U.S. Championships of Shoe Shining 2024 – Qualification

We now open the qualifications to the U.S. Championships of Shoe Shining 2024, with the finals taking place at the huge shoe event New York Super Trunk Show on October 5. The contest and the event are organised by The Shoe Snob, Shoegazing and Kirby Allison in collaboration with sponsors Saphir and Bridlen Shoemaker. Apart from the shine contest where finalists will have 20 minutes to shine their shoes, we’ll also have a shoe patina exhibition and a free shoe shine service on site.


Last year we held the inaugural New York Super Trunk Show, and it was a great success, with almost 1,200 visitors and 15+ shoe and menswear exhibitors from around the world. This year, we aim at making it even bigger and better. We, in this case, are organisers Justin FitzPatrick of The Shoe Snob, Jesper Ingevaldsson of Shoegazing and Kirby Allison. The event takes place at the The Kosciuszko Foundation on the Upper East Side, close to Central Park, on Saturday October 5. The excellent line-up is currently being finalised, much more info about the event and all exhibitors will come later this summer.

As last year we look at having a shoe patina exhibition on site during the day where shoes from Bridlen will be painted with Saphir products, and together with Saphir we’ll also introduce a free shoe shining service for the visitors. Then a highlight of the event will of course be the second edition of the U.S. Championships of Shoe Shining.


U.S. Championships of Shoe Shining 2024

The U.S shoe shining championships is organised in collaboration with the famous shoe care brand Saphir and the Indian shoe manufacturer Bridlen, where the winner will receive a pair of shoes from Bridlen, a shoe care package from Saphir, a gold medal, and of course the prestigious U.S. champion title. A way to highlight the high standard of shoe shiners in the States, and a good opportunity for example for shiners and cobblers offering the service to promote themselves and their work to a really wide audience.

From last year's final, with Sunny Yoo, Levi Elliott and Chadwick Winget.

From last year’s final, where Sunny Yoo, Levi Elliott and Chadwick Winget went hard on the shoes with various Saphir Medaille d’Or waxes.

The final takes place at 3pm on Saturday October 5, here one medium brown plain cap toe oxford from Bridlen is to be polished as beautiful as possible. Jury will not only look at the highest shine, but the most beautiful work is rewarded, how much of the shoe that is shined, etc. The finalists will have one can of Saphir Medaille d’Or Pate de Lux and a can of Saphir Medaille d’Or Mirror Gloss in the colours of their choice, water, a shoe brush, a polishing cloth (this they may bring themselves) and a nylon cloth, and then they have 20 minutes to shine the shoe. As always we expect some impressive shines to be achieved despite the short time.

To qualify for the shoe shining championships, send in three pictures of a pair of well polished shoes. The pictures should show off as much of the shine job as possible, that is their purpose, so vary the angles between the pics, maybe one close-up etc. What will be judged is how well the shoe is polished, not necessarily the highest shine but also other parameters will be taken into consideration, as the depth of the shine, any eventual nice color variations etc, same things we look at during the final.

This is the colour of the shoes to be used this year, Bridlen plain cap toe oxfords in a medium brown calf leather.

This is the colour of the shoes to be used this year, Bridlen plain cap toe oxfords in a medium brown calf leather.

Only one entry (three pics of the same shoes) 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 shined shoes). The person has to be able to attend the final in New York on Saturday 5. The contest is open for Americans, professionals as well as amateurs, so both patina artists, professional shoe shiners, cobblers as well as random shoe nerds can enter the competition.

You are allowed to make minor adjustments to the pictures 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 can be disqualified. And please note, it’s the beauty of the polish job that is judged, not how beautiful the pictures are.

The jury (preliminary) consists of:
Tom Costin, Saphir / Soletech
Affan Mohammed, Bridlen Shoemaker
Justin FitzPatrick, The Shoe Snob
Jesper Ingevaldsson, Shoegazing
Kirby Allison
Levi Elliott, Levi’s Shoe Shine, U.S. shoe shining champion 2023
Preston Soto, The Elegant Oxford
Greg Park, Han Core Patina

All will give points 1-5 to their five favourites, and the three entries that receive the most points will be qualified for the final. Justin FitzPatrick 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, Jesper Ingevaldsson’s votes will be the deciding factor. The jury decision cannot be overruled.

Send in three photos to justin@theshoesnobblog.com no later than Saturday August 11. Enter “U.S. Championships of Shoe Shining” in the subject field. Finalists will be announced the following week. For any uncertainties, just e-mail us and we’ll help out.

Levi Elliott being interviewed for a video on Kirby Allison's YouTube channel.

Last year’s winner Levi Elliott being interviewed for a video on Kirby Allison’s YouTube channel.