How to Build the Ultimate Shoe Shine Box Kit

The modern gentleman embraces both the new and the old. He relishes in the value of the vital skills passed down to him by his forefathers. He acknowledges it’s his responsibility to preserve these rituals and pass them on to the next generation.

One of these is the art of shoe shining, a must-have skill for every modern gentleman. Sadly this essential manly ritual has been dying out. This makes it more important now than ever to invest in a quality shoe shine box kit. That’s why we have created this guide to help you in this process.

You Might Also Enjoy Reading: 10 Tips for Buying the Right Pair of Dress Shoes

Shoe Shine Box

You need to find a suitable container for your shoe shining kit. For this, we recommend you get the original shoeshine box, a rugged wooden storage box with footrest. You can either buy this box premade or make it yourself using the free tutorials online.

If you settle on buying your box, consider the following factors:


  • Needs to have anti slippage corners. You don’t want your shoebox slipping away with your foot on it.
  • Has handles to allow easy transport of the box.
  • Has a couple of compartments, making it easier to separate different pieces of shoe polish kit
Shoe Shine Box

Wood quality

  • Most boxes are made with cedar. This is because of the wood’s moisture absorbing capability.
  • Other woods used are walnut, hickory, or other hardwood. So the type of wood is more of taste preference.
  • Avoid cheap plywood shoe shine boxes

Shoe kit inclusion

Since we are building our own shoe shine kit, you are looking for a stand-alone box.

Our recommendations

George’s Shoes & Repair provide high-quality shoe shine boxes that come with a lot of customizability. This is more of a high-end brand, given that almost all of the shoeshine boxes cost over $100. If you have the budget, these will provide you with a bang for your buck.

Kiwi shoe shine boxes have high ratings on Amazon. They are reasonably priced, have a footrest, and are made with good quality material. On the downside, they lack storage compartments and anti-slippage corners. All the same, these shoeboxes from the renowned shoe care brand offer a budget-friendly option.


Choosing a good polish is one of the most crucial steps. You can choose between wax or crème polish. 


This polish will give a better shine. The high concentration of hard waxes in a wax polish allows you to produce a high gloss shine.  However, over time it will dry out the leather and cause it to crack. This can cut short your shoe’s life.


Crème polish is much more liquid than wax, allowing it to penetrate the leather allowing your shoe to breathe and stay flexible. This will not give as good of a shine, but it will make your shoe last longer.

Our recommendations

Saphir Pommadier Medaille D’Or cream polish made with pine based turpentine and without any petroleum-based solvents, preventing the risk of damage due to silicon or other resins.

Saphir Pommadier Medaille D’Or cream polish

Saphir Medaille D'Or Pate De Luxe wax polish made with all-natural wax polish based on beeswax, shea butter, and other nutrient-rich waxes. It’s considered to be one of the best polish in the world.

Lincoln Shoe Wax Polish the most popular shoe polish among military men. When it dries, it buffs off very quickly. The shine is excellent, glossy, and deep.

Shoe Conditioner

Don’t forget to get a shoe conditioner. In harsh elements like the cold, rain, and snow, leather dries and hardens. Avoid cracking and keep shoes flexible with shoe conditioner such as the Saphir Medaille d'Or Renovator

Apply it often and generously, especially after cleaning shoes with soap, which will strip moisture from leather. Good shoe conditioner is absorbed well and moisturizes the leather, leaving shoes soft and supple. Other examples of quality but more cost-effective shoe conditioner include Cobbler’s Choice and Venetian Shoe Cream.

Shoe Shine Kit Accessories

Horsehair Brush and Polish Applicator (Dauber) Brush 

The horsehair brush is the primary tool you will need for shoe shining. Ensure you get one with bristles soft enough not to scratch your shoes yet stiff enough to give a good shine.

Use the horsehair polish applicator to apply the polish to your shoe. You can buy quality and durable horsehair brush and polish applicator from Kiwi. Get a different horsehair brush for your brown and black leather shoes.

Disposable Gloves

The last thing you want is polishing stuck under your fingerprints before an important meeting. Simple latex gloves will do just fine.

Polishing Cloth

Use this to give your shoe the final polish. Ensure you clean and dry it when you finish polishing so that the polish does not harden on it.

Final Thoughts

Although you can buy a pre-made kit, building your own set will give you the chance to choose the best tools possible. Quality leather dress shoes are expensive and need to be protected from the wear and tear from everyday use.

If you've already spent some money on a good pair of dress shoes, it makes sense to invest in a shoe shine kit that will keep them looking their best. 


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