There are a few tricks to shoe shining that I have always appreciated using to get an enhanced result to that final shine. One, is using blue wax on black shoes. And the other is using burgundy wax polish on all earth-toned leathers, from light tan to dark brown and if I am really being a bit daring, sometimes using burgundy wax even on blue leather for an added effect.
You see, the thing about wax polish is that it is not intended for changing color, but rather for adding depth, shine and protection to your leather. That being, it can alter color when used over time and consistently. But using it to add some color depth is one of the tricks/fun things about polishing when knowing which colors suit which leathers.
Using burgundy on your earth tones, really helps to bring out a nice hue of reddish-brown, as you can see on this pair wingtips that I recently shined. Originally the leather was a mid-brown. This is particularly fun on Museum calf, as those lighter undertones to the leather’s marbled effect are what really take that secondary color and add that unique color contrast to the original leather color. Now, of course, you should do this sparingly and mix the application of wax with the original color too. If you just use a burgundy on brown, eventually it will drastically alter the color and it won’t come out so nicely. But if you mix it here and there and then top off your shine with a contrasting burgundy color, you get a very nice and unique outcome, as you can see here.
The outcome is also dependent on the leathers you are shining. Here are the guidelines:
- Box Calf uniform color – Can do this but harder to alter and give that alternate color depth. Can take longer to achieve the effect
- Vegetable-tanned leathers – Do not attempt this on those leathers are they are too easily manipulated and can adverse effects
- Crust leathers – They take this the best as crust leathers and made with the sole purpose of altering the color after the tanning process
- Musuem calf – Take it like a charm and my favorite leather to manipulate with different wax colors.
Remember, if you are unsure of something when it comes to shoe care, always start with your inside heel counter to attempt it first. If you ruin that, it’s much better than the toe area.
But as wax is pretty tame in terms of product strength for the chance of having adverse effects, you are pretty safe having a go at it! And remember good product tends to be concentrated, so a little usually goes a long way.
Polish shown is by world-famous French shoe care producers Saphir. Their Saphir Medaille D’or (MDO) line. I highly recommend their product. Color code is Acajou (or Burgundy)
Shoes shown are by J.FitzPatrick Footwear (my shoe brand)
This is an awesome trick! We’ll have to give the “blue polish on black shoes” trick a try as well.
I’ve used Meltonian cream in oxblood on my Allen Edmunds walnut shoes, which I find to be just a bit “yellowy”. It’s turned out a very nice chestnut(?) with highlights. The manager of the local AE store likes it a lot.
Thanks for sharing NCJack!
Indeed Saphir is the best,half the work for three times the result,my CJ’s and Foot the Coacher Balmorals are like glass, Does anyone know if the Saphir cloth is better than a selvyt ?
Hi Justin, thanks for a great post. Is this color different from the Bordeaux color (French label)? Because Saphir also labels the Bordeaux color as Burgundy in English.
Thanks George! The color code said Acajou. Not sure what that equates to in other forms of the color name. Sorry
Thanks, Justin! It seems that Saphir’s Acajou might be Mahogany in English. My mahogany polish tin says “Acajou . Mahogany” and I love that color. (Also here. http://www.droguerie-lemoine.com/cirage-pommadier-creme-surfine/327-pommadier-saphir-pot-50ml-acajou.html.)
As an aside, what color would you recommend for burgundy/nightshade/vintage Rioja? Acajou as well? Thank you!
Thats right it did say that although I have seen other Mahogany look like reddish brown and this was very burgundy in color. And yes for those leathers I would recommend this color 😉