The Ultimate Mirror Shine For Dress Shoes | Kirby Allison

The Ultimate Mirror Shine For Dress Shoes | Kirby Allison

Hi, I’m Kirby Allison and we love helping the well-dressed take care of their wardrobes. In today’s video, I’m going to show you how to create
a mirror shine using the Saphir Medaille d’Or Mirror Gloss shoe polish. This is the third installment in our series on how to create and maintain a proper high gloss mirror shine. Do you have any questions or
comments during this video. Please feel free to ask them in the
comments section below. I enjoy getting back to all those
questions and comments personally. Now the mirror shine is easily the
most elegant representation of a
shoeshine and a subtle calling card for
someone who is well-dressed. There is no question that a mirror
shine is difficult to create and takes a lot of time, but the results are worth it. A proper highly shined toe will easily set you apart from anyone else that’s in the room with you. Now the process with the mirror
shines certainly takes long, but it’s easy to master by following
the steps that we’re going to outline in
this tutorial. With a little bit of practice, you can be producing mirror shines
on your shoes. Now a little bit of an overview of
the mirror shine: A mirror shine is whenever you
produce a really high gloss shine on your
shoes. Traditionally, you only want to do
this on the hard countered area of the
shoes. Those are the areas that aren’t
going to flex like the toe box and the hind quarters of your shoe. The reason you don’t want to create
a mirror shine anywhere else on the shoe is the moment that the leather flexes, those hard waxes are going to
immediately crack. Now the way that the mirror shine
works is that you’re filling in all the pores of the leather with hard waxes and until you have all of the pores
of the shoes properly filled in with waxes, you’re not going to be able to
produce a mirror shine. That’s why whenever you’re starting
from scratch with a beautiful open green leather, you can actually see the pores of the leather itself. It takes more time to fill in those pores the first time around. For tips and tricks on how to
maintain a proper mirror shine, see our video on how to maintain a mirror shine. So the process that I’m going to use
in this video is first I’m going to polish the toes using the Saphir Medaille d’Or
Pommadier Cream Polish. Now this is important because it’s
just going to condition the leather and provide that base coat of some soft waxes in the pores. Then I’m going to use the Saphir Mirror Gloss to really fill in those pores and create the foundation of that high shine. Then as I continue to build the foundation of the mirror shine, I’m going to transition to buffing
using the Saphir Pate de Luxe. I find that the Saphir Pate de Luxe and the Mirror Gloss work absolutely
fantastically together because once you’ve created that foundation of hard waxes that the Mirror Gloss, the higher concentration of solvents in the Pate de Luxe help really glacage the waxes in the
Mirror Gloss to produce that high shine. I always finish off using the Saphir
Pate de Luxe and it’s what you’re going to want
to use to maintain a mirror gloss. You’ll see that I have our high
shine water dispenser here. Now you don’t need a high shine
water dispenser or you can just simply pour some
water in the tin, but I find that this is a nice
accouterment that just makes those mirror shine
all that much more fun. And of course I’m using our Hanger Project
High Shine Chamois, which is an absolute essential. This is essentially just a high
quality cotton shirting, the same quality cotton shirting as
in my dress shirt, and it’s important because the tight
weave prevents any type of linting and just makes that mirror
shine so much easier to produce. So step one, I’m going to apply
Cream Polish to the caps of these shoes. The purpose of applying the
Cream Polish is just to condition the leather again because you’re applying such a
high concentration of hard waxes on top of the leather, once you do that you’re not going to be able to
condition the leather through any type of polishing. So I always like to just give a little bit of treatment to the
leather. Feed it using the Saphir Pommadier Cream Polish, which does an incredible job
conditioning and nourishing the leather. So I’m going to apply a generous
portion and really make sure that I’m
massaging this into the leather because again, I want to make sure that this
leather is properly hydrated, just to ensure that it lasts for a
long time without ever cracking. So I’m going to set this shoe aside and allow the Cream Polish to dry while I apply it on the second
shoe. One of the things that I didn’t
mention is that I prepared these shoes in the How to Remove a Mirror Gloss video by using the Saphir Reno’Mat to strip off any type of waxes or polish that was on top
of the leather. It’s always a good practice at the
beginning of the mirror shine process to just
remove everything to make sure that there’s
nothing left on the letter that’s going to
prevent it from really producing a nice high shine gloss. So now that the Cream Polish has had
time to dry I’m just going to buff it off
using a horse h air brush as you can see just with a little
bit of the Saphir Medaille d’Or
Pommadier Cream Polish, it’s already got a nice shine. But what we’re going for in this
video is a beautiful mirror shine. So we’ve just finished preparing the
toe cap of the shoes using the Saphir Pommadier
Cream Polish. In step 2, we’re going to build the
foundation of the mirror shine using the Saphir
Medaille d’Or Mirror Gloss polish. We developed this product with Saphir in order to make the
mirror shine process fast and easy. And it’s an incredible product that
really makes the mirror shine so much more
accessible. It has a high concentration of the
hard waxes that produce that shine in a lower concentration of solvents that can make that process take a lot longer
to create. Now you want to apply this using a High Shine Chamois and I’ve got a new one here, but you can use these things as much
as you’d like. OK. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to apply a very
generous application of the Mirror Gloss to the toe. And again, what we’re doing is we
want to completely saturate the pores that create that uneven surface on the cap of the toe so that we can shine it. So be very generous, especially with your first
application. It’s a hard wax, it has a completely different feel and texture than the Saphir Pate de Luxe. So if you’re using
this for the first time, it might take a little
getting used to. But I’m going to apply this to the
cap of the toe using small circular motions, and again I’m building that
foundation. So I’m going to actually apply two or three coats of this all at the same time just to ensure that I’m getting as
much of this into the leather as
possible. We’ll come back afterwards and buff it off with a little bit of water to began to build those layers. But the first one, you can be quite liberal. Now in a proper cap toe, it’s easy to see kind of where you
would stop applying the mirror shine, but say that you were doing this on
a whole cut, you would want to look to see
where the natural creasing across the vamp is and make sure that you’re only
applying the mirror shine in front of that on the area the cap that you don’t
have to worry about creasing. If you do this across the area of the shoe that flexes or creases, you’ll have a beautiful mirror shine and then the moment you
wear the shoe it’s going to crack and look ruined. Another nice benefit of the
Mirror Gloss especially relative to the Pate de Luxe is that it dries so much faster because, again, it has a much lower
concentration of those solvents. Now that the Mirror Gloss has dried, I’m going to clean this area of the chamois. I’m using my shoeshine carpet, but you could just as easily use a
towel or use a different part of the
chamois. And then what I’m going to do, is I’m going to take a little bit of
water and begin buffing this off. So this takes a while. So I’m going to just buff it with a little bit of water, light to medium pressure in small circular motions. Now at this point, what we want to do is we want to
buff the waxes in the mirror shine to a nice polish. Now at this point I really like to
pull out a little bit of Pate de Luxe Polish, I’m just using a little bit here, and again the purpose is just
to get some of those solvents on the
chamois. It acts much like the water in terms of kind of melting those waxes and it just helps Polish some of the thicker areas of the polish to a shine. So I’m using, again, water, my High Shine Chamois, and there’s no way to make this go any faster than it’s
happening. You want to do a brisk circular
motions, again, part of what you want to be
adding here is heat. The heat helps bring those waxes to a nice shine. And you’re just going to continue to
do this until you begin seeing a shine develop. Again, I’m just tapping this right here with little bit of water to bring those waxes to a shine. Okay so you can begin to see the high shine starting to develop and it’s really important at this
point to look to see where you can still see pores of the leather. So right here I can still see the
pores of the leather, but then as I rotate
the shoe right here, you can see that it’s beginning to
gloss better because thos pores have been
filled. So what we’re going to do is we’re
going to take the Mirror Gloss again and continue to build successive layers up until all those pores are filled. So I’m going to take the chamois
back to the original area that I was applying the hot
Mirror Gloss with, and I’m going to do another generous coat of the Mirror Gloss. Again, the goal is to fill those pores up with the hard waxes in the Saphir Mirror Gloss. Again, it’s always surprising to me
how quickly the Mirror Gloss dries. It’s a totally different product
than the Pate Deluxe and you might even be
able to see it here in the camera, I mean there’s still
a little bit of a shine to the Pate Deluxe because of the solvents, but whenever you look at the
Mirror Gloss, I mean it is a dry polish. So again, this dries pretty quickly. We’re on our second coat. I’m going to take some water on to
my chamois and we’re just going to buff that
layer of the mirror gloss to shine. A little bit of Pate de Luxe, a little bit of water. OK, so we can see this mirror shine
really starting to develop. This is just with two coats of the Saphir Mirror Gloss. I’m starting to see the pores right here filled out more but we still have some pore
structure which is preventing that really high glass mirror finish. So what we’re going to do is we’re
going to go back to the other side of the chamois and we’re going to apply another
coat of the Saphir Mirror Gloss. Nice generous coat, and then we’re going to massage this into the leather using medium to firm pressure. Once you feel that the Mirror Gloss is starting to dry out, it begins to feel like a little dry or sandy, then you want to reapply because what you don’t want to be
doing is dragging your chamois across the wax polish and having it be really dry because
then at that point you actually can damage the other layers of the Mirror Gloss that you’ve
created. So that’s why whenever you’re
buffing, you’re always using a little bit of
water and a little bit of the Pate de Luxe, because it helps lubricate the
chamois. Think of it as like wet sanding. It provides that lubrication to really allow you to buff that Mirror Gloss to a high shine. Another way that you can apply water
on the chamois is just using a simple spray bottle. We’ve got one we sell here at The Hanger Project. But you know, any spray bottle will work there’s
really nothing special about it. So here I’ve got a little bit more
water in my chamois and I’m just going to begin buffing this third coat of the Mirror Gloss to a shine. And again, you want to create
friction with your chamois so you’ll see I’m doing it quite briskly. You want to create friction, you want heat because the heat again is going to help really melt those waxes and allow them to go to a high
shine. Look at that, it’s really starting
to develop. So a little bit of Mirror Gloss and I clean my chamois one more
time. The purpose here of just kind of
cleaning the chamois, is you don’t want any residual waxes on the chamois just because you don’t want that in any way
disrupting the smooth finish of the Mirror Gloss. Now this is coat 3 of the
Mirror Gloss and you can see that high shine is really starting to develop. Now I still can see some pores right here so we’re going to apply another coat of the
Mirror Gloss. At this point, I’m starting to get a
little bit more careful. As soon as I feel the chamois begin to drag, I’m going to pull it off and put fresh polish on the chamois because again, what I don’t want is the chamois and the dry wax polish to really drag across the surface of the leather because at that point again, you can actually damage the wax and pull it off. So this is coat 4. Mirror Gloss dries almost instantaneously. I’m going to take a little bit of
water, and then begin buffing this to a nice high shine. Little bit of Pate de Luxe, little bit of water, little bit of Pate de Luxe, little bit of water. Now, as you get closer to the end of
the shine, you want to make sure that your
chamois is clean, a little bit of water and at this point you’re just
bluffing. I mean, my chamois is really gliding
quite easily across the toe of the shoe. You don’t want the chamois dragging. I’m just applying a little bit of
the Pate de Luxe. Again, the waxes, you can allow these to dry a little
bit. Wow. I mean you can really see this
coming out. Look at that! Absolutely incredible. This is just with four coats of the
Mirror Gloss. I mean, I’ve done this in 20
minutes. Using just the Pate de Luxe alone, this easily would have taken an
hour. I mean just the time that you wait for the Pate de Luxe to dry alone adds 30 minutes, if not longer. So at this final stage, this is where I have really caution
you, you can get lost in the mirage of the mirror shine. I always recommend that once you get it to a point that looks good, always stop, take a step back, put the shoes on the floor to really evaluate whether or not the shine is where you want it because otherwise, it can be hypnotizing. I mean you can find yourself getting lost in time trying to achieve the elusive perfect mirror shine. You know, there isn’t one, but boy can you get detoured trying to find it. Making sure that my chamois is
clean, a little bit of water. Towards the end of this, I’m using lighter, and lighter pressure because I just want this chamois to glide over the
top of those waxes and to just buff them to a nice high shine. Voila. I mean, isn’t that incredible? I mean, this is an absolutely
beautiful mirror shine. Look at the shine there. I mean, I know that I’ve achieved the proper mirror shine when I can
look into the shoe and see myself, the reflection here is unbelievable. This is with four coats of the
mirror shine, I mean it’s unprecedented how much more quickly you can produce a mirror shine using the Saphir
Mirror Gloss than the Pate de Luxe or any other standard polishes. As you can see, I forgot about the shoe on the
right. So I’m going to set the left shoe
aside, and I’m going to work on the right
shoe and bring up the shine here to match this. OK. So here we are, I went ahead and did the same
process on this right shoe – four coats the
Mirror Gloss, maybe I did five, it can vary from
shoe to shoe, but you can see that the caps of
these shoes are on fire. I mean they are beautiful, this mirror shine is probably one of
the best I think I’ve ever done. And it was all done just using the
Mirror Gloss, a little bit of Pate de Luxe, water, and the High Shine Chamois. It took no more than 30 minutes. So to just summarize, the process was to prepare the leather using the Saphir
Reno’Mat. We didn’t do this in this video
because these shoes were already prepared. You can see that process in our How to Remove a Mirror Shine
video. Then I conditioned the the leather in the caps using the Saphir Pommadier Cream Polish. And then what we did is we did
generous layers of the Mirror Gloss that we buffed, applied that Mirror Gloss, buffed until we reached this high shine. Now in the beginning, you’re using a more generous amount
of polish, water, the Pate de Luxe to help buff that, and then as you progress, you do finer and finer layers, a little bit lighter pressure, less water, a little bit less Pate de Luxe, and here you are: a beautiful mirror shine. If you have any questions or comments about anything that I
discussed in this process, please ask them in the comments
section below. I enjoy getting back to all those
questions personally. And I understand that it takes a
little bit of time to learn how to do a mirror shine, and I want to support you as much as
I can so that you can produce these
results as easily as I did. All the products that I used in this
video can be found on and we actually sell a mirror shine
kit that includes everything that you
need to get started producing beautiful
mirror shines. Now if there’s anything you think
you missed or need to see again, feel free to go back, watch this video again, play this video while you’re shining your own pair of shoes, and of course ask questions if you have any. If you liked this video give us a
thumbs up and don’t forget to subscribe to our
channel and turn on your notifications by clicking the bell to the right of
the subscribe button so that you can know whenever we release new videos. And of course, please visit where we have the largest most
comprehensive collection of luxury garment care and shoe care accessories in the
world, as well as other products for the
well-dressed, and of course, everything that we discussed in this
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our YouTube channel. I’m Kirby Allison and we love to help the well-dressed
take care of their wardrobes. Thanks for joining us.

100 Replies to “The Ultimate Mirror Shine For Dress Shoes | Kirby Allison”

  1. Hi my name's is Jericho Ronquillo I use parade gloss for my military boots any tips on how to do a high shine because I need tips on how to shine them

  2. Could one apply a mirror shine to the whole shoe, wear it around some, and then buff off any cracking wax with a chamois and a little of the regular hard wax? In theory the wax that would crack would crack away and not continue to do that. Lemme know what you think!

  3. Great video. I wish more people would care as much with the detail you put in. Ignore the naysayers.
    P.S. The word pate is pronounced with an "eh" at the end as in pateh: the a is soft as you said it. Pate is the French word for paste. It is pronounced the same in English. I'm Canadian eh!

  4. 0:14 I don't like the look of a mirror shine to that degree on a shoe like that, as it just makes the rest of the shoe look like crap.

  5. I have a brand new pair of boots. Is breaking the boots in necessary to ensure they have a good shine? I attempted to shine them straight out of the box and it didn't work well.

  6. All the fundamentals are dead on , you can't argue with results. However, My dad was a paratrooper 82nd. Showed me how to do a spit shine just as good and would last twice as long with a tin of kiwi and an old tshirt . All this expensive polish and formality is a bit pretencious

  7. Question: First og all, love your channel and you really got me interested in bespoke shoes and shoes in general. I’ve read and watched alot now, but can’t find anything specific about why you mirrorshine. Is it purely looks, some kind of dresscode or what? Best regards A.J.

  8. A lot of pretentious bullshit!

    Give me can of kiwi a spoon and a rag, I’ll have your shoes looking like a mirror all round.

  9. Hi.. I've ruined almost all of my pairs with low quality liquid shoe shiners and now there are layers and layers of that thing on my shoes.. is there any way i can remove those layers completely?

  10. Hi Kirby, does the color choice of mirror gloss make much of a difference or should neutral be fine for all kinds?


  11. Back in military service we all used KIWI Parade Gloss. Remember ‘Spit Shine ‘ ? We constantly did layer over layer over layer of Parade glass using spit to lubricate the polish as it dried. Millions of very small circles, lots of time creates a brilliant gloss, ignite a small amount of metho / denatured alcohol to invigorate old polish in the tin. It takes a while but it waterproofs the leather and looks amazing.

  12. In your country the mirror shine may last long but in our country just after i foot out of my house they will get all dusty 😂😂

  13. do you use renomat to the entire shoe or just the front and back? also, do you use the pommadier cream to the entire shoes?

  14. I know you’re a gentlemen’s channel but you should be wearing a smock, who polishes shoes in a suit anyway? Especially you’re gonna get that stuff on a crisp white shirt then it’s done.

  15. for me personally…i think having just the toe polished looks odd.
    makes it look like the polisher is too lazy to do the whole shoe or only willing to polish the easy part.

  16. Kirby, I'm working with Leeds Blucher Oxfords which have no toe cap. I can clearly see where the bending area is but any recommendations on mirror glossing noncaptoe shoes?

  17. Hi Kirby, This is a bit unusual…i've mirror shined my steel toe Oxford work shoes. They came up great but they quickly show cracking on the toe cap area near the vamp. I only use SMDP-deluxe. Would it help to use softer waxes first?

  18. Is there a method for mirror shining decorative elements on the toe? I have a beautiful hand made pair of shoes handed down by my grandfather that fit me so well but they are a little worse for wear. I got the soles, heels, and well fixed but would love to polish the toe myself! The problem though is that there is a decorative toe element about a half inch up the tip of the toe. Theses are both solid elements but the decorative element is ridiculously hard to get in those details!

  19. I love my Berwick 1707 Oxfords and really needed to shine them. I only had solitaire cream, kiwi wax and two tissues I had lying around. I simply took my time and actually understood how the leather works, how the wax and water works on the leather and got the same results as you did. No need for expensive Saphir shit. Just a little bit patience and elbow grease.

  20. Legend has it that he is still applying that Pate De Lux high gloss mirror shine wax on those shoes to build up the layers.

  21. I m wondering How can I decide when to use coloured cream and wax, and when to use neutral cream and wax?

  22. Hey Kirby, this is a great vid but I don't want to splurge in order to achieve these results. I only wear dress shoes to weddings etc. Any chance you could do a comparison of cheapo polish vs these ones? would be interesting to see what % shine you could get vs the fancy stuff

    just a suggestion

  23. Any chance you can demonstrate how to mirror shine a derby or whole-cut where there isn’t a cap toe please?

  24. I’m using all the products described, including the high-shine chamois, but I’m getting a sort of swirling effect. Almost like you can see the “brush strokes” of my polishing. Any ideas? I may just strip it down and start over.

  25. You know someone is an expert shoe shiner when they're willing to shine their shoes while wearing an expensive suit and shirt

  26. I don't know why I find this so inspiring but I feel compelled to shine my Magnanni, Keds, and flip flops. Thanks for putting it up.

  27. This guy either thinks mayonnaise is too spicy, or, he's most commonly found drinking straight sriracha while setting fires in a burzum shirt.

  28. For some reason i couldnt get some part pf the toebox to that mirror shine, while the rest of the toebox has it. I repeatedly applied mirror gloss to that area and buffed it but it just doesnt go to a mirror shine. Any solutions?

  29. lol an American army chick uses an Australian brand of hair spray on the toes of her parade boots and they PoP up like y' won't believe… She recommends Australian as superior to any others as no polishing is required …

    Sadly I don't recall the Aussie brand, you'll have to track her down on UTube for the brand…

    Also avoid spaying any creases as it'll create white powder due to cracking … So I guess just cover the creases when spraying …

    Good luck & Good shine 😊

  30. For the mirror gloss polish, do I need to buy the one with the color of my shoe or can I buy the neutral? Will using the neutral affect the outcome?
    Another question: How many layers average does a Mirror Shine need?

  31. 99 people disliked = 99 people will regret their life

    This is honestly the best video ever!! Thank you so much for these tutorials Kirby Allison!

  32. Hello Kirby, Your passion for shoes is contagious. I staryed investing in fine shoes. I got allen edmonds chili randolph loafers recently. My question to you is – Can these be mirror shined?

  33. I love all of your videos. I always run into a similar issue with shining my shoes. I always get a ring of wax around the toe box at the bottom. How can I prevent this? Thank you

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