I had a nice chat with a salesman in french shoemaker JM Weston today.
He cleared up some questions I had on using polish and cream on shoes, and was happy to do so. So I share them here with you.
Cream feeds the shoes and keeps them supple. It stops them cracking and maintains flexibility. However, if overused it can make the leather too soft, allowing it to buckle and contort. It should be used once when the shoes are first bought, and again every three months or so.
Polish protects the leather. It makes it more water resistant and gives it a shine, but essentially remains on top and does not sink in (unlike cream). It is worth polishing your shoes every two to three weeks, depending on wear. But before you polish them, try just buffing them with a soft cloth. You may find that the dullness is caused largely by dust and dirt. After polishing, try dampening a cloth and mixing it with a little polish, then rub a little into the leather (good idea to use circular motions, to avoid streaking). The water should crystallise the polish, bringing out the shine.
When you use cream every three months or so, it will take off one or two layers of polish. So you may need to repolish soon after.
Lastly, it is a good idea to avoid coloured polishes and creams whenever you can. Both will change the colour of your shoes, and if you like the colour as it is then only neutral creams and polishes will prevent it changing. Oh, and if you want to enhance a colour without changing it too much, try a very light tan or yellow polish. It is what Berluti usually recommends for its shoes to avoid changing their delicate patina (apparently created by the light of the moon for that extra touch - hmmm).
Shop locations: Berluti, 43 Conduit Street, www.berluti.com. JM Weston, 3-5 Burlington Gardens, www.jmweston.com