Old fashioned shoe care: Saphir

Quality shoe care starts with Saphir: one of the oldest, most traditional and best shoe care producers in the world. The French brand has evolved over the nearly hundred years it exists, but has never lost its glory. Distinctly Different had a glimpse behind the scenes.

buvard Saphir, cirage et créme pour le cuir, chaussures

‘The way you treat your shoes, is the way you treat yourself,’ exclaims Gael Birot (42), sales manager of what might just be the best shoe care in the world: Saphir. The French brand, originally established in 1920, won the Medaille d’Or (gold medal) at the Paris fair. Since then it is called Saphir Medaille d’Or. And although nearly hundred years have passed, it is still a leader brand when it comes to shoe care.

The product is the same, but the company has changed since then. The Spanish Avel bought Saphir in 1979 and enhanced the packaging, jar, communication, but left the creams untouched. Why? Because it already had a unique, high quality and beloved product. ‘We have a different formula than any other cream. It is solvent based, instead of water based. Solvent cleans and cares at the same time,’ explains Birot.

A part of history

Yesterday was an amazing night of football. In the FIFA world cup Holland stood against Australia aka the Socceroos. While I’m still in the football atmosphere I thought it would be fun to write a short article about the evolution of soccer boots.


The first soccer boot was created in 1525 by a Englishman called Cornelius Johnson. He was the King Henry VIII personal shoe maker. Because they were mentioned on the Great Wardrobe, a shopping list of the day. They cost 4 shillings, the equivalent of €125 by current exchange rates.

In the 1800’s football was gaining popularity throughout Britain. Soccer boots were mostly steel nosed and heavy leather working boots with tags or metal studs hammered into them to increase ground grip and stability.


In 1924 two brothers formed the Gebruder Dassler Schuhfabrik in which they produced football boots. Later on these brothers had a falling out and they both created their own brands. Adolf Dassler founded Adidas. Rudolf Dassler created Puma. These two brands are off course among the biggest brands such as Nike. Puma started producing the Puma Atom football boot. This boot featured interchangeable studs made of rubber or plastic.
Nowadays football boots are produced as light as possible. This gives athletes the cutting edge in speed and stability on the playing field. But As the debate rages with regards the lack of protection given by modern football boots, and the repercussion in terms of player injuries, there seems little to suggest that the major manufacturers are going to give up their quest for the lightest football boot for a more protective one.

Coaches on the other hand have to look sharp and authorative when on the field. When looking for examples we found Niko Kovač, coach of the national footbalteam of Croatia. And looks like he is taking care of them too! Want to know how? Check our video tutorial on mirror shining.


Shine away with our goat hair brushes

Today we received our first batch of goat hair brushes. When we tested the product we were amazed at how soft the goat hair bristles are. The soft goat hair bristles are placed very close together which creates an astonishing density.


But what will a goat hair brush do for my shoes? Well, the high density bristles give a nice glossy finish after polishing your shoes with a shine cloth or regular shine brush. Because the goat hair is so soft it doesn’t scratch the soft polish at all. Goat hair also binds dust to make your shoes even glossier.

Next to polishing regular smooth leather, the goat hair shine brush is also very suitable for polishing reptile skin leather. The leathers coarse structure can make it hard to effectively polish it with a regular brush. We believe that with a high density goat hair brush you won’t experience any problems shining reptile skin or any other exotic type of leather. You can find our goat hair brushes here:

Link to product: (EU / UK).

Life is too short to wear plain white socks

That’s why I’m glad to announce we don’t offer any white socks! Today we received our very own assortment of Pantherella socks. And we are quite  excited about that, so should you! You can check them out by clicking here: (EU / UK).

Pantherella’s story begins in a small factory in Leicester. Here in 1937 a entrepreneur called Louis Goldschmidt starts to produce socks which are light but also very durable. In 1990 the esteemed brand Burberry buy’s Pantherella, and quality standards are raised again.


Today Pantherella is a global brand which never lost it’s typical British look and feel. Pantherella is still growing and is available at luxury retailer such as: Mr. Porter, Harrods and Rochester London.

The ShoeCare-Shop offers socks made from “Cotton Lisle” and “Merino Wool”. Next we explain the different qualities which these materials offer.

Cotton Lisle
You must be thinking: Well that all sounds very nice. But what do these materials have to offer me? I’ll tell you.
Cotton Lisle is an Egyptian cotton which is mercerized to create a strong, bright and soft yarn. This treatment was invented by John Mercer in 1844 and is still used today by Pantherella to create beautiful socks with vivid and shiny tones. The ShoeCare-Shop offers many different Pantherella socks made from Cotton Lisle. You can grab a pair by clicking here (EU / UK).

Cotton Lisle

Merino Wool
Merino sheep are thanks to their excellent wool quality one of the most famous sheep in the world. Merino sheep have many skin folds, and because of that they produce a high quality wool which is very dense and soft. Merino sheep grow ten times more hair per square centimeter than any other sheep. One Merino sheep produces five kilo’s of wool every year. From our assortment we fell in love with one particular sock made from Merino wool. It has a lovely argyle pattern which makes it a really fashionable item suitable for casual or business wear. You can get them by clicking here (EU / UK).


Naturally! 100% horsehair polishing brushes

Leather is a natural product. And so it must be nurtured with natural products as well. Thats why the all of the shoe polishing products of the ShoeCare-Shop are made with natural ingrediënts. Saphir’s waxes and creams are made with beeswax instead of silicones. The same applies for the shine brushes which are made with 100% horse hair. Horse hair has been fed with natural oils from the horse itself. This is why the hair is so soft and suitable for shoe polishing.

saphir foto1bran d

We advise you to avoid all brushes which have manmade materials processed in them. Man made brushes of any type will scratch the applied polish. Synthetic hair also has the tendency to attract dust particles from the air. So when you try to polish your shoes with these dust filled brushes you’re mixing dust with polish and get a flat shine, not worth the effort. The ShoeCare-Shop offers a range of shoe brushes all made with 100% horsehair. We sell our brushes in set and individually.

Brush set: (Link to product EU/UK)
Saphir Brush: (EU/UK)

Basic tips to make your shoes last longer

1. In order to prolong the life span of shoes, it is advised to alternate daily between two or more pairs of shoes. If you do not, the leather won’t have time to come back to its natural shape which leads to deformations and wear.

2. To ensure your shoes retain their natural shape, it’s advisable to immediately place shoe trees into your shoes when you put them away. Its best to use Cedar shoe trees (Link to product EU/ UK) because the adjustable split-toe enables you to adapt the tree to your shoe. Aromatic cedar is famous for its natural benefits. When unfinished, cedar protects the leather, fabric, stitching and soles of your shoes by absorbing moisture, salts and acid. Cedar trees smooth out creases, linings and wrinkles in your shoes, making your shoes last longer and look better.


3. Polish your shoes regularly! As explained in the previous blog posts, beeswax based polishing wax and cream provides the leather of your shoes natural protection en nourishment. How frequent you need to polish your shoes is entirely dependent on how intensively the shoes are worn.  We recommend using Saphir’s line of products available here: (EU / UK)

Did you visit the ShoeCare-Shop YouTube channel yet?

We have been uploading tips, tricks and other video’s on our international YouTube channel. Whenever you’re experiencing shoe care related issue we advise you to visit our YouTube channel. There is a high chance we can help you with your issue/question.

Here you will find video tutorials on subjects such as polishing, cleaning and treating suede.


You can visit our YouTube page by clicking here . Don’t forget to click the subscribe button to stay up to date on the latest shoe care updates!

Polishing wax VS polishing cream

Wax or cream? Which do I use to polish my shoes? A frequently asked question.

The biggest difference between a wax and a cream lies mostly in the method of application , and your own preference. A wax is best applied with a cotton cloth. (Something like an old t-shirt). By using circular motions to rub over the wax it gets softer and easily attached to the cloth. With the same circular motion the wax is applied to the leather.

A cream is usually applied with a brush. There are special applicator brushes available (Link to product: EU / UK) . Shoe cream is soft on itself so it doesn’t require any special proceedings before applying. Do you, for example, have a pair of shoes with punctured holes on the top? Then it’s preferable to use cream instead of wax. The wax which gets stuck inside the holes is difficult to remove. An example of a high quality nourishing cream is Saphir Médaille d’Or Cordovan cream (EU / UK). A wax offers on the other hand more protection than a cream. A wax I recommend is Saphir Médaille d’Or wax shoe polish, Pate de Luxe (EU / UK)

A good shoe polish or shoe cream is based on beeswax. For some brands only the cream contains beeswax. Pay close attention to this detail when buying a cream or wax. With brands such as Saphir (EU / UK) and La Cordonnerie Anglaise both the wax and the cream are based on beeswax.

The final decision regarding cream or wax is usually based on the method which is used to apply both cream and wax. With the high-end brands there is usually little difference between nourishing and protective qualities the wax or cream offers. For optimal results its recommended you alternate between wax and cream.

Nasty weather? Give your shoes some extra love

Winter is still going strong, snow is melting and is slowly replaced by rain. Recognize this scenario? When you do, you know it’s time to give some extra care and love to your shoes.

Shoe polish will add a thin layer of protection against the perils of mother nature. Use Saphir’s Médaille d’Or crème Pommadier: (Link to product: EU / UK) to nourish, recolor and waterproof your shoes.

Don’t have much time? An easy to use alternative is Saphir’s Médaille d’Or Crème de Soins (EU / UK). With the included sponge the tube’s foamy content is easily applied to the shoe.

And don’t forget! Grant your shoes a day of rest between wearing them.

Picking the color

By regularly polishing your shoes you extend their lifespan and good looks. It’s important that you use a good and natural shoe polish for example: Saphir’s Médaille d’Or line of products (Link to products: EU / UK).

After choosing a cream or wax (whats the difference?) its important to focus on choosing the correct color for your shoes. Choosing the correct color for black shoes isn’t much of a difficulty. But for brown or cognac shoes it’s a whole different story. There are many different shades of brown from which you can choose. Between two pairs of “cognac” shoes there can still be a difference in colors. Then which color do you pick?

The probability of a color of a cream or wax matching exactly with the color of your shoes is very small. If you accidentally do find the same color, just go with that one. But otherwise it’s advisable to polish your shoes with a neutral cream or wax and only occasionally polish with colored shoe polish. (With a color that closely matches your shoes). This way you sustain the original color of your shoes.

Colored shoe polish also comes in handy when repairing scratches or any other forms of damage to the leather of your shoes.

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