California Riding Magazine • June, 2011

Product Review
Show Ring Shine Boot Polishing Kit

by Sarah Knowles


... After!

Horseshow experts' opinions on show products often vary as much as the many disciplines in equine sports. One aspect of show turn-out that appears to be universal, however, is that cleanliness is king. Regardless of what skills or techniques you demonstrate in the arena, a clean show appearance conveys respect to your judges, fellow competitors and audience.

Clean boots are a fundamental of all show outfits: the epitome of function meeting form. Clean boots are more attractive, while also being safer and more effective.

By cleaning and polishing your own boots you save money during horseshows, which is an economic plus. Also, I find the repetitive motions and monotony of the activity to be cathartic, which provides me the opportunity to think through my courses or plan my rides in my mind.

For this product review, I utilized a pair of Ariat field boots and a pair of Dansko paddock boots. Both were caked with the dust and dirt of everyday use. The field boots had been previously professionally cleaned and painted, while the paddock boots had not. This gave me the opportunity to see the difference in the level of shine I could produce with the boot kit.

First I utilized the purple synthetic sponge to work up a light lather on the boots with the Kirk's soap. I utilized the hard brush on the cleaning tool to get in the cracks and scrub the soles of each boot. I felt the Kirk's soap had far less residue than traditional glycerin based soaps and did a good job removing dirt from both pairs of boots. It also came in a plastic case, which was convenient for storage, especially in the heat during summer show months.

Second I applied the Experts' Choice Platinum Premium Shoe Cream, which had an applicator in the top and provided "no buff shine." This product applied smoothly and soaked well into the leather of both pairs of boots. It provided instant shine on the previously cleaned and painted Ariats, but was more matte on the Danskos. The cream was much easier and cleaner to apply than the wax or matte cream substances in the shoe tins which are commonly purchased at shoe stores and created virtually no mess or run off.

After the shoe cream, the Shine Rite was an easy finishing product with an applicator similar to most liquid-sponge shoe polishes. Easy application on both pairs of boots, which I let sit for about 45 minutes before buffing. As the Shoe Cream claimed it was a "no buff shine" product, I wanted to give it the benefit of time to soak into the boots before doing any further work to the boots. When I checked the boots, they looked immaculately clean, but lacked the shine and luster to be "show ring ready."

The hard foam core of the cleaning tool was used for initial buffing of the leather and provided moderate instant shine. The microfiber towel provided was perfect for finishing and was used for the elbow grease that I have always associated with boots ready for the arena. The results produced were impressive, with both pairs of boots feeling more supple and shiny after the round of products.

The kit was extremely compact and well packaged, with products that had thoughtfully designed applicators creating little mess and virtually no waste. I would have loved to see a neutral leather conditioner in this pack, as riding boots endure so much more stress and wear than normal leather shoes.

Overall, this boot cleaning kit would be a great addition to any show trunk and provides clean, professional results appropriate for any and all levels of competition.