What Goes Into Our Premium Shoe Shine

What Goes Into Our Premium Shoe Shine


At Brillaré we offer premium shoe care services done on site. By hand. We are constantly working on different types of shoes from all over. Different brands, colours, leathers, styles.

We've worked on almost everything at this point.

When you drop your shoes off at our shop (or mail them in) you might be wondering what goes into a quality shoe shine. What separates our work from a cobbler or the shoeshine boy or girl at the mall.

Here we'll discuss our process and approach.


The World's Best Products


If you're on our website then you've likely heard about Saphir products before. Saphir Medaille d'or shoe care line is some of the best product on the planet.

Saphir uses high quality natural ingredients. They've been doing it for nearly 100 years. They're still a private company and they do everything in house. They use their own formulas. Made in France with a very high attention to detail.

They produce for the actual users of the product. By that we mean, they make what works. They know what it takes to shine and clean a shoe.

Natural waxes like Montan wax, Beeswax, and Carnuaba wax. Lanolin, turpentine spirit, and mink oil. These are natural ingredients you'll have trouble finding elsewhere.


 Close up shot of Saphir Medaille d'or Nappa leather balm open and unopened with a saphir wood handle spatula brush in natural horse hair


This is all we use for our services.

Most people elect to use more economical polishes and creams. Kiwi, Moneysworth & Best, or Allen Edmonds. That is not to disparage those who use those products. That is to say, like cooking, the quality of the ingredients matter. When you want the best you have to use the best.

(Some more affordable products are serviceable, like Lexol leather conditioner, or Bick4. Avoid a "quick shine" pad at all costs, though)

The same world class polish, shoe cream, and wax that we sell is what we use for shoe shining. No substitutions are made. No corners are cut.


 Attention To Detail


"Shoe shine" is almost a misleading term. The bulk of the work actually happens well before your shoe is shining.

We start by cleaning your shoes. We remove dirt and debris. We remove old excess polish. We avoid using saddle soap since that can often dry out your footwear. We use a soft cloth and some cleanser.

We use a horse hair brush for the uppers. A stiff brush for the soles. A toothbrush for the welt and sole edge. We take a similar approach with sneakers. (White sneakers get extra attention)

We remove your laces before we begin and we re-lace when we're done. Every shoe has a shoe tree in it.


Alden 975 longwing cordovan blucher being polished with Saphir Medaille d'or cordovan cream polish


We condition the leather twice. Once with a dedicated polish (Saphir Leather lotion or Cream Universalle) and again when we're applying the cream polish. This double action does wonders for any leather shoe or leather boot. Remember that conditioning is leather care 101.

When you stop at a subway or somewhere downtown at a shoe shiner, they don't have the time for this many steps. They often only have a shoe brush and some wax polish at their stands.

By this point we've cleaned and rejuvenated your shoes. We've brushed them and conditioned them several times. And this is before any "polishing" even occurs. There is more to a shoe shine than shoe polish. Shoe polish (often meaning wax polish) is the last step, not the only step.

Every pair of shoes we take in gets treated with several shoe care products. Our services counter is an array of cream polishes; our own sprawling shoe shine kit.

If needed we can fill in scratches and scuffs. We can buff to a mirror shine or keep a matte finish. We can do dress shoes or sneakers. Boots or loafers. White shoes or black shoes and everything in between.

If your shoes need it, we'll recommend shoe repair.

Details about our specific services can be found on our services page. This gives you an idea of our approach. What we look for. A mirror shine is different than our routine clean and shine. Though both have this same foundation.

At Brillaré there is more to a shoe shine than shining shoes. It's about customer service. It's about keeping your shoes in rotation a little bit longer. We never tire of seeing the look on a customer's face when they're picking up their completed shoes.

We try and go above and beyond. We want to provide the best customer service and best customer experience around. We use the best products we can find and couple them with our years of experience.


Ermenegildo Zegna couture brown cap toe leather derby shoes being polished. Shown with Saphir Beaute du cuire horsehair brush and saphir medaille d'or 1925 cream pommadier in brown.


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