Shoe Polish Color Matching: Tips & Tricks – Q&A 28 | Kirby Allison

Hi I’m Kirby Allison thank you for all
your comments and questions that you guys have posted on our YouTube channel
after reading them all and answering as many as possible I’ve selected five that
we’re gonna feature in today’s Q&A video each of these individuals I have
selected will receive a complimentary pair of our sovereign grade shoelaces as
a token of our appreciation for their participation in our channel in today’s
Q&A video we’re gonna be answering questions about color matching very
important and very often asked question how do I know what color shoe polish is
right for my shoes our first question today is from Alex Role and it reads Mr.
Allison that I wear Allen Edmonds Fifth Avenue and brown
I wish by the way was recently discontinued and replaced by the lighter
of coffee you end up using what is called the
Havana or tobacco Brown as the best color match however I noticed on your
website that the number 34 tobacco appears much darker than the shade
you’re using here and there is no Havana Brown listed so are you actually
referring to and using the number 37 medium brown a great question no we’re
actually using indeed the number 34 tobacco Brown they also call it the
Havana Brown which I think another name for but it’s the same color it’s the
number 34 and you know herein lies I think one of the greatest challenges
about shoe polish and this is actually why we sell samples of all of our cream
polishes on our website and that’s because it’s very difficult for us to
digitally represent the color of the actual polish I mean for one every cream
and wax polish is going to be transparent so if we represent the color
digitally it really misrepresents the actual applied finish because again all
polishes are transparent and are going to tint the original finish not totally
change it again polish isn’t like an oil paint you know that has a hundred
percent saturation it is only meant to really compliment and fill in the color
not totally change that said we do sell samples of all of
our cream polishes I think it’s $3 for a sample you can order as many as you’d
like in different colors and it allows you if you’re really trying to be
precise about the color you’re selecting to test it out on the shoe first and
that at the end of the day is our recommendation is that you can choose
the perfect polish but until you actually put that polish on the leather
you really never know how the two are going to interact together the second
recommendation that I would say is that there’s no such thing as a perfect match
for anything other than black and that’s because there’s so many different colors
and finishes finishes are often applied by hand and so there’s even going to be
variation of the same finish within a line of shoes and so we have 16 colors
of cream and waxes that is a very wide palette and you know those really serve
most if not all shoes now it’s important to remember that polishing should evolve
the finish of a shoe and that’s one of the beautiful things I love about
shining is that whenever you receive a new pair of shoes and begin polishing it
you begin to give character and life to the shoe and you can decide to take that
shoe in direction so say for instance your Brown Fifth Avenue’s you know if
you’re using the Havana or tobacco Brown maybe it’s gonna darken it lightly or
you could use a slightly lighter color to try to keep it as close to the
original finish as possible or you could use something like a cognac or a
mahogany and start to introduce a little bit of red into that shoe to give it a
little bit of additional depth the other thing that you can always do is begin to
burnish or antique the shoe by using a darker polish and the toes or the heel
counters and so there’s a lot of things that you can do to really give character
to a shoe and I’ve never seen a pair of shoes especially Allen Edmonds
that don’t receive any finishing at the factory have never seen a pair of shoes
that don’t look better with polish and so I would encourage you to have fun
play around a little bit if you’re ever completely unhappy remember that you can
take it back to the original finish by simply pulling off all of the polish
using the Saphir Reno Mat or any type of polish stripper our second question
today is from Joseph Tolentino on our how to darken a pair of leather
dress shoes video if you have no plans of making a burnished effect on shoes
what’s the use of matching the Pate De Luxe wax color with the shoe just in
terms of shining not covering scuffs won’t the neutral color be a more
versatile to use for all great question Joseph and this really goes back to the
fundamentals of shoe shining and that is that your primary polish that you should be
using to shine your shoes is a cream polish and that’s because the pre and
polish is gonna have the highest concentration of pigments and really do
the best job nourishing and hydrating that leather
so any type of recoloring or refinishing of the finish itself is always going to
be achieved through that cream polish now that said it’s also nice to have
pigment in your wax polish but it’s not as important as it is in your cream
polish a wax polish has a far lower concentration of pigments and is more
transparent than a cream polish and for that reason our wax polish is really
great for tinting or burnishing but if you’re trying to be lean and don’t want
to buy too much of anything there’s no question that a simple neutral wax
polish on a well polished pair of shoes that doesn’t have any scuffs or
scratches is totally sufficient for introducing those hard waxes that’s
going to give you that high shine also take a look at our video the differences
between waxes and cream polish is where we go into this specific question in
greater detail our third question today is from MrJamescord on our how to
repair scratch shoes video and it reads is it possible to get a matching dye or
send these shoes back to be recolored from Allen Edmonds I was impressed but
how nice they came out with even just polishing them and without a dye job
that’s a great question there are a few patina experts here in the United States
but there’s honestly not that many as there are in Europe that can actually
strip a pair of shoes and completely re-dye them using a permanent
alcohol-based leather day die like the Saffir Teinture Francaise now in a lot of
instances if you’re just looking to evolve or kind of fill in a color a good
cream polish is able to do that quite effectively now it’s not going to be
permanent so if you use something like the Saphir Reno Mat or a leather
cleaning soap it will pull some of that pigment off
which wouldn’t occur if you used an alcohol-based a leather dye but it’s a
great way to repair scratches or scuffs any type of damage to your leather and
you know really is totally effective and eighty to ninety percent of all the use
cases so if you have any type of scratches or discoloration you have a
nice open grain leather I really would encourage you to just experiment with
how effective a really high-quality cream polish can be and concealing that
damage our fourth question today is from Tyler Clendenin and it’s on our video on
how to choose the right shoe polish color
it reads great video looking back at whenever I first started collecting and
investing in high quality shoes I definitely was way too freaked out about
matching polish to shoe color I remember studying the light brown and wondering
whether it was safe for a copper museum for an hour super helpful of you to put
them on white paper especially for a color like Bordeaux which looks way
better with the contrast than what I would have imagined that when you see it
in the container so Tyler thank you so much for that I mean I think you really
hit on such an important part of just kind of the evolution of someone that is
really beginning to enjoy shining their shoes I mean for me personally and for a
lot of our customers you know for someone that is just starting out really
doesn’t have any experience shining their shoes they’re often intimidated
and afraid that they’re somehow gonna mess up or ruin their shoes and it
really couldn’t be any farther from the farther from the reality I mean in the
beginning everyone’s a little bit nervous maybe a little bit stressed out
concerned whether or not they’re doing it right but once you get a little bit
experience behind you and begin to relax that’s whatever you really begin to
enjoy and experience the magic of shining your own shoes and the magic of
shining your own shoes is being able to play around with the polished colors
like an artist palette and really evolve the look of your shoes
you know darker or lighter begin introducing different colors now I’m not
saying you’re going to introduce you know purple to light brown pair of shoes
but you can certainly introduce a little bit of medium
Brown to your life brown shoes and begin to see that color evolve or maybe you’re
gonna add cognac to a medium brown shoe or a mahogany you know to a medium brown
pair of shoes and introduced some Reds and some other Browns so you know once
you get into it you relax a little bit you begin to have fun with it and that’s
the best advice I can give to anyone that’s just starting out to really take
care of their shoes themselves and that’s the not stress about it and to
have fun and to be OK seeing the finish or the patina of your shoes evolve
because that’s really what sets separates a beautiful pair of shoes that
someone has loved and cared for for years from a pair that’s fresh off the
shelf if you need any help getting started of course we have an extensive
library of videos on this channel to help you learn how to polish your shoes
and to help you learn how to do a beautiful mirror shine and to even help
you learn how to antique your shoes now one of our other viewers Darth Vader
who is a frequent commentator on this channel makes a great point to this
question and he says that I used to also think too much about matching polish
colors and then I realized that you can mix the colors on shoes and that’s
another great point and that all these clean polishes can be mixed so if you
really are looking for the perfect match you know by you know two or three
different polishes and play around with mixing them in a separate little dish so
that you can create your own custom color or polish totally acceptable and
another great way that you can just add that personalized touch to the way that
you take care of your shoes our last question today is from Sherri McConaghy
a female commenter on this channel thank you so much sherry and her comment reads
do you recommend using a neutral polish my husband has a beautiful pair of
oxblood shoes but matching the color shade is proving very difficult so a
great question Sherry I admire you being so engaged and actually taking care of
your husband’s shoes and you know the reality is is as I said there’s no such
thing as a perfect match it just doesn’t exist so you know you just need to kind
of let go of the idea that gonna have the shoes look exactly the
same and really be okay seeing the color of the shoes of all now the next thing
that I want to say and I’ve said this in this video also is that none of these
shoe polish colors especially the creams are going to a hundred percent change
the color of your shoes the pigment is always a little bit transparent is going
to evolve the shoe so if the shoe polish looks especially dark you know test it
on a small you know hidden area of the shoe just to see how that leather is
going to react but more likely than not you know you’re just gonna see a more of
a tinting effect than anything else and that is perfectly acceptable and
beautiful if you’re really worried about changing the color a pair of shoes I
always recommend using a shade lighter now in something like an ox blood where
we only have one color that really matches that it’s gonna be difficult and
in that case I’d recommend just trying to either you know really evolve a
patina of those shoes by seeing kind of where that polish takes them or you can
dilute them using the neutral cream polish
if you have any questions or need any help on matching the proper color polish
remember that one you can always order sample so you don’t
have to commit to buying a full jar second we have an Allen Edmonds shoe
polish color matching guide on our website and then we also have a video
that goes through the same thing that shows you in a little bit greater detail
kind of the magic of some of these colors so if you have any questions
we’re here to help check out our videos we’ve developed extensive content on
that of course we’re only going to be developing more videos so if you have
any questions please ask them in the comment section below
email customer service check out and of course look through
our full archive of videos once again I’d like to take a moment to thank
everyone for their comments and questions it’s your engagement on our
YouTube channel that make these Q&A videos possible not only do these Q nays
give me an opportunity to answer in greater depth a lot of the questions
that I’m already answering but they allow me to take a moment to acknowledge
my appreciation for everyone’s involvement in this channel I absolutely
enjoy this platform I really have fun interacting with you
answering your questions if you haven’t taken an opportunity to ask a question
or make a comment I invite you to do so even if you don’t have any questions to
ask just sharing your opinion or your thoughts about our content just helps
grow this community I read all those questions and comments
personally and really do enjoy getting back to them as many as I possibly can
if you enjoyed this video give us a thumbs up and please subscribe to our
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anything we discussed on this video please ask them in the comment section
below and of course please visit where we have the largest
most comprehensive collection of luxury garment care and shoe care accessories
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publish here on our YouTube channel I’m Kirby Allison and thanks for joining me


  • Hi Kirby, after i gave my info to customer support about 3 weeks ago so they could send me your "special token" is there some problem with shipment because I haven't received it yet.

  • I like seeing the variations of color develop over time.

  • Hi Kerby – multiple time customer here. My comment is a technical one – the music is mixed way to loud in the video. I sometimes lose what it is that you are saying. The music should fade out after you begin speaking and only come back when you are in between questions. If the ambient music was this loud in a restaurant we would definitely complain. Otherwise, keep up the great work!

  • Kirby thank you for your videos. I have always loved shoes but didn’t know how to properly polish and care for them. Because of your videos, I am absolutely confident now. My question is if you were to purchase your first bespoke pair of shoes, where would you purchase them?

  • Awesome questions, thanks for breaking down in detail the polish use and the point of transparency. Thanks again Kirby.

  • Hi from Russia!

  • I do appreciate your channel I've learned a great deal in a very short time great stuff

  • Thanks to Mr. Allison’s techniques I shine my brown Allen Edmonds and Becket Simonin cap toe oxfords with a diferrent color saphir cream polish every time, which adds a nice depth to the shoes. Purchsing from was great too.

  • What’s the difference between Medaille D’or and Beauté du Cuir Pate de luxe?

  • I love these Q & A videos. Great job.

  • Hey Kirby! Any tips on how to clean your shoes that you use in rainy weather/snowy weather?

  • Thanks for a great video! I recently ordered some items of your website and can’t wait to use them!

  • Kirby, can you go through each of the polish and cream types to explain the differences and the purpose of each?

  • Can you consider doing a video on premium sweaters? Personally while I understand that sweater and Blazer is a less formal look. In my opinion it is also one of worse styles in men wear. Plus I think we are all tired of someone trying to sell us a blazer. Because it goes well with jeans.

  • Thank you for another great video. I have a question about so-called Museum Calf. I was told this leather is suitable for formal shoes yet water resistant in some degree. Have you heard about it? You know, for a person living in a rainy country, it just sounds too good to be true.

  • Mr. Allison: Thank you for taking time to address my question, both in writing and in this video. I ordered and used the #34, and I’m extremely happy with the color complement. Thanks again.

  • Question – so I know you're supposed to have two brushes, one for your browns and one for black. But what about a color like oxblood? Should you have a third brush?

  • Still hoping that a white cream polish comes out some day for us Navy guys with white uniform shoes. Only white polish I know of is Kiwi, and it takes several layers to cover any scuff.

  • I have several tan leather portfolios, fountain pen holders and notebook, checkbook and passport covers. After leaving the fountain pen holders packed away for several years following my retirement to the beach, I recently decided to nourish and restore them. I intended to use Renovateur, but inadvertently applied neutral Saphir cream polish instead (containers look alike and I wasn't reading). After buffing, they came out with a slightly harder waxed feel, appear more burnished and better protected and, surprisingly, ever so slightly darker. I like the results so much so that I now polish my leather flip flops with neutral cream instead of applying leather conditioner. So now I'm wondering, since cream polish has more pigment than paste wax, what does neutral cream have more of than neutral paste?

  • Hi Kirby! I have a question regarding polishing with a colored polish vs a neutral– I have a pair of cowboy boots that are a really lovely vibrant red that I'd like to keep polished, at least to help preserve the leather, but I'm concerned about using a colored polish on something like a cowboy boot that has a lot of lighter colored stitching. Would you recommend using a neutral polish to avoid staining the stitching or do you think a red-toned polish would be better for preserving the color of the leather itself?

  • Very usefull. Thanks.

  • Kirby, what are your thoughts on not having a mirror shine on dress shoes? I only use the Saphir Pommadier because I prefer less waxes on my shoes and prefer a more subdued shine. Is this in bad taste? Is a mirror shine always preferred/desired for dress shoes?

  • Kirby, I wanted to take a moment and thank you for all of the fantastic, in depth content that you have provided through you're channel. I have watched a number of the shoe shining videos. I then purchased 4 different colors of the Saphir cream and wax polish from you after watching you work with them and listening to you speak so highly of them throughout the videos. I could not be more pleased with the results I have had following the directions and using the products you have shown. What was once a somewhat cumbersome, worrisome chore, has now become a relaxing, incredibly rewarding project that I look forward to completing every time I start. Every time I polish my shoes, my confidence grows and the outcome shows! I am so grateful for this channel and the information you have provided us with!!

  • Thanks Kirby for featuring and answering my inquiry with great detail. Definitely cleared things up! Looking forward to those beautiful shoelaces!

  • Hi Kirby Can you advise the best course to take where an area of the shoe on the toe does not seem to take polish and remains dull about the size of a dime. Many Thanks and keep up the great work love the channel.

  • Great Q&A Thanks for all the info.

  • Hey Kirby great video. Thanks for the knowledge.

  • Hi Kerby, my mirror shine has cracked into little pieces. Can I melt them with a heat gun & reuse it?

  • Kirby – Your videos are fantastic. Thank you for being a trusted resource for the well dressed man.

  • I thought Darth Vader only wear black!

  • Hi Kirby,
    I have been enjoying your videos and plan to do quite a bit of work on all my shoes once I receive my products. The question I have is about a custom pair of genuine elephant cowboy boots. I need advice on how to care for the elephant. I've just been using Lexol cleaner and conditioner since they are pH neutral and recommend by the bookmakers. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • Hi Kirby. Could you do a video on gentleman's button braces (formal, business appropriate & casual – e.g. under a linen jacket, or in cooler weather under a flannel or tweed day jacket).

  • Hi Kirby, is there any leather conditioning product that does not darken the leather?

  • Hi Mr Allison:First, thank you for your dedication to providing a wealth of information through your YouTube Channel, BLOG, Hanger Project website etc.  I have learned much about artisans, craftsmen, products and approaches to shoe and wardrobe care from you. My question is specific to the Saphir product line.  I've seen the Cream Polish is packaged and labeled slightly differently, and your website is the only place where I've found any indications about the best application for each of the various cream products.  I think you have a Saphir video that I'll try to find and rewatch.If you think it would help your customers/viewers, i might suggest a video or a moment in a Q&A that explains the differences and use cases for the Medialle D'Or, Pommadier, and Beaute de Cuir.  I.E. Medialle on boots, Pommadier on whole grain, and Beaute on corrected grain – I think?  I have a vintage pair of Stuart McGuier Ortho-Vent captoes oxfords, and a pair of J&M Passports split-toe derbys that both look like corrected grain (smooth and a bit shiny, and lower quality than full grain) so I was wondering what the best polish would be for them.  I am thinking the Beaute may be it, but was curious about your experienced recommendation.Thank again,James

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