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Are Shoeshine Sponges Evil or Just Misunderstood?

Posted on: May 8th, 2013 by Drew No Comments



Silicone shine sponges have a reputation that procedes them and are a contentious issue amongst almost everyone we provide a shoeshine service for. Before going on there is one major myth that I would like to start by putting firmly to rest;

‘Silicone sponges DO NOT ruin your shoes’

I feel much better for getting that out of my system. If, I had a dollar for every time someone accuses them of doing so……  (having said this if someone asks our Sunshiner not to apply one we will of course do as they ask)


Companies that manufacture sponges refine the silicone they use in polish, concentrate it and apply it to a sponge, so categorically it does not ruin the leather. Could you imagine the lawsuits if it did?
Time for the downside, it does create a slightly sticky coating over the leather that is tacky to the touch, as a result of this, ambient material sticks to it. Secondly, leather is porous the silicone sits on top of the pores and briefly prevents it from breathing. However, the shoe will not display any lasting damage due to this as it is only temporary.
When using a sponge it should be as an extension of the whole process, not used lazily as a ‘magic bullet’ below I have reviewed 3 of the sponges on the market today;

Kiwi Express Shine RRP: £2.39

You can rely on this for around 30 shines. It is prohibitively expensive. There is a defunct window on the lid with the idea that you can see how much liquid silicone you have left. A nice idea only it is not needed as you tend to simply stop using it when it is not having any more effect on the shoe. Combine this with a design fault that the grey sponge starts flaking and leaving little grey specks all over your front room.

Punch Quick Shine Sponge RRP: £1.99 (high street)

Lasts for around 40 shines. Not to be confused with the crap Punch Max and Punch Max 2 sponge. This is a definate step up from the Kiwi Express and is way better than the weak Punch Max 2. It has a nice aroma and is always moist and ready for action (ooeer!)

Schwipe Shoeshine Sponge RRP: £1.49

Very hard to find. Ask your local cobbler. Lasts 100+ shines. This without doubt is star of the show. It is cheap and almost too good, loaded with silicon, lasts forever and robust. On the downside, hard to find and it can suffer from that same flakeyness that Kiwi Express has.








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