John Lobb shoe shine chair by Rena Dumas

John Lobb shoe shine chair by Rena Dumas
(Image credit: Rena Dumas)

In the October issue of Wallpaper*, we profile John Lobb's new shoeshine chair by the late Paris-based interior architect Rena Dumas. Here on, we took a trip down to The Connaught to catch up with the John Lobb certified shoe polishers to find out how to clean shoes the John Lobb way.

John Lobb shoe shine chair by Rena Dumas

(Image credit: Rena Dumas)

First here is a list of what you will need:

One pair of leather shoes, preferably John Lobb

One soft bristle brush

One small welt brush

One soft cotton cloth

Shoe cream

Shoe wax

1. First take a soft bristle brush to clean away any dirt or grime, be sure to pay particular attention to the welt (often grooved in a fine shoe like John Lobb).

2. With a small brush apply the cream (aim for a shade lighter than your shoes to preserve the original colour or a shade darker to deepen the shade). Dip the brush into the cream and rub a small amount into the welt, covering the side of the soles at the same time. With a soft cotton cloth wrapped around one or two fingers apply cream (very sparingly) to the uppers of the shoe, less is more is the mantra here. Starting at the back, with your cloth covered finger tips rub the cream in circular motion, into the leather. Cream is important as it nourishes the leather (think of it as a foundation before applying the wax).

3. Now apply the wax, which will give your shoes a greater gleam as well as a more water resisistent finish. This should be applied equally sparingly, again with a soft cloth (cotton shoe bags work well), using finger tips to rub in to the leather. Initially the leather will look cloudy, and a light shine will appear as the wax is rubbed in. As with the cream, start at the back and work your way to the front. Depending on the condition of your shoes, this process can be repeated up to four times. For the consecutive layers, small drops of water on the shoes can help applying the wax, or equally a small amount of water can be applied to the wax.

4. If you like your shoes with a little glaçage (where the toe of a shoe is buffed up to a shine) additional layers of wax are applied to the toe area in the same manner as described above.

5. Buffing, again with a soft cotton cloth will finish things off and you are ready to go.

6. Don’t forget to always use a shoe horn to keep the back of your shoes in perfect shape and a pair of shoe trees to maintain the line, and always give a pair of shoes a day off to breathe between wears.

Writer and Wallpaper* Contributing Editor

Mary Cleary is a writer based in London and New York. Previously beauty & grooming editor at Wallpaper*, she is now a contributing editor, alongside writing for various publications on all aspects of culture.