How to Polish Army Boots

Updated February 21, 2017

Army boots are widely available, durable and often cheap. And unlike most hiking or work boots, they are meant to be polished into a high shine, making them suitable for occasions where another pair of boots would be unwelcome. Polishing boots is an elementary skill learnt by everyone who has ever served in the U.S. military, and it can also be mastered by anyone who picks up a pair of surplus army boots.

Remove the laces from the boots, and clean off all dirt and grime, using a stuff brush, saddle soap, rags and a bowl of water. Let the boots dry before proceeding.

Apply black shoe polish over all the leather surfaces of the boots.

Wrap a rag around one or two fingers, and polish a boot's surfaces using small, tight circular motions. Repeat on the other boot. To bring both boots to a high gleam, this will take between one and three hours, depending on the condition of the boots and your own skill level.

Buff the boots to a high gleam using an old piece of pantyhose or strip of cloth from a T-shirt. Take the strip in both hands, and run it back and forth along the boot's surfaces.

Thread the bootlaces back onto the boots.

Things You'll Need

  • Stiff shoe brush
  • Bowl
  • Saddle soap
  • Rags
  • Black shoe polish
  • Shoe polish brush
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