The Shoe Snob Shine

The Shoe Snob – Justin Fitzpatrick

After I visited Maurice Sedwell, I stopped by Gieves & Hawkes at No 1 Savile Row the next day in order to meet with Justin FitzPatrick – also known as The Shoe Snob.

Justin is a native of Seattle, Washington and after he graduated from business school, he had decided to go into the shoe business. In 2008, he packed his suitcases and sold all his possessions in order to take on an apprenticeship at Stefano Bemer in Florence. At that time, he did not speak a single word of Italian, but he managed just fine. Although he learned with bespoke shoemaker, he never really wanted to become a full fledged bespoke shoemaker. Instead, he wanted to become a better businessman and therefore decided to learn all he could about shoes. The Shoe Snob spent a 10 months there, and made five pairs of bespoke shoes. Sometime in between, he met his now-wife who hails from Perugia, Italy. In 2010, he moved to England to learn the quirks of English shoemakers and currently he works at No. 1 Gieves & Hawkes, where he polishes shoes to the highest standards for London’s gentlemen. Currently, he also works on releasing his own Shoe Snob shoe collection of high quality Ready-To-Wear shoes.

With regards to his service, you can choose between 3 shines:

Gieves & Hawkes Military Parade Shine

This classic shine leaves your shoes looking like mirrors. In order to achieve this shine, 6 stages of handwork are involved and it can take up to 2 hours to achieve this result. Once it is done, the finish is not merely ornamental; it also protects the leather from moisture. There are some side effects of a parade-shine finish: the wax will crack in the creases, leaving a mark that is undesireable to some and admired by others. This service will set you back £20.

Military Cap Shine

To prevent the aforementioned cracking, The Shoe Snob also offers a regular shoe shine with a military mirror shine on just the cap of the shoes. Personally, that’s the shine I prefer, because it is easier to remove the wax for regular maintenance and the occasional renovator application. This will cost you £20.

Mirror-like Cap Finish

Mirror-like Cap Finish

Special Shine

The special shine involves 4 stages of handwork. Mirror shines are achieved with water and a polishing cloth, but the special shine is achieve with a shoe brush. More often than not, I find myself applying this kind of shoe shine because it is the quickest of all of them and provides a neat shine without having to really get my hands dirty. Also, brushes are much easier to use, whereas with the cloth, you have to practice and develop your technique. With a price of £10, it is less expensive by half.