How to Spit-Shine Combat Boots

First, it’s important to know there are no shortcuts to a properly shined pair of combat boots. Although products do exist to give you a quick shine, in the long run they’re worthless and even damaging to your boots. Yes, you with the parade gloss – throw it out and learn how to do the job right. Real spit-shining takes a lot of time and a lot of effort, but anyone who knows how to do it can spot a faker a mile away. Do yourself a favor and put in the time.

What You’ll Need
A pair of combat boots, preferably a worn-in pair
A hard-bristled scrub brush
A soft-bristled scrub brush
Black Kiwi polish
A soft rag

Step One:
Clean Your Boots

First, take out the laces. To do the job right, you can’t neglect the tongue of the boot. Using the hard-bristled brush, briskly scrub the entire boot. Heel, toe, sides, tongue, sole. This removes all dirt, dust and excess polish which may dull your final result.

Step Two:
Apply Polish

Wrap the rag around your first two fingers. Using the tips of your fingers, dip the rag in water, then scoop out some Kiwi polish. Don’t be afraid to load up the first time. Apply the polish to your boot – again, the entire boot. Don’t just focus on the heel and toe; while these areas will give off the most shine, you also need to put some serious work into the sides and tongue. Also, don’t just glaze the surface. Put some muscle into it and rub the polish thoroughly into the leather.

Step Three:
Apply “Spit”

While you can actually spit on your boots if you so wish, water has the same effect. Dip your rag in the water, still using the first two fingers of your hand, and pick a spot on the boot to work on. Rub the water in just the same as you did the polish, until the boot is dry. If you’ve polished as deeply as you should’ve, you’ll begin to see a milky glow. Don’t even think about stopping now – you’re nowhere near done. Repeat this process over the surface of the entire boot, making sure to rub the water into each spot with equal, thorough force.

Step Four:
Start All Over Again

Your boots are looking a lot better than when you started, right? They’ll get better. Now apply a thinner, sparing coat of polish over the whole boot. Then repeat the process with the water, rubbing it in over the entire surface. Repeat these two steps over and over again. It’s not fun, and it’s not easy. Don’t expect instant gratification. The boots you see on your drill sergeants have been undergoing this process for years and years, polished to the point where the polish has nearly turned to varnish. If you want that kind of shine, you’ll have to work for it. Eventually, if you stick with it long enough, your boots will take on the glassy shine you were hoping for.

Step Five:
Finish It Off

Once you’re satisfied – or once you’ve given up – use your soft-bristled brush to lightly, lightly scrub over your whole boot. This will remove any excess polish and buff the surface. Once you’ve finished, apply a very light coat of polish around the outside of the sole so it’s a uniform black all around. Now lace it back up, and you’re done!

Step Six:
But Wait…

Now you have the other boot to shine. Have fun!

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