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Vintage Scotch Grain Leather Shined Up

Polishing Scotch Grain Leather

Mirror Shine on Vintage Scotch Grain Allen Edmonds Derbies

It's not an easy thing. Caring for the leather care be quite straight forward – keep it conditioned with Conditioner, protected with Cream, and add some scuff protection on the toes and heels with Paste/Wax Polish. But, getting that magic mirror shine or even a nice quality high shine, can sometimes be elusive.

Grain leather has more texture, it's grainy (by definition), and rubbing stiff waxes across grain can be challenging.

Here's the trick

Mirror Shined Vintage Scotch Grain Allen Edmonds Margate Derbies with Cream and Paste/Wax Polish

Alternating soft waxes and hard waxes allows you to build up your base. Sometimes even using 1 layer of Cream Polish, followed by 1 layer of Paste/Wax Polish, then repeating, will build up that protective layer, so that you can have a smooth top surface.

Mirror Shine on Vintage Scotch Grain Allen Edmonds Margate Derbies with Cream and Paste/Wax Polish

Having a smooth top surface is essential to a good reflective shine. The lack of bumps, occlusions, and divets, will allow light to bounce back uniformly and give a nice shine.

After each dual-layer, brush it smooth, and let it dry/evaporate fully, before evaluating and continuing with another base layer.

Once you've finished a multi-layer soft & hard base, then you can begin your standard mirror shine techniques.

When you finish your shine, it should be smooth and glassy. As you get to that final glassy layer, the top section begins to feel like snake or fish skin, with the scales being both smooth and textured. It feels unique under your fingertips, and can be one of your favorite leathers to polish, as you get good and practice with it.

Shine on friends!

Sunset over the Cascades in Bend, Oregon with a Vintage pair of Allen Edmonds Scotch Grain Derbies Shined in the Foreground


  • You’re absolutely welcome, André! Now, let’s see you’re shined up grain leathers :)

  • Thanks for the post; now I get it ! Cool stuff


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