Made To Last: Why Church's Shoes Are An Investment Worth Making
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Discover the Northampton based brand that has been expertly crafting fine leather footwear for over 100 years.
Whether you’re waging a war against the wet or attempting to navigate your way back to the office, we’re willing to bet that your shoe selection is slightly more of an adventure now than it was a few months ago. A life of slippers was fun while it lasted, but we’re now in the market for something a little more robust under foot having discovered the inevitable gaps in our repertoire. After all, along with a warm woollen coat and a cosy, fuzzy jumper, a pair of sturdy shoes are your first line of defence against the inclement weather. However, even the most die-hard of sneakerheads can appreciate how difficult it can be to find smart footwear that’s truly up to the task. At once stylish but also long-lasting, in materials that can withstand a winter and retain their polish, you need a special kind of shoe to stick with you through it all. And special is exactly what you get with Church’s.
Combining artisanal craftsmanship with a rich shoemaking heritage, Church’s is the solution to the modern middle-class problem of worn through work shoes and leather boots that let the rain in. For too long, even shelling out on luxury names no longer guarantees a lasting wear. But Church’s, who have been involved in the leather and footwear industries from as far back as 1873, are one of Britain’s finest exports. Creating out of the same Northampton factory as they do today, the brand’s heritage is dotted with accolades, from recognition in the 19th century for developing the first ever ‘left’ and ‘right’ specific fits, as well as for unrivalled craftsmanship still evident in every design. Perhaps their secret is never straying too far from British classics – an Oxford, Monk or Derby – shapes that will never date, made in a way that will never change.
Made In England
Located in the St James area of Northampton to this day, Church’s produce around 5,000 pairs of shoes per week, 70% of which are exported all over the globe.
But what makes them fit for purpose? In their opinion, it’s the famous Goodyear Welt. The Goodyear Welt is synonymous with quality handmade English shoes; a meticulous construction process involves sewing a welt (strip of leather) between the upper and insole and then into the sole. It’s intention is to prolong the life of a shoe by preventing water penetration and allowing for repeated resoling – meaning your shoes or boots could last for decades. It just so happens that this preferred method of construction is also designed to be deconstructed, meaning they have a far higher chance of being repaired in a meaningful, lasting way. It also means that the insole that has moulded to the shape of your foot over the years, can be saved – and your comfort along with it.
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Looking to put your money where your metatarsal is? From traditional Oxfords that can be treasured to refined hiking boots that make a thoroughly modern investment, these are the men's shoes to see you through autumn, winter and beyond.
Birthed at Oxford University in the early 1800’s, the Oxford formal shoe took shape when it evolved from a desire to move away from the outdated Oxonian boot, toward something more modern. Sleek and sophisticated, our favourite of Church's take on this no-nonsense shoe involves brogue-style perforations for an unexpected twist while remaining perfect for business, black tie or other formal occasions.
One of the more versatile shoe styles, the Derby is an all-rounder, bridging the gap between formal and casual. Also known as the Gibson or Blucher, this first originated as a sporting shoe - the adjustable fit and pieced construction adapting perfectly to outdoor activities such as hunting. We'll save the birds and keep our endeavors to the indoors with meetings, interviews and the like, styling with casual tailoring and knitwear.
The Chelsea Boot
Chelsea boots have timeless appeal and require little modification to enforce their relevance. If you’re looking for the classic, try the Amberley, or for something a bit more rugged, opt for the Mcentyre lw with its cleated rubber sole - an excellent choice with turned-up jeans and a chunky knit for easy weekend style.
The Monk Strap
For anyone who prefers their Derby with a little more character, the Monk shoe is a fine choice. Inspired by exactly the gents who first wore them, these days you might prefer them in a more non-religious setting such as your next afternoon meeting in the city.
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The smartest slip-on shoe going, the Loafer is inspired by the moccasin with its characteristic, elevated ‘apron’ running along the outer vamp. Casual by nature, it wasn't something to wear with suits until American businessmen and lawyers took on this styling hack in the 1960’s. And to them, we say a heartfelt thanks. The longstanding Tunbridge makes a go-to weekend shoe as intended, while the Kingsley 2 tassel loafer makes a lovely pairing with a suit come summer.
November 23 2021 by Camilla Hunt