Need to know how to put a military shine on boots? Whether you're going to a job interview or just want to make your footwear look like a mirror, it's easy to learn how to give your boots a military shine. Leather boots with a spit shine are eye-catching and professional, and polishing old leather to a military shine can breathe new life into your favorite set of footwear. To get a true military mirror shine, you'll need to get as high-quality a shoe polish as you can find; cheaper brands will come off during buffing and ruin the shine you've built up. Saddle soap is used for washing horse saddles; you can buy it at horse tack stores and in many sporting goods stores. This soap removes oils from leather very effectively, which is important to do before you start polishing. The hairdryer is essential for this technique to work; it softens the polish, helping it meld with the leather and stick really well. Make sure you've got about an hour of free time to dedicate to giving your boots that military shine; grab a pair of boots you'd like to see your reflection in, and you're ready.
To put a military shine on your boots, you will need:
- A pair of boots (the newer and cleaner the better, although shining old boots is possible)
- A 100% cotton rag (a square cut from an old T-shirt works perfectly)
- A clean towel
- Saddle soap
- A shoe polish brush
- High-quality shoe polish
- A spray bottle filled with water
- A hand-held hairdryer
- Wash your hands. Skin naturally has a small amount of oil on it, and the oil on your hands will keep the polish from sticking right.
Wash the boots with saddle soap. Despite the name, you want to use the shoe polish brush for the saddle soap and not the polish; dip it in the soap, wet it with the water spray bottle, then gently scrub the boots clean. Be sure to get in all of the cracks. After you've got some foam going, wipe the boots dry with the towel.
Rub a layer of shoe polish into the boots with your hands. Don't worry about making it smooth and clear right now; the idea is to get polish over the entire leather surface.
Go over the boots with the hairdryer set on the hot setting. This will melt the shoe polish, letting it meld with the leather surface.
Repeat the process of applying polish and melting it with the hairdryer. Do three or four layers of polish for each boot.
Dampen the cotton cloth. Don't get it too wet; you don't want it to drip.
- Hold the cloth so that it forms a scrubbing spot over your fingers. Put a small amount of polish onto the spot and gently rub it onto the boot in a circular motion. Stick to an area of an inch or two at first, and continue rubbing in tight circles until the polish starts to get shiny.
Continue the polishing motion in small sections until you've covered the entire boot, spraying the cloth when necessary to keep it damp. The water keeps the polish from sticking to the cloth instead of the boot.
- Repeat steps seven and eight for the other boot. Polish each section of each boot until you are happy with how shiny it is before moving to the next part. You should end up with a military shine if you took enough time on each section.
Depending on how rough the texture of your boots is, it may take more than one layer of buffing to get a perfect mirror shine. If that's the case, you just need to add a few more layers of polish. Don't try to add too much polish at once or it will only blob up instead of applying smoothly. To touch up any scratches or scuffs in the polish later on, just follow steps seven and eight to easily blend the scratch repair into the old polish with no visible seams.