How To Remove Shoe Polish From Leather Shoes | Kirby Allison

Hi, I’m Kirby Allison.
In today’s video I’m excited to show you how to simply and easily remove shoe
polish from a pair of leather dress shoes. All you’ll need is the Saphir RenoMat, a cotton chamois and a little bit of water. If you have any questions or
comments during this video please ask them in the comments section below, I
enjoy getting back to as many of those questions and comments as I possibly can.
There are several reasons why you might want to use the Saphir RenoMat to
remove polish. Once in a while it’s a good idea to just remove all the wax
polish from a pair of shoes in order to thoroughly condition the leather like
what we do in our presidential shoeshine video. Second, if you’ve used a color of
shoe polish with which you’re unhappy the Saphir RenoMat can very easily pull
that shoe polish off of the top of the leather. Third, if cheap inferior polish
was used on your shoes that might contain silicones or petroleum-based
products, say it like, an airport shoeshine stand or a shoeshine stand at
the bottom of your building. Then the Saphir RenoMat is really good
at pulling all of that product off of the top of the leather. These are all
good reasons to use the Saphir RenoMat to remove old shoe polish. Using the Saphir RenoMat is really easy. First, you want to apply some Saphir RenoMat to a cotton chamois — here I’m using our Hanger Project cotton chamois and then next you always want to test the Saphir RenoMat on a hidden area of the shoe, just
to ensure that it’s not going to react with the leather and any unintended ways.
As you can see here it’s really not pulling the finish of the leather itself
off. Although, you do see it pulling some polish off and that’s exactly what you
want. So to use the Saphir RenoMat you’ve got it on your chamois and then
you’re just going to really rub in small circular motions using medium to
firm pressure. Now, the Saphir RenoMat really does require quite a bit of elbow
grease so you do want to use medium to firm pressure to really work it into the
leather. As you can see I’ve got wax polish with pigment coming off almost
immediately. Depending on the amount of hard wax is that you have built up that you’re trying to remove, it will determine how
much RenoMat you need to use. So, for instance, on the toe of these Grenson’s
where I have a nice mirror glass developed, I’m gonna need to use more
RenoMat than I am on the other areas of the shoe where maybe I just have a
little bit of wax polish but primarily cream. So I’m applying it in small circular
motions medium to firm pressure it’s good to change areas of your chamois
quite often just as the waxes saturate that particular area. So you can see
right here where you can see a duller, kind of softer, texture of the leather –
where I’ve effectively pulled off all those waxes but then right here where
it’s smooth and shiny I still have a buildup of hard waxes there. So you really have to use your eye to determine when you’ve used enough of the RenoMat but really what you’re looking for is that you’ve pulled all of the hard wax
is off of the shoe. Your chamois is always going to continue to pick up a
little bit of residual pigment or a residual polish that’s in the leather so
you’re never going to get to the point where you’re using the RenoMat and
then you pull your chamois off and it looks you know totally clean. You’re
always going to be getting some residual polish off. That’s okay if you keep on
going until no more polish is coming off onto the chamois then you’ve probably
completely stripped the finish off of your shoes. You now have removed all
of the hard wax is from the toe, right, and then, you know, the entire shoe has
been dulled which is just reflective of the fact that I’ve removed all of those
surface waxes off of the leather. After I’ve used the Saphir RenoMat, I like
to take a little bit of water on a cotton chamois here I’m using our
Hanger Project high shine water dispenser and just do a final rinse or
wash of the shoe with a little bit of clean water – just to get any of the
residual RenoMat off of that leather. So, you can see it’s still sudsing up a
little bit and so that means that we’re pulling that off of the leather. So, here
we are, I’ve used the Saphir RenoMat to remove all of the old shoe polish on
this pair of Grenson’s. You can see this was the pair that I
didn’t use the RenoMat on and it still has all of the waxes that have
been on this shoe, accumulating over who knows how long, and then here on the left
shoe I’ve completely stripped all of those old waxes and polish off of the
shoe using the Saphir RenoMat. Now, this is a great point to follow a
shoeshine routine like the Saphir Presidential Shoeshine, where we really
provide a deep thorough conditioning of this leather – using the Saphir Dubbin, the
Saphir RenoMat and then completely rebuild a new finish on these shoes. If
you have any questions or comments about anything we discussed on this video
please ask them in the comment section below. I enjoy getting back to as many of
those comments as personally possible. If you liked this video give us a thumbs up
and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel and turn on notifications by
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whenever we release new videos. And, of course, please visit
Where we have the largest most comprehensive collection of luxury
garment care and shoe care accessories in the world. As well as other products
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digest of all the videos we publish here on this YouTube channel. In today’s video
I’m wearing a bespoke Chris Despos suit made out of a beautiful blue fresco
fabric perfect for the summertime. I have a Simonnot Godard linen pocket square, a
blue Palatino socks and of course I’m wearing a pair of bespoke Cleverly
hole cuts – this was my first pair of bespoke shoes I ordered from George
Cleverly. My tie is a Kirby Allison Sovereign Grade Ancient Madder tie with
the silk from Keats Silk and of course at my ensemble wouldn’t be complete
without a pair of our Kirby Allison Horn Collar Stays. I’m Kirby Allison and we
love helping the well-dressed take care of their wardrobes. Thanks for joining us.


  • Last time i used reno mat I spilled half the bottle over my desk.

  • Helpful for me

  • Thanks Kirby, I'm in the army cadets and have to polish my boots perfectly, I always come straight to you as you know best.

  • Hi kirby, i love the reno mat as a product and use it every couple of months on my crockett and jones derbys and oxfords. But i have a friend who asked me if they could use it on a shoe that is probably not great quality calf leather. Do you think it would damage a poor quality large pore leather? Id hate to let him use it only to make them worse.

    Thanks. Adam Clark

  • Mr.Kerby very helpful video as always. Do you prefer wearing a Sneaker or have you worn any at some point? Please let me know.

  • Kriby, I would like to know what the difference is between round and flat laces when considering formality. Other than the different looks, are flat laces less formal? When wearing a formal suit, with black cap toes, would the best option be round laces? Thanks for answering and the great content as always 🙂 Cheers

  • Is this product safe on Gore-tex lined shoes?

  • I just used Reno'Mat yesterday as I was trying out the antiquing process from another of your videos. I didn't like how it looked on some areas of the shoe. I then followed with some Renovateur conditioner.

  • I accidentally removed some shoe colour off my tanned shoe, is it cause of the bad leather, bad paint or am I just rubbing and using too much renomat?

  • Lincoln is a good product. Not cheap as the video suggests.

  • Is there a difference in purpose between saddle soap and Reno mat?

  • مليون شكرا يا كيربى

  • Hey Kirby,

    I have the Bickmore Bick 1 leather cleaner that I use for my western boots occasionally. Would this work in place of the Reno Mat?


  • Hi Mr Allison. As always, many thanks for taking the time and effort to create such outstanding content. Just a couple of questions in relation to this particular video;

    1). How often would you suggest using Reno-mat as the basis for reconditioning/refreshing the polish on a pair of shoes?
    2). Is there any way to clean a polishing cloth so that its working life may be extended?

    Thanks again for all your help.

  • What is Renomat reacts with the finish of my leather shoe, how can i strip off the polishes?

  • Should I use a conditioner after renomat and before polishing?

  • how does this work compared to saddle soap?

  • Hey Kirby, you forgot to mention the shirt, I'm guessing Joe or Charvet. Also, I would love if you spoke about your outfit more often. Great video as usual.

  • When I use a renovateur after renomat it soaks almost immediately. Is it good to make a second application of renovateur or one is just fine?

  • Good info here Kirby.
    Can you share the best practices for cleaning chamis. How often do you clean them? Do you hand wash or machine wash? Are they washed separately or with other items?

  • People ask us all the time how they can remove shoe polish from their favorite leather dress shoes. Saphir RenoMat is our product of choice for removing all types of polish from even the finest leathers. Order yours today:

    Thanks for watching! Make sure to like, comment, subscribe and turn on your notification so that you never miss our videos. Let us know if you have used the Saphir RenoMat and ask us any questions that you have here in the comment section. Kirby loves to personally answer as many of your comments and questions as possible.

  • Is Renomate safe to use on oil tanned boots/shoes as well? I have a rescued pair of loggers that appear to have wax polish on them and am exploring products to help strip it off.

  • Hello Mr Allison,

    Thanks for that video! But I have one question: is this method suitable for unpolished leather?

  • Don't forget Saphir RenoMat!

  • First off, I love your maintenance and care videos; so thank you for making and posting them! Now, in our house I'm the one that does the clothing and accessory care and maintenance. My husband recently purchased a pair of Clark's Bushacre 2 chukka boots in a finish called "beeswax". I am at a loss for how I should try to take care of these. The finish just isn't what I am used to. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

  • Would this be more of a once a year treatment? in normal care, is it fine to just apply creams and polishes over the previous coats?

  • Hi Kirby, I use all your products. Love the sire. I have several pairs of Ferragamo drives that have white stitching. I mostly use Saphir Revenateur to keep the stitching sharp. Should I strip they finish as this video demonstrates. Thanks for the information. Kind regards, paul

  • how is the bottle called again?

  • From what I've seen of the videos, your products appear to be some of the best available. Unfortunately, most of them are a little above my price range; or, at least, more than I can spend for the volume offered (I'm just the middle man in between my job and my bills). Can you suggest a less expensive alternative?

  • Will this be okay to use on cordovan?

  • Hey Kirby, would Saphir RenoMat remove stains? I love your instructional videos, however, I have yet to see a video on a certain subject that I find quite important. How would you go about removing stains from leather shoes?
    I just got 3 pairs of used shoes for about $ 270, two Allen Edmonds, and one Crockett and Jones, and they all have minor staining around the heel area.
    I would love to see a video on that subject and thank you, for your great content.

  • Hello Kirby, nice information as usual. I really enjoy this videos, specially the 50$ Ebay challenge. I live outside the US so getting nice shoes like Allen Edmonds for a fraction of the cost is a viable option instead of full retail price when travelling there. I have question that I do not know if you already answer on another video or Q&A.
    I got a stain (from food so oil based) on a pair of light brown leather shoes and I wanted to know what will be the best way to clean it up without darkening the shoe at all (or minimum darkening) is the Reno Mat good for this or the Saphir Leather Cleaning Soap or should I use another product/method? Thanks a lot in advance

  • What are other alternatives for the Reno mat? I don’t think it’s available where I live.

  • Hey Kirby! Would the Renomat work for clarks desert boots you think? I honestly do not care if it strips some of the oils from the leather as I can easily replace that with a conditioner, but have you heard any cases where it has worked on those type of boots?

  • Is Saphir Reno Mat safe to use everyday? Once mirror shone cracks, which is every once a week or so, shall I use renomat to clean? How do you shine again after the mirror shine cracks? The presidential shine is for only once or twice a year and I tend to crack my mirror shine easily. Any tips?

  • I noticed Renomat/turpentine can strip it down to it's finish. How many layers of shoe cream/wax do you put on after?

    It took me a while to fill the pores again.
    I noticed the toe area needed like 5-6 areas to be spitshined into a glass look.

  • I have Allen Edmonds and use their shoe polish. How often would I need to remove the polish?

  • It'd be good if these videos weren't just an advertising. I'm Argentinian, I can't get the product you're using.

  • When using renomat use in a well ventolated area it can be harmful

  • Hi KirbyJust wanted to thank you for the laces, they are super and always lay flat, many others seem to twist and look awful, now a question I have a pair of 1960's brown single monk srtap. the polish over the years has become almost opaque which video would be best for me to watch

  • How many Times in a month you remove shoe polish?sorry bad English. New sub here

  • I have question I have woodland shoes and I accidentally polish it by woods shoe polish and now it's colour become more comfortable

  • Hi Kirby. I messed up an old pair of Florsheim Burgundy cap toe oxfords.that I've worn about 6 times. So I striped the burgundy polish off the vamp section and two toned them. They look really good now and I get compliments every time I wear them. These Florsheims sell for cheap on Ebay, so I'm thinking about trying to custom dye some more. I used alchohol to take the polish off the shoes, but it didn't get down to raw leather. I am wondering if it is possible to take a black shoe and change it to oxblood, chili, or walnut. Obviously, it would have to have all the darker pigment stripped off completely. Do you know if the saphire decapant will do this? I think I have seen some people in videos using acetone. Do you have any experience with this? Thanks.

  • Just because saphire is paying your video that does not mean lincoln and meltonian are bad, those are 5 star products specially Lincoln, saphir is way over price and the product is really not that good, so chill, you should advertise that the company is paying you to talk good about them Lincoln has history of being a outstanding product.

  • Does saddle soap remove old wax polish

  • Where do you get it

  • I've been wearing vinyl and synthetic leather mix boots for years now, recently decided to see what a slightly more expensive pair of real leather boots will do and your video's have helped greatly in learning how to care for leather.

    Is there another 'softer' cleaner that you would recommend other than the renomat? I've read that if used too frequently it could cause damage to leather? Would you consider Lexol as a cheap/unworthy choice? Is Lexol even easier on the leather to begin with?

    No big if you don't respond, regardless you've helped heaps already.

  • A man how knows how to wear a jacket handkerchief, would love to see his bow ties.

  • I cannot mirror shine after the renomat, especially when i try to shine with water! What am i missing?

  • My favorite color is pink. I received a pair of pink leather Oxford shoes for Christmas last year. The thing is, I'm picky about the shade of pink. These were a beige-y, light pink. I got pink polish and my mom took them to the cobbler and asked for a light wash (I don't know how to polish shoes!) because I hoped to turn the shoes just a little bit pinker. However, the shoes are an opaque magenta now….. Which is also…. The wrong pink! Do you think I could use this method to take off some of that polish to hopefully get the shoes down to a preferred light bubblegum?

  • Thanks for this video and the advice… you briefly commented on the Reno Mat being good at removing a disliked finish from the shoe…. but could you tell me if this product would also remove any discolouration? For example if I were to use a polish that darkened the intended leather finish or you might say a polish that has given the shoe an ‘antique finish ‘ then will this product take off that darkening and restore the shoes to their original finish?

    I hope you don’t mind me asking?

    Thanks again 😀

  • What is Reno’Mat? Acetone for 30 times the price?

  • Are there any products that aren't as strong as the Saphir Réno Mat?

  • Hello! This video is great, but I have a question about a particular issue that I don't think removing the polish will fix. I have a pair of tassel loafers with a fringe. The fringe is rigid and when the shoe flexes, the tips of the fringe rub the shoe and gradually removes color so it looks like there are scratches (they are not actually gouged. Just missing color in a thin line.) . How might I go about fixing this?

  • Hi Kirby – I don't have access to Renomat what can I use at home to remove polish from my leather shoes?

  • Thank you. You are a total life saver. This shoe repair guy used a color on my brown shoes that was not the right color and I was seriously upset because they were very expensive and I felt it ruined the look of the shoe. He didn't even tell or ask me if it was alright to to use a different color he just slapped it on there. I was totally pissed.

  • I prefer Lincoln better than saphir crapy hype especially the wax it's way better than saphir trust me I used both I rather buy Lincoln and Angelus it's better in my opinion thank you

  • Is it possible to remove original dye from a shoes? Thanks.

  • I have a pair of dance shoes that I need to change the color of the finished leather. Would that be possible?

  • I'm ordering renomat presently. However, does isopropyl work for removing shoe wax without hurting the leather?

  • Hey, I was wondering if you can help me out. I recently bought the allen edmonds strand cap toe oxford in coffee and wanted to polish them so I went with the light brown saphir polish because I did not want to darken the shoe. only problem is that it caked in the strands and was very difficult to remove and is still noticable because of the difference in color. Any recommendations on getting the cream polish out of the strands?

  • Say "HEY" to your life partner for me!

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