Is Darkening the Same as Polishing Boots?

People often get confused between the two terms; polishing and darkening of boots.

Whereas, there is no similarity between them!

The truth is that polishing is entirely different from darkening when it comes to boots and this article will tell you why!

Is Darkening the Same as Polishing Boots

While polishing is temporary, darkening on the other hand is a long term effect. Polishing the boots will only increase the shine and lustre of the boots whereas darkening will change the colour of the boots from a lighter shade to a darker shade. While polishing can also darken the dull look of the boots, darkening the boots will not give your boots any shine!

This is not all that differentiates darkening from polishing, the both also vary in their processes, use of products and their effects and this article will explain each point to you in details…

Difference between polishing and darkening of boots

The table below will give you the details of the difference between the two processes:

Polishing of boots Darkening of boots
Boots need to be polished regularly, at least once in a week Boots are required to be darkened regularly, once darkened it retains its colour for a long term
Polishing helps to restore shine and lustre of the boots Darkening does not restore shine and lustre of the boots
Polishing increases the longevity of the boots Darkening does not increase the longevity of the boots
Polishing will not necessarily change the colour of the boots Darkening increases the shade of the colour of the boots
Polishing can be done by natural oils like coconut, olive, jojoba oil, etc. Darkening requires the use of commercial products, only with the exception of mink oil which sometimes slightly adds to the darkening effect
Polishing of boots takes short time Darkening of boots will take a bit longer
Polishing is necessary for maintenance of boots Darkening is not compulsory

Can I use shoe polish to darken leather?

Not always but yes with certain shoe polishes you can definitely get the darkening effect.

How to darken leather boots using polish without shining?

Steps to follow:

      • Select a wax based polish, say from the brand KIWI
      • Take out the wax polish using a wax polish brush and spread it evenly on the surface of the boots
      • After the polish has settled a bit, take a buffing brush and buff off the excess layer, but remember not to shine the boots with excess buffing
      • You can then apply a second coat of the polish and repeat the buffing

This process will only dull the appearance of the leather which in turn will make the leather look darker.

How to darken leather boots with a darker shade of polish?

Steps to follow:

      • Select a cream leather polish that is darker in shade than the colour of your leather boots
      • Apply the cream polish evenly on all the areas of the boots, including the heels and the bottom
      • Use a cream polish brush to polish the boots and make sure to shine them this time

How to darken leather boots using liquid shoe polish?

Steps to follow:

      • If your boots are light brown, select the dark brown shade, if your boots are of dark brown shade, select the black shade of the shoe polish
      • Apply two three coats of the liquid shoe polish on the leather boots and polish them regularly. In a week or so, your boots would have changed its colour

In case your boots are black in colour and has faded, apply the black shoe polish daily unless your boots have become super black!

Can you dye boots with shoe polish?

Yes, you can definitely dye boots with shoe polish just using the 3 ways mentioned in the above section.

In order to dye boots, the best way is to use the cream polish for a long term effect. The cream polish will gradually settle as a layer on the top of the boots with regular application and at the end, after a few applications your boots will have changed into the colour of the cream polish you have applied.

Remember to select the shade of the cream polish to a shade darker than your boots.

It’s time to bid Adieu!

So you see, it is possible to get darkening effect with using shoe polish!

You might not get any instant effect, but you are sure to get the desired effect over time and with regular use of the shoe polish!

But the shoe polishes with clear dye will never darken your leather boots.

That’s all for this article!

Follow link to know how to polish leather boots the right ways.

Hope you enjoyed reading the article; see you soon in our next column! Until then, take care and stay safe!

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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