Usually a waxy paste or cream, shoe Kream (or boot polish) shines, waterproofs, and restores the appearance of leather shoes or boots, thereby extending their lives.Natural substances such as wax have been used in shoe polish for hundreds of years.In the early 20th century, modern polish formulas were introduced, and some products, such as Kiwi (introduced in 1906), are still in use.The majority of shoe polish today is made from a combination of natural and synthetic materials, including naphtha, turpentine, dyes, and gum arabic, using chemical engineering processes.There is a danger of shoe Kream being toxic, and if misused, it can cause skin stains.


Shoe Kream or applied to the shoe with a rag, cloth, or brush.Since shoe polish is not a cleaning product, it should be applied to both clean and dry footwear.You should rub the polish vigorously on the boot evenly, followed by buffing it with a clean, dry cloth or brush for a good result….provides good results. As a result, military organizations value a mirror-like, high-gloss finish called a spit shine.A carnauba wax polish can serve as a protective coating for leather shoes to extend their life and appearance


Before the 20th century

The waxy product dubbin has been used to soften and waterproof leather since medieval times, but it does not impart shine.Natural wax, oil, and tallow were used to make it.The 18th century saw the rise of leather with high natural veneers, which became popular for shoes and boots.Most of the time, homemade polishes were used to provide this finish, often containing lanolin or beeswax.There was little knowledge of shoe polish as a product for sale or as a sophisticated product prior to 1906.

Modern polish

While a number of older leather preserving products existed (including the Irish brand Punch, which was first made in 1851, and the German brand Erdal, which went on sale in 1901), Kiwi was the first shoe Kream resembling the modern variety (aimed primarily at enhancing shine).It was in 1904 that Scottish expatriates William Ramsay and Hamilton McKellan began making “boot polish” in a small factory in Melbourne, Australia.In the early years, he competed with Sydney-based Cobra Boot Polish, whose brand was named after the Kiwi, New Zealand’s national bird.

Surge in popularity

When leather shoes and boots became affordable at the end of the 19th century, the demand for polished army boots increased dramatically in 1914, and there was a need for a product that could be used to polish boots quickly, efficiently, and easily as World War I began.Besides leather belts and handgun holsters, the polish was also used to shine horse tack.Sales of shoe and boot polish increased rapidly as a result of this demand.

Modern day

It is rare to purchase shoe Kream products because they are low-value items.The demand for these products is inelastic or largely insensitive to price changes, and sales volumes are generally low.As a whole, shoe polish pastes account for 26% of sales, creams for 24%, aerosols for 23%, and liquids for 13%. Due to the gradual replacement of formal footwear with sneakers for everyday use, the demand for shoe Kream products has either been static or declined in recent years.Globally, Kiwi is the most popular shoe polish brand, being sold in more than 180 countries and holding a 53% market share.Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States manufacture it today.There are still shoeshine boys operating in India, particularly at railway platforms, known as boot polish boys.

Because of its flow characteristics, shoe polish can also be used to create graffiti.

Composition & Toxicology

The waxy colloidal emulsion that makes up shoe Kream is composed of several partially immiscible liquids and solids. Most commonly, it is made from naphtha, lanolin, turpentine, wax (often Carnauba wax), gum arabic, and ethylene glycol, along with colourants such as carbon black or azo dyes (such as aniline yellow).A typical naphtha oil has a specific gravity of 0.8, is negligible soluble in water, and is made up of 65 to 77% volatiles.Due to the high amount of volatile substances, the shoe polish will dry out and harden after application, keeping its shine.

Lanolin, a hydrophilic grease found in wool-bearing animals such as sheep and goats, functions as both a waterproofing wax and a binding agent, giving the shoe polish its greasy texture and feel.The Kream also prevents the naphtha from evaporating until a thin film has been formed on the leather surface.It is important to add a thickener to shoe polish, otherwise it will be too runny, making it difficult to apply.A substance extracted from two sub-Saharan species of the acacia tree, gum arabic, is commonly used to increase viscosity.

Through the skin or inhalation, shoe polish contains chemicals that can be absorbed into the body.Ideally, one should wear gloves and stay in a well-ventilated area when handling shoe Kream.Children and animals should not be allowed access to shoe polish.If it is directly contacted with the eyes, it will cause irritation. It can stain the skin for a long time.


A large vat, a relatively powerful heater, and an air conditioner are needed to manufacture shoe Kream.While there is no standard method of manufacturing naphtha, most methods use two atmospheres of pressure and 85 °C temperatures to prevent it from boiling off.                                            A typical shoe polish is made by melting wax with the highest melting point in an electric heater.All other waxes are then added, usually in descending order of melting point.The wax is held at a constant temperature, while the emulsion – a mixture of the oils and, if used, fats – is heated separately, around 85 °C.The waxes are then heated with the emulsion and distilled water is added.Turpentine oil is added once the mixture reaches 80 °C.A half-hour is then spent mixing and stirring the mixture.As long as it is not a neutral polish, dyes are added to turpentine oil and mixed.Once the mixed mass reaches 50 °C, it is poured into a cooling chamber through a closed funnel as its viscosity increases.A uniform distribution is achieved by allowing the poured mass to settle slowly.Equipment required for the process is relatively easy to obtain, and the process is considered straightforward.As of 2005, the cost of establishing shoe Kream manufacturing facilities was estimated at around $600,000.