths separately can be an expensive option. Getting them all together in a kit is a great way for you to save money. It also gives you somewhere to store everything, so they are all to hand when you need them.
This shoe shine kit from Kiwi contains two tins of black shoe polish, a wooden handled brush, and a shoe shine cloth. It also has a dauber with a wooden handle, to apply the polish.
Kiwi polishes are renowned for their high gloss finish and will protect and nourish your leather boots.
The smaller brush can be used to put the polish on your boots. Once it’s dried you can use the larger brush to buff, and finally, use the cloth to give them a good polish. It’s all kept tidily in a zippered bag.
This kit is compact enough to be used for travel. It’s good for business trips or vacations when you want your boots looking their best at all times.
A potential setback is that this kit only comes with black polish included. That being said, you could always buy the appropriate color of polish separately and pop it in the bag.
- Handy bag to keep everything together.
- Two brushes for application and buffing.
- Black polish included.
- Only color option is for polish is black.
|This handy shoe shine kit is compact and has all you need to polish black boots. It’s compact and handy for travel. Add a different shoe polish color for more flexibility.|
6. Kiwi Select Shoe Valet
Kiwi has it all wrapped up again with this shoe valet. All you need to care for your boots at home, in a convenient wooden box.
There’s even a foot pedal on the top if you want to polish your boots while they are on your feet, or if you’re lucky enough to have someone do it for you!
Inside the box are two tins of Kiwi premium polish, one black, and one brown. There are two sponge daubers to apply the polish to your boots and two 100 percent horsehair brushes for buffing.
Two shoeshine cloths and a shoehorn complete the kit. The box is large enough to accommodate other items, such as more different colored polishes and cloths.
On the downside, it is an open box inside. There aren’t any separate compartments to keep things in place. The latch that holds the lid closed could also be a little stronger.
This video shows you the box and its contents.
- Wooden box to store all your polishing kit.
- Comes fully equipped.
- Foot pedal to make cleaning boots on your feet easier.
- No internal compartments for separation of products.
|This Kiwi shoe valet kit comes in a box just like your grandpa might have owned. All your polishing needs are in one place so you never have to go hunting for them.|
Why Do I Need to Polish My Boots?
Leather is a skin, and much like our own skin, it has pores and imperfections. Just as women might apply makeup to improve and enhance their complexion, polish can have a similar effect on your leather boots.
Over time, untreated leather will flake and the outer layer will slowly erode. Add wear and tear leaving behind scratches and scuffs, and your boots might end up looking like they’re ready to retire.
Polish can help restore your boots’ former glory and prolong their life. Your boots are often an expensive investment, so a little care and attention will help them last longer.
It’s a good idea to treat the boots with a conditioner first. One like this from Saphir will rehydrate the leather. Its main ingredient is mink oil, which is known for softening and nourishing leather.
How Do I Use Boot Polish?
Getting into a routine of cleaning and polishing your boots regularly will keep them looking good. Whether it’s work boots or dress boots, they can all benefit from some care and attention.
What You Need
- Shoe polish or shoe cream.
- Shoe brush, preferably horsehair.
- Dauber or applicator.
- Clean cloth.
- Use an old brush or cloth to remove any dirt from the boots.
- Apply a thin coat of polish or cream with the applicator or dauber, rubbing it all over the boots in a circular motion.
- Leave the boots for three to five minutes to dry.
- Brush off the polish by making brisk strokes with the horsehair brush.
- Buff the boots to a shine using the clean cloth.
You can use a cream polish to add color and then finish with a neutral wax polish to add more shine.
Cleaning the boots is important before polishing. You don’t want dirt to get trapped underneath the wax, spoiling your handiwork. If your boots are very dirty, consider cleaning them with saddle soap before polishing.
Take your time polishing your boots. It can be quite therapeutic for, giving you some time to sit and contemplate.
Which Is Better: Wax or Cream Polish?
Both cream and wax polish can help rejuvenate and renew your boots, making them look better.
Wax polish forms a smooth layer over the top of the leather to protect it. It can hide and fill small scratches, improving the appearance. It can also be polished to a high shine, especially if you add a little water to the mix for a final “spit and polish” finish.
Check out this YouTube video from Jarodsina, to see how to get a mirror finish on your boots.
Wax polish will also provide some waterproofing properties to further protect your boots. While wax polish does contain some pigmentation, it won’t restore color as much as a cream polish will.
Cream polish will add color to your boots and will also help condition them. It penetrates the boots, rather than leaving a protective coating on the top layer. This can be particularly useful if you have a faded old pair of boots you want to rejuvenate.
The shine you get from a cream polish is more muted than that from a wax polish. If you aren’t looking for a high shine or mirror finish, then a shoe cream might suit you better.
This YouTube video, by Kirby Allison, highlights the differences between wax and cream polish.
What Should I Look for in a Boot Polish?
There are a few things that you would expect to find in a good boot polish. These include:
- Good quality wax: Check what types of waxes the polish contains. Ideally, you want natural products like beeswax and carnauba. These will help protect and supply some conditioning to your boots.
- Pigmentation: If your boots are very old and faded, you might want to restore the color. There are wax and cream polishes that can help with this. Try and get as close a color match as possible, although it doesn’t have to be exact.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Should I Polish My Boots?
This can vary, depending on how often you wear your boots and what condition they are in. If worn regularly, then your boots will benefit from being polished at least once a week. That being said, it’s a personal decision, some people polish their boots every day and others once every month or so.
How Much Polish Should I Apply to My Boots?
In this case, less is more. Start off applying a small amount of polish to your boots and let it dry before buffing. If you don’t get the result you want, you can repeat the process.
Applying too much polish will just result in wasting your polish, as you will brush it off again. Also with wax polish, be careful in the crease of your boots. The application of too much polish in this area will just make it crack and flake.
Do I Have to Use a Brush to Polish My Boots?
It’s not an absolute necessity, but it’s certainly beneficial. The bristles on a brush will get the polish into the pores of the leather better than a cloth will. Choose a good quality horsehair brush or buy a kit that includes everything you need.
Why Is Polishing My Boots Important?
Apart from improving the appearance of your boots, polishing has other benefits. It gives a layer of protection and waterproofing to help the leather last longer. This will protect your investment in the long term.
Can I Remove Polish from My Boots If I Have a Build up or Have Used the Wrong Color?
Luckily, if either of these happens it’s not the end of your boots. A wax buildup or an application of the wrong color can be removed, and you can start again. You can find a full guide on how to do this in our article, “A Systematic Guide to Removing Shoe Polish from Leather Shoes.”
Can I Still Use My Shoe Polish If It’s Crumbled and Cracked?
Wax polishes are often quite hard at room temperature and can crack and crumble. This does not detract from their performance and they can still be used. You can simply use some heat to melt the wax, so it forms a solid mass again.
Winding It Up
Leather boots are often a costly investment, so it’s a good idea to look after them. Using a good boot polish on a regular basis will keep them looking as good as new and save you having to buy a new pair prematurely.
Of the best boot polishes we have reviewed, our favorite is the Saphir Medaille d’Or. It has 10 different natural waxes to help rejuvenate and condition your boots. There are also eight colors to choose from, to fill in scratches and restore the natural beauty of the leather.
We hope you enjoyed our guide to the best boot polish and found it useful. We would love to hear your views and experiences, please leave us a comment. Also, don’t forget to share so others can benefit from rejuvenated boots.