How to Burnish Leather Shoes: A Complete Guide

Leather shoes are a classic and timeless piece of fashion that can never go out of style. But, over time, they can start to look dull and unpolished. Burnishing your leather shoes is an excellent way to restore their shine and give them a new lease on life. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of burnishing your leather shoes step-by-step, so you can enjoy your favorite pair for years to come.

Why Burnish Leather Shoes?

Burnishing is the process of applying wax or polish to leather to give it a shine and protect it from damage. Burnished leather shoes have a smooth, glossy finish that makes them look more expensive and well-cared for than unburnished shoes. Additionally, burnishing can help prevent cracks and scratches on the leather, which can occur over time.

How to Burnish Leather Shoes

Burnishing your leather shoes is a relatively simple process that requires just a few tools and products.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a leather cleaner, wax or polish, a buffing cloth, a shoe brush, and possibly a hair dryer.
  2. Clean your shoes. Use a leather cleaner to remove any dirt, grime, or stains on your shoes. Follow the instructions on the cleaner and allow it to dry completely.
  3. Apply wax or polish. Once your shoes are clean, apply a layer of wax or polish to give them a shine. You can use a buffing cloth or shoe brush to apply the product evenly. Allow the wax or polish to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
  4. Buff your shoes. Use a buffing cloth or shoe brush to buff your shoes until they have a smooth, glossy finish. Be careful not to over-buffer, as this can cause the leather to become too shiny and slippery.
  5. Dry your shoes. If you used a hair dryer, allow your shoes to cool down completely before moving on to the next step. If you didn’t use a hair dryer, let your shoes air dry for at least 24 hours.


Q: How often should I burnish my leather shoes?

A: You should burnish your leather shoes once every 6-12 months to keep them looking their best.

Q: Can I burnish suede shoes?

A: No, suede shoes cannot be burnished as they have a different texture and require different care instructions.

Q: How do I know if my leather shoes are ready for burnishing?

A: If your leather shoes look dull or unpolished, it’s time to burnish them.


Burnishing your leather shoes is an excellent way to keep them looking their best and extend their lifespan. With the right tools and products, anyone can give their leather shoes a shiny finish.

So why wait?

Start burnishing your leather shoes today and enjoy the benefits of having well-cared-for shoes that will last for years to come.