Military service members, police, and other members of the disciplined forces should sport mirror-finish tactical boots. While it might not be a requirement, there is nothing that beats a spit-finish shine polish. 5.11 Tactical® Experts have created this easy-to-understand step-by-step guide you can follow to shine tactical boots or daily wear and formal events shoes. Shine your shoes and put your best foot forward.
Supplies You’ll Use To Spit-Shine Your Shoes
First and foremost, prepare your workspace because it might get messy. Find some room to work, keeping in mind that the process can get messy. Grab some old towels, old bedsheets, or rags and cover the surface to protect against unforeseen catastrophe.
Thereafter, gather your supplies. You’ll need:
- Rubbing alcohol
- Polishing cloths (a 100% cotton will best serve you)
- Shine brush (horsehair brush is the way to go, as it’s less likely to damage your boots)
- Wax shoe polish
- Cotton-tipped applicators and cotton balls
The Step-By-Step Process To Shine Your Tactical Boots
Step #1: Prepare Your Boots
The perfect shine starts with a solid foundation. Prepare to polish your boots by removing dirt, debris, and dust from the sole and upper of your shoes. To this end, use a horsehair brush.
Dampen the horsehair brush slightly (a brush with synthetic bristles will scratch your boots) and brush the shoes with a gentle back-and-forth motion.
Step #2: Apply A Base Coat
If your boots have a base coat, you can skip the second step and head straight to the third step of polishing your boots. Otherwise, you need to apply a base coat to your tactical boots.
Start by applying a thick layer of polish in intricate circular motions using a soft 100% cotton cloth.
Let the shoes rest for 15 minutes for the base coat to dry.
Scrub the shoes with a clean, dry cloth or vigorously brush the boots to remove the excess polish. At this stage, you’ll not see a great shine. The base coat only serves to smooth out any irregularities and bumps present on the leather. The base layer is the foundation on which to get a spit-finish.
After brushing off the excess polish or cleaning with a cloth, let the shoes sit for another 15 minutes or so.
Step 3: Polish Your Boots
After the shoes have absorbed the base layer, use the following steps to spit-shine your shoes:
Start by wrapping your middle and index fingers with a clean and dry cotton cloth. Using the covered fingers, pick a small amount of polish and apply the polish. Using small circular motions, apply the polish all over the shoes. Pick up more polish as you go along.
Do the same polishing process for the other shoe. As you polish, switch back and forth between the shoes to allow time for each shoe to dry.
Once you’ve applied the polish onto the two shoes, take another cloth and dampen it in water. Dampening the cotton cloth inhibits polish absorption from your shoes. To stay true to the spit shining, you can substitute water with saliva. Wring the cloth and wrap it around your middle and index fingers.
Pick up a small amount of polish and apply it onto your shoes using small, circular motions as before. When the polish stops transferring to your shoes or turns grey, shift your fingers to a new dampened part of the cloth. Pick up some polish, and continue applying the polish. Repeat this process until you finish both shoes.
While switching between the shoes, repeat applying polish using a damp cloth six to seven times. With every layer of polish you apply, the boot’s shine will get glossier, taking you closer to the ultimate spit-finish.
After you’ve applied all the layers of polish, use a dry cotton cloth to buff the shoes.
The final step is to stare into your shining spit-finished tactical boots and enjoy the outcome of handy work.
Pro-Tips For Shining Tactical Boots
For the best results, your tactical boots need a thick base coat and a smooth foundation. The process outlined here can only work when you follow them in the right order. The foundational base coat is essential if you want a mirror finish.
Other considerations to keep in mind when it comes to polishing tactical boots include:
– Always use small, circular motions when applying polish.
– Only work with thin layers of polish.
Finally, you should note that the first shine will be the hardest. After applying the solid base coat, the process becomes much faster and easier.
Jerome is an avid outdoorsman who moonlights as an attorney when he’s not creating the world’s greatest online content.