How to Polish Tan Leather Shoes

Updated April 17, 2017

Most shoes for men tend to be either black or brown leather. Tan shoes are a rarity. As a result, you may have to search for polish for tan shoes. Nevertheless, it's important that tan shoes look their best simply because they are a rarity and may get more attention than run-of-the-mill black or brown shoes. Polishing shoes, in general, extends their life and is the mark of a well-groomed individual.

Examine your tan shoes each time you put them on to determine that the heel and soles of the shoes are in good condition and don't need to be repaired.

Use a soft cloth to wipe off any dust that may have settled on the tops of your tan shoes. Remove any dirt or mud that may be attached to the bottom of the shoe soles or that might be lodged between the sole and the shoe base. Dampen a rag or paper towel that you can throw away after cleaning dirt deposits.

Determine what kind of polish you want to use. Look for liquid shoe polish if you want a quick way to spiff up your shoes. Liquid polishes are convenient and don't require soiling your hands. When applied, liquid shoe polish restores colour, dries to a gloss finish and covers some scuff marks. Do not use liquid polish on suede or nappy leather shoes. Liquid polish suitable for tan shoes is usually named 'Neutral".

To apply liquid polish, remove the bottle cap and press the sponge applicator tip several times on the shoe leather to start the liquid flow. Using smooth even pressure, apply the polish in long strips, starting at the shoe toe and moving to the heel. Keep the applicator moving, but don't press too frequently or you may put on too much polish.

Use paste polish if you want to give your shoes a long-lasting, high-gloss, professional finish. You can find tan-coloured paste polish. Work the paste into leather and seams in a small circular motion using a soft cloth.

Take a soft towel, and fold it over several times, lengthwise. Put on the shoes and prop up one foot at a time on a stair or other raised surface. Buff the shoes with the towel by sliding the towel back and forth across the top and sides of the shoe. As an alternate to towel buffing, use a horsehair shoe brush to briskly rub the polished shoe all over to get a deep, natural shine and lustre.


There is a risk of slightly changing the original colour of tan shoes when using any polish on them.


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About the Author

Marla Currie has written professionally since 1995. She is editor and publisher of The Urban Shopper, an online magazine whose consumerist content is targeted to Black and Latino females. In addition to short fiction, Currie is author of "The Humours of Black Life," a nonfiction work. She has a master's degree in advertising.