Having a pair of well-shined shoes is reminiscent of the classic sense of dress; it conveys a level of sophistication on the part of the wearer.

A proper spitshine technique involves the application of specialist shoe wax to achieve a mirror-like gloss finish. And, they say that the true test of a quality spitshine is whether one can gaze at their own reflection.

But this time-honoured method not only enhances the appearance of shoes but is also part and parcel of a proper shoe care routine. A proper spitshine nourishes and protects the leather, ensuring longevity and durability.

The spitshine or mirror shine is no longer a way to display wealth but rather for the everyday man to explore a sense of sartorial charm and distinction. This can be with a more relaxed weekend outfit or for your boardroom meeting attire.

The step-by-step guide

A person having his shoes polished

A common misconception is that adding wax and buffing it out will result in a high shine. Rather, it is about the meticulous balance of water with wax throughout the process that results in a good shine.

Water is so important that without it, one would have to be creative. In fact, we can thank the military for the etymology of the name Spitshine. In the absence of water, one would resort to using their saliva as lubricant, in conjunction with shoe polish, to create the mirror shine on their military boots!

Polishing a shoe

In building a spitshine, the intention is very much to build – to form successive layers of wax on top of each other.

Stage 1

Apply a healthy amount of specialist, hard wax polish like the Paul Brunngard spitshine using a cotton cloth. Once ready to apply onto the shoe, polish in circular motion with a particular focus on the toe and heel of the shoe.

Helpful Tip #1

Harder waxes, like the Spitshine, should be applied to only the toe and heel of the shoe, as to avoid cracking as the shoe flexes during normal use. On the other hand, softer waxes with a medium amount of gloss like the Sublime Wax can be applied to the body of the shoe.

Stage 2

The first step needs to be repeated for each layer, but ought to be interspersed with water, which is polished into the shoe. With each successive repeat, the surface should slowly turn from a matte like finish to shiny.

Stage 3

As you approach the finish line, start easing the quantity of wax on your cloth. Continue polishing the shoe, but, this time, alongside warm water or even your breath. The result is that heat and moisture help seal the mirror finish. Finally, brush with a polishing brush that has ultra-soft bristles such as the Yakhair brush or Goathair brush. Bear in mind that harder brushes can actually start removing the wax layer.

Helpful Tip #2

During the last stage, if too much wax is applied, then you will get a matte finish and risk uneven drying of the wax layer, usually resulting in cracking of the wax layer.

How to choose the Right Polish: Hard Waxes vs Soft Waxes

Some polishes are meant for re-pigmentation such as the Paul Brunngard Artistic Cream. These moisture, nourish, and reinvigorates the colours. But a specialist shine product will be necessary for the spitshine or mirror shine.

What lends to the shine is not the wax itself, but the successive layers of wax on top of one another – almost like building a house. However, if the wax is too soft, then the house can crumble. In order to achieve multi-layered shine, the product should contain as many hard waxes as possible. The harder the wax, the easier it is to achieve a spitshine.

Designed by Swedish shoeshining champion, Mr Anders Sundstrom, a specialist product like the Paul Brunngard Spitshine will have the right concentrates of hardwaxes for an optimal spitshine. The spitshine, itself, is of a hard structure which allows for one to build repeated layers of shine. At the heart of Brunngard's approach lies a reverence for tradition, combined with a keen eye for innovation. Rather than having a single colour, the Spitshine itself is available in four different colours for better shining performance.

In addition to the spitshine technique, Paul Brunngard offers a range of premium shoe care products designed to cater to every aspect of the shoe shining routine. From high-quality polishes and conditioners to specialised brushes and buffing cloths, each product is meticulously formulated to deliver exceptional results.

A pair of brown shoes

Much like having a cleanly ironed shirt or pressed trousers, a polished pair of shoes shows attention to detail. It is a way to explore sartorial distinction.

For a video, step-by-step guide, watch Arterton’s guide on the spitshine with Mr Anders Sundstrom (Swedish Shoeshining Champion).