How to Dull a Shiny Black Shoe

Brian Alexander

New black shoes often come with a gloss on them that can be a bit too shiny, depending on personal tastes. This gloss is usually due to a high concentration of wax and other polishing substances that are built up on the surface of the leather. If these substances are removed, the shine will be dulled considerably. Nail polish remover is the easiest thing to use to dull shiny black shoes. This process, while effective, requires some care and is only recommended if you want the shoe to be permanently dull. Once the shiny substances are stripped from the shoe, they're gone forever.

Wipe the surface of the shoe clean with a soft, dry rag, removing any dirt and dust from the finish.

Apply a light coating of nail polish remover to another rag. The rag shouldn't be soaked---it should be just barely wet. This will allow you to better control the nail polish remover's application.

Test the nail polish remover on an inconspicuous spot on the shoe to make sure it doesn't discolor the leather. Rub the rag gently on a small spot, then wait a few minutes.

Apply the nail polish remover to the shoe in a gentle, circular motion, lifting up only the shiny wax on the shoe's surface. Do not press down on the rag or apply more than one coat at a time, as too much acetone can seriously damage the leather.

Apply a coating of cream shoe polish with leather moisturizer to the shoe. Though this may restore some of the shoe's shine, it is an important step. The nail polish remover can break down oils in the leather, making the shoes vulnerable to cracks.