Shoe Cream vs Polish: Are You Looking for the Better One?

Shoes, without a doubt, have become one of the most wanted items in the fashion world. If you think you can own a pair of boots or sneakers just by purchasing them, you are completely wrong! Buying is just the beginning. Shoes need great care to withstand external factors in the long run.

The first thing appearing in your mind may be the shoe polish. It is common knowledge that this can extend the longevity of sneakers or boots. But have you ever heard about shoe cream? Is it an alternative to preserving the gleaming look of your boots?

If so, which is the better one: shoe cream vs polish? Read on to find out why we recommend the shoe polish more. As you read, you will find details about each product’s pros, proper usage guidelines, necessary equipment, and step-by-step instructions.

Details About Shoe Polish

This product always existed in several forms for hundreds of years. But the first shoe polish as we know it today comprised glycerin, oil, soda ash, and the most essential ingredient: wax. In the early 1900s, Hamilton MacKellan and William Ramsay decided to mix all these materials, and that is how the shoe polish appeared.

As its name suggests, shoe polish was created to polish shoes. It works by applying wax layers to the outside of leather shoes, which can then be rubbed to a fine edge. It does not penetrate the leather.

After years of development, there is a wide range of brands for shoe polish. However, the early bird catches the worm. The shoe polish brand “Kiwi” founded by Hamilton and William is still on top for over 100 years.

Shoe Polish vs Shoe Cream: Why Should It Be the Former One

Leather is skin, therefore it contains blemishes and flaws just like ours. Consider a woman who uses cosmetics to level out her skin tone; polish works in the same principle.

After a long time of usage, leather sheds its coat. Tiny flakes are falling off every second, but they are too small to witness with bare eyes. Other factors, as mentioned above can also contribute to deteriorating the outer layers of a leather shoe.

To slacken these processes, people use shoe polish to protect the leather from being lusterless and lengthen the lifespan of a footwear. Since leather boots may be a costly investment, proper care is comprehensible.

Since there are various types and brands of shoe polishes around the world, you do not need to worry when it comes to finding one. Except for Kiwi shoe polish, as we mentioned above, Lincoln Stain Wax is a best-seller in this industry. Despite the poor variety of colors, Lincoln stands out thanks to its quality and reasonable cost.

But a high-quality product still needs proper usage. To retain your shoes’ shiny look, polish them frequently. Don’t know how to yet? Read on to find out.

The Right Way to Use Shoe Polish

You should build up a habit of applying a layer of polish on the surface of your shoes before going out. Unblemished shoes may provide a classic look to your ensemble.

Necessary equipment:

  • A shoe polish product
  • A soft cloth
  • A hard brush

Step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Find a suitable surface

No one wants to work with shoes on uneven terrain, so the first thing is choosing a suitable surface to start. You can cover the area with a wide newspaper to prevent the shoe polish from dirtying unwished parts.

Step 2: Clean your shoes

Just like humans, shoes need to be cleaned before any make-up. Use a hard brush to get rid of the stains and dirt on your shoes.

Step 3: Utilize the polish

Use a soft cloth to apply an adequate amount of polish to your footwear.

Top Tip: Since the shoe polish has a distinct odor and color, your shoes will be too dull if you overuse it.

Step 5: Finishing

After you’ve applied a significant portion of shoe polish to the complete heel, you must shine it. Reaching that glossy sheen might take some time, so don’t be frustrated if it is not effective at the beginning.

Step 6: Highlighting

Like make-up, we need to highlight some parts to make the shoes extraordinary. For additional shine, dab little drops of water on some parts and polish with a towel.

Details About Shoe Cream

So you have all the information about shoe polish. But that is not enough to make the right decision of which one is better: boot cream vs polish.

Among different types of shoe polish, shoe cream has gained a reputation for its efficiency. By adding color to your shoes, this form of shoe polish contributes to the maintenance of the natural condition of your shoes.

Unlike shoe polish that is mainly made up of wax, there is a tiny amount of this ingredient in shoe cream. Other materials are high-pigment content, including ethylene glycol, gum arabic, etc.

This product is a perfect treatment for concealing imperfections and patchy discoloration, but not for the finest finish like shoe polish. It can leave a more matte appearance, similar to the sheen seen on satin paint.

Shoe Cream vs Shoe Polish

Shoe cream will reach the best result with frequent usage. It provides your sneakers with a brand new and well-cared appearance, which can prolong their lifespan. In comparison to shoe polish, shoe cream earns extra points thanks to its thin coating which improves the natural color of the leather.

Why is this helpful? Imagine you inadvertently apply the wrong color polish on your shoes. What a nightmare it is. But with shoe cream, it does not generate a different tint, and it is also removable.

Among numerous brands of shoe cream, Saphir Pommadier Cream, makes its name because of the basis of genuine shea butter. This base serves as an ideal conditioner for the leather to protect it from cracking in the long term.

Saphir Pommadier Cream has a wide variety of colors; up to 11 ones. It gives the leather a subtle color but not much sparkle. If you want your dress boots to be brighter, use Meltonian or Kiwi products instead.

Top Tip: Shoe cream is well known in natural and synthetic forms. It is similar at the first glance, but doubtlessly, the natural one is more efficient. So, pay more attention to the details outside the box to find a suitable one.

Boot Cream vs Polish: Which One is Easier to Use

As we said above, purchasing an ideal product is never enough. You must take notice when applying these protectors to your shoes. Here is the way to use boot cream properly.

Necessary equipment:

  • Boot cream product
  • Horsehair brush
  • A soft cloth or some cotton pads
  • Leather conditioner

Step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Select the right color

Shoe cream may have up to 11 colors, so you should find a suitable one. It does not have to be exact, but try your best to select the same tone with your sneakers.

Step 2: Find a surface and remove debris from your shoes

It is the same as the Polish method.

Step 3: Lather up the leather conditioner

Apply a thin coat of leather conditioner on the entire surface of your leather boots. This process moisturizes the leather, which leads to better shoe cream absorption.

Top Tip: Leave it to rest for at least 15 minutes before the next steps.

Step 4: Gently rub the shoe cream

Opt for circular motions using cotton pads or a cloth. Then, wait for it for about five minutes.

Top Tip: Like polish, you should not be too generous while applying the shoe cream.

What is the Difference Between Kiwi Shoe Cream and Polish

With brands having both cream and polish (such as Kiwi), the difference between the two is a burning question. It is common knowledge that both shoe polish and cream serve as protectors of your shoes.

But there are still some minor distinctions between these two. Shoe polish creates a glossy and special coating over your shoes by covering minor scratches. It is also long lasting and waterproofing, so you can maintain the high sheen of the boots all day long.

Meanwhile, shoe cream makes its name for original features. It serves as an ideal conditioner while also adding a consistent hue. Despite a unique look, your shoes after using this product cannot gain high gloss.


Hopefully, you have gained enough knowledge about these two shoe protectors. Shoe cream vs polish is always a passionate debate that no one can state a holistic answer to. So, what about you, which one do you find better? A high glossy wax polish, or a moisturizer shoe cream? Please let us know in the comment section!

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