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Shoe Care – Polishing School Shoes

Girl and boy in school shoes on rope

Taking care of your child's school shoes - Keep school shoes looking fresh and clean for longer with our handy polishing guide.

We want the shoes you buy from Start-Rite to last, that’s why we’re constantly carrying out numerous tests on our products, to ensure they stand up to the toughest challenges. To help school shoes look good for longer, we always recommend that you polish them on a regular basis. Below are some questions that we get asked and also a handy guide to polishing leather shoes that we hope you’ll find useful.

1. Why would you want to apply polish?

Polishing shoes on a regular basis protects the leather from getting wet, but does not make it waterproof! Polish will stop the leather from drying out and cracking if applied regularly. It also conditions the leather, improves durability, and will keep your shoes looking new.

2. When should I polish shoes?

Its best to polish new shoes before wearing them for the first time, to give them a protective coating. If your shoes get wet do not dry near a radiator, stuff with newspaper and allow them to dry naturally to prevent the leather from hardening and possibly cracking. Wet shoes which have not been protected sometimes get a white salt mark appear in the leather, applying polish will disguise, however it will reappear once heat from the foot has warmed the leather. Polishing the shoes will prevent this from happening. Polishing also covers up scuff marks on ‘dye-through leather’, which is used in our black leather school shoes.

3. What products should I use?

Black leather shoes either use polish which can be applied by a brush or liquid polish, which has a sponge applicator. Buff with a cloth after it has dried to get a shine if required. For coloured shoes use a lint free cloth and apply to the leather in circular motions to cover all parts of the shoe. Buff with a cloth to remove excess polish. ‘Dye-through leather’ is where in the tanning process the leather is dyed all the way through, making it more durable and harder wearing.

4. How often should I use polish or protector?

Protector can be used on leather and suede footwear. It is best to spray new suede boots or shoes before you wear them. Spray in a well-ventilated area about three feet away all over. Allow to dry. By spraying your boots, it makes them water resistant and prevents the white salt marks appearing from the elements. Protector can also be used on top of polish on leather footwear. It will seal the polish and make them water resistant. Always check that your purchase is leather or suede leather.

5. What are the best ways of looking after my school shoes?

Clean and polish on a regular basis; invest in a set of shoe brushes; allow your footwear to breathe naturally when not wearing them; and if they get wet, let them dry naturally and apply polish once they are dry to prevent the leather from cracking.

Below is a helpful guide to polishing leather shoes courtesy of shoe care specialists Victor De Banke

Step 1 – CLEAN

Apply a quality Famaco Cleaning Mousse 125ml. This foam cleaner is effective and easy to use when applied with a sponge or brush. Work the foam into the leather to remove dirt, stains and old polish residue to provide a clean base.

Step 2 – APPLY

Apply Famaco Protector directly onto the leather and allow to dry for five minutes.


To renovate leather, apply a Famaco 50ml Cream Polish ensuring you find a good colour match. Apply the cream using a cloth or dauber brush in a circular motion to work the cream into the leather. Allow to dry before buffing to a high-shine with a polishing cloth or brush.

Where the leather has been scuffed, it’s recommended that the Famacolor 15ml dye renovation cream is applied. An exact shade match must be found from the 45 shades available. Apply using a cloth or brush building up the layers, allowing the cream to dry between each application until the required result is achieved. Once completely dry buff to a shine using a polishing cloth or brush.

Step 4 - PROTECT

To protect leather, suede, nubuck and fabrics from dirt, oil and water the Famaco Protector 250ml spray is recommended. Apply three more coats of protector, leave to dry between coats. As soon as new shoes are bought a coat of protector spray is recommended to ensure maximum protection. Applying protector at least once a week there after will prolong the life of the shoes.

All the products mentioned above can be purchased HERE