How To Polish Tactical Boots? | 5 Steps For A High Gloss

You’re going to head to the academy in a few weeks. Have you equipped all the useful information to survive in the military? Do you know how to shine your tactical boots?

There is no rush, we’re here to help you with that. The process is not complex at all, as long as you have enough patience for your dear tactical boots. Follow us and we’ll show you know!

Why do we need to polish tactical boots?

Tactical boots can withstand many harsh conditions and get dirty after a long time of use. To make your tactical boots new again, the basic steps are to clean, condition and polish them.

Besides restoring the shiny look, polishing your tactical boots will keep them durable and avoid cracking or flaking so that they can serve you well and stay with you for a very long time. Notably, some shoe polish can make your tactical boots waterproof and create anti-dirt coating.

Moreover, the shiny boots would flex the light in every move. Who doesn’t love to wear spit shine boots?

Which types of tactical boots can we polish?

Which types of tactical boots can we polish? The shining look comes from the gloss of leather. Therefore, the best material to polish, of course, is leather. The most flexed areas are in the toe and the heel, but you should polish all the boots so that they can have an even gloss. On the contrary, don’t ever think of polishing suede tactical boots since their natural and special feature is the nap. That is crazy to polish suede since you only destroy them by doing that. Alternatively, the best way to protect your suede tactical boots is using a suede protector and spray on suede boots to make them water-repellent or waterproof.

The shining look comes from the gloss of leather. Therefore, the best material to polish, of course, is leather. The most flexed areas are in the toe and the heel, but you should polish all the boots so that they can have an even gloss.

On the contrary, don’t ever think of polishing suede tactical boots since their natural and special feature is the nap. That is crazy to polish suede since you only destroy them by doing that. Alternatively, the best way to protect your suede tactical boots is using a suede protector and spray on suede boots to make them water-repellent or waterproof.

Also, the same thing goes to nylon fabric tactical boots, you can’t polish them. You can protect them like what you apply to suede – create a layer to protect them from water.

KIWI Boot Waterproofer | Water Repellent for Hunting, Hiking and Outdoor Boots | Spray Bottle | 10.5 Oz
  • KIWI Boot Waterproofer provides tough silicone protection for work and outdoor boots
  • Waterproof spray for boots
  • Spray has unique formula that bonds to leather and fabrics

How To Polish Tactical Boots?

Step 1. Prepare your tools

Let’s prepare a complete shoe cleaning set with shoe polish suitable for your tactical boots. These includes:

  • Leather cleaner
  • Shoe polish
  • A wiping cloth
  • Water
  • Horsehair applicator brush (the little one with handle)
  • Horsehair shine brush (big brush to clean and shine your boots)
  • A heat gun or a hair dryer
  • Buffing cloth
3 Pieces Horsehair Shoe Polishing Dauber Kit Shine Brush Shoe Care Applicators, Brown, 6.7 x 4.7 x 1.96 inches
KIWI Black Parade Gloss Shoe Polish and Shine | Leather Shoe Care for Dress Shoes and Boots | Carnuba Wax | 2.5 Oz
Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner and Conditioner Complete Leather Care Kit (16 Oz) (2 Items)
Cleaning set
Shoe polish
Leather cleaner
3 Pieces Horsehair Shoe Polishing Dauber Kit Shine Brush Shoe Care Applicators, Brown, 6.7 x 4.7 x 1.96 inches
Cleaning set
KIWI Black Parade Gloss Shoe Polish and Shine | Leather Shoe Care for Dress Shoes and Boots | Carnuba Wax | 2.5 Oz
Shoe polish
Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner and Conditioner Complete Leather Care Kit (16 Oz) (2 Items)
Leather cleaner

According to our research, you’ve got two ways to shine your tactical boots. One is mainly using a cloth to rub while the other focuses on using horsehair brushes.

Step 2. Clean your tactical boots

First of all, you should remove all the laces so that you can clean and polish the tongue of tactical boots.

Use a cloth and leather cleaner to clean your tactical boots. Clean the whole boots, even the tongue, the sole and every nook and cranny of tactical boots. If your boots get a lot of dirt and grime, check out the thorough cleaning guide here!

If your tactical boots still have the old polish, you can strip it off with a heat gun/a hair dryer and a wiping cloth. This makes your boots ready for a completely new glossy look.

To remove the old polish, move the heat gun around the old polish to melt it down. Then use the cloth to wipe clean the boots. You should wipe carefully to make sure the tactical boots are clean. I’m sure that you don’t want to have the new polish on the dirty surface, right?

Once you see the leather is dull, then you’ve finished!

Note: when cleaning, pay attention to hard-to-reach and easily dirty areas. Cleaning is the ultimate step before doing anything else!

Step 3. Build the base coat

Now, start to build the base coat on the surface of tactical boots. This step makes sure that the polish is spread evenly on your tactical boots. So take your time and do it carefully and patiently!

Wrap your two fingers around with a cloth/old T-shirt and twist it to make it tight on your hand. Dip a little water and take a certain amount of shoe polish. Apply it evenly on the surface of tactical boots in a circular motion. And let this layer sit for 2 minutes before adding a new one (wait for it gets dry). Keep on applying the polish coats. The coats should be thick, we recommend 3-4 layers of the polish.

While waiting for the coat to dry, you can switch to the other boot! Polish two boots alternately to avoid wasting your time.

After building up enough layers, let’s start polishing your tactical boots!

Note: You should cover the polish all over your boots, even the sole and the tongue. Also, you can replace the cloth with the horsehair brush to rub your boots. (see the method below)

Step 4. Polish tactical boots

Sale
KIWI Shoe Polish, Black, 1 Metal Tin, 1.125 oz
  • KIWI Shoe Polish is the World’s No. 1 Selling Classic Shoe Polish for leather shoes
  • Provides shine, nourishment and proven long-lasting water protection
  • Superior stain and scuff coverage

Next, do it again. But this time, make the cloth on your fingers damp, and just rub in a circular motion until you achieve the shine you want.

It takes about 15 minutes of rubbing. Be patient! The more circles you do, the more shine your tactical boots get.

Step 5. Buff your boots (with cotton)

We’re about to finish polishing your dear boots!

Use a buffing cloth and make back-and-forth strokes on the boots. You can keep the boots in between your knees to make it easy for buffing.

Do you see the high gloss now?

Voila, that’s all!

Note: Be patient until you get the best result! Besides the cloth, there are some alternative choices for you: cotton ball, tissue paper, a rag or an old T-shirt.

Sale
Cotton Balls Organic by Sky Organics (300 ct. 3x100), Fragrance & Chlorine-Free Cotton Balls, 100% Biodegradable Jumbo Absorbent Jumbo Cotton Balls, Cruelty-Free Cotton for Nail & Make-up Removal
  • Contains: 3 packs of 100 Organic Jumbo Cotton Balls (total 300) Amazing Value
  • Mindfully Made: 100% Cruelty-Free
  • Made with GOTS Certified Cotton & Chlorine and Fragrance-Free

Read more: How Much Do Army Boots Weigh?

Other method to polish tactical boots: using horsehair brushes with a heat gun

Note: Use the little applicator horsehair brush to rub the shoe polish, while the big horsehair shine brush to clean and shine your tactical boots.

The application is similar to the method above. But like we said, you can replace the cloth with the horsehair brush in some steps.

To put it simply, the order of polishing is similar to above. We’ll tell you in detail below.

Step 1. Prepare your tools like above. But if you are confident in using a lighter, add it to the list.

Step 2. Clean your tactical boots like above, but you can use the horsehair shine brush to rub and clean your boots thoroughly.

Step 3. Instead of the cloth, use the little applicator brush to take an adequate amount of the shoe polish. Then rub all over the boots and repeat this step 3-4 times. Similar to what we guide above, each layer should have time to dry.

Step 4. Brush the top layer of the polish in short strokes, just brush slightly. While doing this, you can see your boots are a bit shiny. Continue to use the shine brush to apply the polish again, then brush the top layer again. Repeat these steps again and again until you feel like your boots have enough layers (6-8 layers overall, including the base coats). Your tactical boots should have thick layers since you are going to use a heat gun to finish polishing.

Step 5. Use a heat gun  to hover around boots to melt the polish down. Until you see your boots get wet, then you can stop. Wrap the cloth around the two fingers, and rub the leather in a circular motion.

Well, do you see the spit shine appear now?

Note: It is necessary to have thick layers of polish as your boots can be dry under the effect of a heat source. When using the heat gun, let it away from your tactical boots in a distance of 4-6 inches.

Interestingly, like we mentioned, you can use a lighter to replace the heat gun.

Imagine, it is really badass to use the lighter hover around your tactical boots and heat the polish up until it is melted! However, for safety reasons, this way is not recommended for the amateur as you might burn your dear tactical boots. If you don’t want to take the risk, just use the heat gun or a hair dryer!

Sale
REVLON 1875W Lightweight + Compact Travel Hair Dryer, Black
  • Wattage of this appliance may vary depending on the location of use
  • Compact and lightweight design, perfect for travel
  • 2 heat/speed settings for drying and styling flexibility and control

Read more: Can I Use Tactical Boots For Hiking?

FAQ

How to polish or shine tactical boots properly?

To summarize, there are 5 steps to polish tactical boots.

1/ Prepare your tools: get a complete cleaning and polishing kit

2/ Clean your boots: carefully clean your boots to remove all the dirt, grime, dust.

3/ Build the base layers: apply 3-4 layers of polish on the surface in a circular motion. Let each layer sit for 2 minutes.

4/ Polish your tactical boots: apply and rub the polish until you see the right shine

5/ Buff them: make tactical glossy by buffing them and you can finish the polish process.

What is the best shoe polish for tactical boots?

We have selected the top 3 shoe polish on the market for your choice. All of them are very famous for polishing leather.

MILITARY CHOICE: KIWI PARADE GLOSS POLISH

As for the top choice of polish, I highly recommend Kiwi polish for its popular and practical side.

Kiwi brand is absolutely no strange name for boot leather care. It can be said that Kiwi polish is a must-have item in the military, or when you do hard work that your boots get dirty easily.

As the name implied, the Kiwi Parade Gloss can give your boots the spit-shine as you wish (though it might scuff easily). On the price point, Kiwi products are highly appreciated.

Talking about leather polish, many people would think of Kiwi polish first as it is a great companion for leather boots!

Want a full set? Check out the Kiwi Leather Care Kit! 

BUDGET PICK: ANGELUS PERFECT STAIN POLISH

Sale
Angelus Brand Perfect Stain Shoe Wax Polish, 3 fl.oz, Black
  • Blend of pure carnauba wax, bees wax, and the finest grade of waxes and oils
  • Cleans, preserves, waterproofs, and restores a richer color to faded footwear and leather gear

Alternatively, Angelus is also highly recommended by many users. Besides Kiwi, Angelus is one of the favorite polish for tactical boots.

Above all, it outweighs the Kiwi polish on some aspects. Firstly, it gets dry faster than Kiwi. Angelus can take 2-3 minutes to dry while Kiwi 5-6 minutes, because Kiwi is more oily than Angelus polish.

The other advantage is that this high quality polish is good at protecting your tactical boots from scruff. It makes your boots rich in color and doesn’t discolor them. However, it just brings you an adequate shine, not a very high gloss like the Saphir.

PREMIUM POLISH: SAPHIR MEDAILLE D’OR MIRROR GLOSS

Saphir Medaille d’Or Mirror Gloss - Natural Wax Polish for Leather Shoes & Boots
  • MIRROR GLOSS POLISH: Saphir Medaille d’Or Mirror Gloss Wax Polish contains a high concentration of...
  • ALL NATURAL: This polish is perfectly balanced with natural turpentine solvent. Some waxes fin the...
  • EASY-TO-USE: Apply thin layers of wax polish using a high-shine chamois cloth to your leather shoe....

Saphir, a premium brand, brings the best experience for the wear. Evidently, most of their products are rated 5-star on Amazon. It’s FIVE STAR, such impressive reliability!

With its effect, Saphir Mirror Gloss will make you enjoy the polishing process. As a high-end product, it well worths your money. What’s best is that Saphir can give your tactical boots a long-lasting shine with no crack at all. A mirror gloss would bring your boots back to life, and extend your boot life as well.

If you want to invest in caring for your tactical boots, Saphir products are always not a bad choice. Fantastic, isn’t it?

Conclusion

Overall, there are five steps to polish tactical boots: prepare the tools, build the base coat, polish and buff your tactical boots.

Remember to clean your boots completely before polishing, and be patient when applying and rubbing the polish. The more you do, the more shine your tactical boots get.

Believe me, the spit-shine is not just in the movie, you can achieve it too! Just be patient and careful in each step and wait for the great results.

Leave a Comment