Things that make us happy #7 English Shoemakers
Tips for Groom’s – where to buy your wedding shoes.
Invest in your shoes my dad once told me – good advice as a pair of Each pair takes 6-8 weeks to manufacture. After countless weddings and years of usage It was time to buy a new pair and I thought I would pass on some tips to future Groom’s.
Northampton is the mecca for English shoemakers and shoes have been made in Northamptonshire since the 15th Century.
The 1841 Northampton Census lists 1,821 shoemakers in the town and many of today’s finest English shoe manufacturers Barker, Church’s & Loake started their businesses around this time period.
A trip to Northampton is not necessary as all these manufacturers have their own shops around the UK especially in London, in fact Barker & Church’s have a shop within 100m of each other on Regent Street.
The shop assistants in these specialised shops are very knowledgeable and the very experienced assistant Jamie at Barker’s explained to me that the most comfortable shoe fitting for myself would be a *Derby – he was right and I went for a pair of Barker’s black calf ‘Walthams’.
*A Derby shoe is a style of leather shoe with open lacing. The tongue of the shoe is made with the same piece of leather as the vamp, and the facings with the lacing holes meet together over the tongue, and are not stitched to the tongue at the bottom.
Once the investment has been made these shoes with a little care can last for many years – in times gone by dad’s used to hand down their shoes to their sons.
Top Tips for shoe care.
* Try to wear your shoes in dry conditions for the first few occasions.
* Always use a shoehorn when stepping into your shoes.
* Always clean shoes regularly by cleaning off any surplus dirt with a brush or damp cloth.
* For leather shoes apply a quality shoe polish or cream and buff off with either a dry cloth or a brush.
* For suede shoes brush up the nap with a suede brush.
* For Nubuck shoes wipe with a cloth dipped in slightly soapy, warm water.
* If shoes are wet let them dry naturally away from direct heat as quality calf leather shoes require a slow natural drying process.
* The use of a shoe tree is recommended as it will help to retain the shape of the shoe.
Links to English manufacturers: