Brushes For Shoes: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

It may be easy to choose which brush you need for your teeth or hair. After all, those are items we’ve used every day for as long as we can remember. However, there are other important brushes that you may be less aware about but should still be using regularly. These ones are actually used on the exact opposite end of your body. That’s right, we’re talking about brushes for shoes.

Here at FootFitter, we understand that polish and cleaning agents are nothing without the proper tools to apply them. To make things easier for you, we broke down everything you need to know about brushes for shoes to show you which bristles will bring you the best shine.

Which brush materials are best for my shoes?

The flat brushes below are great at dislodging dirt and irritants prior to polishing shoes.

FootFitter shares brushes for shoes
FootFitter Signature Jumbo Shoe Shine Brush ($14)


When it comes to brushes for shoes, horsehair is especially effective on leather shoes.

Horsehair bristles are known for being exceptionally soft. In addition, the bristles are flexible, which allows them to dislodge dirt stuck in your shoes’ grooves.

Horsehair bristles are the most commonly used material when it comes to brushes for shoes.

FootFitter shares brushes for shoes
FootFitter Large Crepe Brush for Suede and Nubuck ($8)


Crepe Rubber is a latex material that is sticky and soft. The unique material is ideal for materials like suede and nubuck.

The material clings to nap on sensitive suede, restoring shoes’ shine. To remove light stains, it’s best to brush with the nap. For heavy-duty cleaning, you should brush both with and against the nap.

FootFitter shares brushes for shoes
FootFitter Suede / Nubuck Brass Shoe Cleaning Brush ($5)


For stains that are deeply set into your suede or nubuck shoes, sometimes you need something stronger than crepe rubber.

That’s where shoe brushes with brass wires come in handy. The brass wires are sturdy which helps them work away the tougher stains without damaging your shoes.

However, there is one drawback to this brush. It isn’t suited for smooth leathers and can leave scratches if used on the wrong pair of shoes.

FootFitter shares brushes for shoes
FootFitter Shoe Cleaning Brush with Coco Bristles ($6)


Lastly, if you’re looking for a brush to clean your more rough and tumble shoes like your boots, coco bristles offer a sturdy solution.

Similar to brass wires, coco bristles are a little too heavy duty for your smooth leathers.

However, coco bristles do work perfectly when it comes to scraping away difficult dirt that clings to your more rugged shoes. The short stiff bristles are specifically tailored to scrubbing away even the most stubborn stains.

When it comes to brushes for shoes, what is a dauber?

FootFitter shares brushes for shoes
FootFitter Genuine Horsehair Shoe Polish Pencil Dauber ($4)

In addition to the flat brushes listed above, when it comes to brushes for shoes there is also the dauber to consider. Put simply, a dauber is an applicator. When it comes to shoe daubers, they are traditionally used for polishing.

FootFitter shares brushes for shoes
FootFitter Signature Shoe Shine Dauber ($5)

Unlike the flat brushes that are used best to scrape away dirt and irritants before polishing, a dauber’s tailored round shape makes it ideal to buff polish in with circular strokes.

The bristles are sturdier than a polishing cloth and leave shoes with a streak-free shiny finish.

In addition, because the brush itself is smaller with a handle, using a dauber will allow you to clean the harder to reach areas on your shoes.

Why do I need different brushes for suede and leather?

FootFitter shares brushes for shoes
Photo via Instagram / @eskor.se_

When shopping for brushes for shoes, it is important to consider not only the material of the brushes but also the material of your shoes.

FootFitter shares brushes for shoes
FootFitter Professional 4-Way Suede and Nubuck Cleaner ($9)

Suede and leather don’t feel the same to the touch.

Likewise, the brushes used for each, shouldn’t either.

When cleaning suede or nubuck, reach for rubber, brass or coco bristle materials.

When it comes to smooth leathers, horsehair bristles are more effective and protect the delicate coating by keeping it scratch-free.

Since suede generally has more options for bristle types, you can easily maximize the benefits by investing in a product that contains multiple suede brushes. For instance, the four-way brush pictured above satisfies all your suede needs with one tool.

Now that you have all the details on brushes for shoes, that perfect sparkly shine is only one step away.

FootFitter shares brushes for shoes

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