Those of us who frequent online footwear forums such as Ask Andy About Clothes and the Style Forum Alden thread are well aware of the enigmatic man known as Mcarthur (or Michaelw on Style Forum).
Mcarthur has arguably the largest collection of Shell Cordovan Aldens on the internet (possibly the World) and is known for having the best shine on his shoes.
A man of impeccable taste, few words, and many argyle socks, Mcarthur has made his mark on the online shoe community in many ways. More about Mcarthur later…
Here is The Mac Method
1- Clean shoes with damp cloth
2- Brush vigorously with a horsehair brush
3- Buff with smooth cloth
4- Use wax after a minimum of fifteen wearings
Another wise forum-member Srivats breaks it down a little further:
1. Wipe shoes with (barely) damp cloth to remove dirt. Let dry for 2-3 mins.
2. Insert shoetrees. Take a horsehair brush and brush vigourously till your arms give out. OK, for 5-6 min (each shoe).
3. Buff with flannel cloth.
4. Use paste wax (minute, minute amounts) every 15 wearings or so, or if they get scuffed hard. Yearly application of cordovan creme (not regular creme) if need be.
5. Rinse and repeat.
The point of all this being that for Shell Cordovan you want to bring out the natural luster from within, not put a shine on top using polishes. The more buildup there is, the worse Shell will look. Less is more.