At the London Super Trunk Show on April 7 we will host the World Championships in Shoe Shining, in collaboration with Saphir, where three finalists will have 20 minutes to polish a shoe as beautiful as possible. This competition is open for amateurs and professionals, and we now open the qualification for the final where you send in a picture of a well polished pair of shoes.


The championship takes place during the London Super Trunk Show (read all about the event here), hosted on Saturday April 7 at The Music Room, 26 South Molton Lane, in the middle of Mayfair. Here we gather 10 very interesting shoe exhibitors, these are BarbaneraClematis GinzaJ. FitzPatrick Footwear, Jsep, Japan Shoes Export Platform (MatsumotoMiyagi Kogyo, Kanpekina and Kiten), Mario BemerMyrqvistNorman VilaltaPaolo ScaforaThe Sabot (Meccariello, Yohei Fukuda, Andrés Sendra and Joe Works) and Skolyx (with new brand TLB). Main partner of the event is the shoe care brand Saphir. The event is open for everyone between 11.00-19.00, but we’ll also have a VIP opening for 150 pre-registered already at 10.00 (e-mail to reserve a spot for you and your friends). Also part of the event is the award ceremony for the World Championships in Shoemaking plus all 43 competition shoes will be displayed.

And then of course, the focus of this article, the World Championships in Shoe Shining. It was held the first time last year, where Anders Ericson, Sweden, Pete Bultitude, England, and Yuya Hasegawa from Japan battled it out in the final, with the latter winning the title. Yuya Hasegawa has used being the World Champion in shoe shining when he has toured around various places in Asia and appeared in television and magazines. Really a great ambassadeur for the shoe shining craft.

During the finals last year at the London Super Trunk Show, in front of a big crowd. Picture: Milad Abedi

It’s a rather special event. The World Championships in Shoe Shining, in collaboration with Saphir, where the winner will receive a pair of shoes from Loake. At the final, one Loake 1880 Aldwych in Mahogany (new colour from last year) is to be polished as beautiful as possible. We’ll not only look at the highest shine, but the most beautiful polish work is rewarded. The finalists will have a can of Saphir Medaille d’Or Pate de Lux in the colour of their choice, a can of Saphir Medaille d’Or Mirror Gloss in neutral, water, a brush, a polishing cloth and a nylon cloth, and they have 20 minutes to polish the shoe. For those of you who followed the competition last year you know that there’s some impressive results even if the time is very short. The winner will be titled the World Champion in Shoe Shining 2018, and gets to keep the shoe he (or she) has polished and its sibling, plus receives a shoe care kit from Saphir.

The tool to create magic. Picture: The World of Shoes

The tool to create magic. Picture: The World of Shoes

We’ve discussed the way to qualify for the event, it’s hard to find a solution that is totally fair and at the same time makes it possible for people form all over the world to apply. We’ve been talking about solutions like having people filming when they polish a shoe for 20 minutes, sort of simulate the final. Hard thing with that is that should be new shoes, and ideally exactly the same shoe model, for it to be equal, and could be very hard to solve both due to costs and administration. We’ll see if we can develop the qualification process in the future, but this year at least it will be exactly as last year.

To qualify for the shoe shining championship, send in a picture of a pair of well polished shoes. It could be taken of the entire pair, just of the toe box, the shoe in profile, anything’s fine. What will be judged is how well the pair is polished, not necessarily the highest shine but also other parameters will be taken into consideration, as the depth of the shine, any eventual color variations etc. Only one picture per contestant can be sent in, and it should only be maximum one pair of shoes in the picture (for example not a shoe collection with polished shoes). The shoe in the picture should be polished by the one who sends in the entry, and the person has to be able to attend the final in London on April 7. It’s open for both professionals and amateurs, so both patina artists or professional shoe shiners as well as random shoe nerds can enter the competition. You are allowed to make minor adjustments to the picture in for example Photoshop, but more significant changes or filters etc is not allowed. We have a professional photographer who will examine all entries, and if we suspect that these rules have been violated the person will be disqualified. And please note, it’s the beauty of the polish job that is judged, not how beautiful the picture is.

Marc Moura, President of Avel (owner of Saphir), next to winner Yuya Hasegawa.

The jury consists of Jesper Ingevaldsson of Shoegazing, Justin FitzPatrick of The Shoe Snob, Marc Moura, President of Avel (the owner of Saphir), and Filip Hallerfelt of Loake. All will choose their five favorites, and the three entries that receive the most votes will be qualified for the final. Jesper Ingevaldsson will be the only one who knows which picture is from which person, the other ones will vote without any info about who has sent in the entries. In the case of a tie, Justin FitzPatrick’s votes will be the deciding factor. The jury decision can’t be overruled.

Send in your competition entry to no later than Thursday March 1. Enter “World Championships in Shoe Shining” in the subject field. In your e-mail, also include which color of Saphir Pate de Lux you would like to use during the final (here you can see all the available colors, click “see colors” and a color chart comes up) and which size you wear in Loake Aldwych on the Capital last (it’s a large last, so if you hesitate between two, choose the smaller one). Finalists will be announced early March. Good luck everyone!

This is the colour that will be used in this year’s final, Loake Aldwych in Mahogany. Pic shows the winning shoe from last year’s Swedish Championship in Shoe Shining.