Bradshaw and Lloyd Fine Shoe Blog

  • De Winter Boots

    Origins:

    Richard de Winter launched the first boot with his name on it in 2015 having spent 25 years working in the shoe industry. It was clear that quality boots bearing famous brand names were getting ludicrously expensive and getting beyond the reach of the man who wanted a high quality boot for everyday use. In working closely with the factories and selling directly to the public Richard realized that he could offer his customers the very highest quality boot at much more sensible prices.

    Production:

    The entire range of De Winter boots are made entirely in England in Rushden, Northamptonshire. This area in the very centre of England has been at the heart of traditional shoemaking for centuries. The industry originally developed here because of the plentiful supply of water, leather, oak trees, skilled labour and good communication links. Today the skills required to make quality footwear are in the very blood of the population. Sons and daughters will still follow their parents into the industry where, unusually these days, it really is possible to secure a job for life.

    Lasts:

    What makes De Winter boots so very different is the last on which they are made. The Hurst last is used to form the shape and fit of the entire collection. The resultant boot offers a very regular fit to suit most feet combined with an elegant toe shape which is not too long. You can return in years to come for another pair of these boots in the knowledge that they will fit you exactly the same as that first pair.

    Availability:

    De Winter boots are only available directly from the Bradshaw & Lloyd shop in Hurstpierpoint or from the online store at www.bradshawandlloyd.com.

  • Sanders boots

    History

    The family run Sanders factory has been hand making boots in their factory in Rusdhen, Northamptonshire since the third quarter of the nineteenth century. Sanders boots are famous the world over for some of the very highest quality traditionally goodyear welted boots throughout the industry. Four generations on from when the two Sanders brothers first started making boots under the roof of one factory in 1873 the business remains in the hands of the Sanders family. Henry Sanders has been in charge for thirty years. Henry’s daughter Megan has recently joined the family business to take it on to the next generation.

    Durability

    For many years the core business of Sanders footwear production was military wear where the requirement for durability was absolutely essential. The same goodyear welted production techniques are used in almost all Sanders boots. The finest leathers and materials are used across the board.

    Styles

    Whether you are looking for a heavier country style boot or perhaps something a little more fashion conscious Sanders offer an extensive range of styles. All Sanders boots are available at bradshawandlloyd.com and also from the shop in Hurstpierpoint.

  • Loake lasts

    What is a last?:

    The last is the plastic mould around which the shoe or boot is made. Loake lasts are no different from other factories’ lasts in that they are instrumental in both the fit and look of the footwear. However all shoemakers spend a considerable amount of time and effort in achieving the right last for particular footwear and they all protect their lasts very closely. Other than the materials used and the construction technique Loake lasts are the very essence of Loake footwear.

    Variety of lasts:

    Like most shoemakers there is a huge array of Loake lasts to choose from. Today there are in excess of 36 different lasts on which Loake shoes and boots are made. Each of these provides a different look depending upon the style of footwear which the designer is trying to achieve as well as in some cases a slightly different fit.


    Last fittings:

    A particular last may be made in the traditional English width fittings of E (narrow, F (medium wide), G (wide) and H (extra wide). Loake lasts are usually F or G fittings and styles will be made on either an F or G last. Occasionally Loake will make a shoe on one of their E or H fitting lasts, but these are fairly rare.
    Our recommendation:
    Our favourite Loake last is the Capital last on which most of Loake’s 1880 premium grade formal shoes are made. This last is an F fit and will suit most feet and has a really elegant toe shape.

  • Sebago laces

    Leather laces

    Sebago laces are high quality, durable rawhide leather thongs and are intended to be threaded in and out of the brass eyelets which run around the sides of the their deck shoes. In our experience genuine Sebago laces are extraordinarily durable. They are of course designed to get wet but as with all leather products they should be allowed to dry naturally. This means not force drying them near a heat source such as a radiator which will destroy the fibres.

    Good quality rawhide laces are available on the high street but without a threading needle you won’t be able to thread the laces in and out of the eyelets. Lesser deck shoes have cosmetic lacing going around the shoe so with these a lacing needle is not required. However the purpose of a genuine moccasin with a fully functioning lacing system to hold the foot securely is one of the reasons that Sebago deck shoes are so loved. You can obtain replacement Sebago laces in three colours along with the needle at www.bradshawandlloyd.com.

    Textile laces

    Textile Sebago laces are used in the Sebago Triton Three Eye and Clovehitch style deck shoes. These are marine grade textile laces and are extraordinarily durable. In our experience they last the entire lifetime of the shoes. For this reason Sebago do not offer replacement textile lacing kits.

  • Dainite versus leather soles

    With all this wet weather it would be good to shed some light on the pros and cons of Dainite versus leather soles for your footwear:

     

    Leather soles:

    Traditionalists of course will tend to favour a leather sole since that is what is often expected on a good pair of goodyear welted shoes. Leather soles can be easily re-soled by either the factory who made them or by your local quality shoe repairer. However there are many different grades of leather used for men’s soles and although they may all look the same to the inexperienced eye there can be huge differences in durability. Essentially a tighter grain will wear much better than a looser grained hide. The hardest wearing sole leather is known as oak bark whereby the hides are buried in a mixture of acorns and oak bark for a couple of years. It’s the natural tanins in this soup which make the leather so durable.

    In my opinion the main downside of a leather sole is that they do need to dry out well between outings since wet leather tends to wear much quicker than dry leather. However there is also the traction issue as new leather soles can be terribly slippery. Also when leather soles get very thin water can begin to penetrate.

    Dainite rubber soles:

    Dainite soles on the other hand are very hard wearing, offer really good traction and won’t allow water ingress even when worn very thin. However it is very important that a leather welt is used with a goodyear welted shoe or boot. Welts can be made out of plastic and although these are hard to spot they are very unpopular amongst shoe repairers who struggle to penetrate them with their needles. Essentially if the item of footwear is from a good brand then the welt should be leather. Importantly Dainite soles can be the same thickness as leather soles so in these instances from above it is difficult to tell the difference.

    So when it comes to Dainite versus leather soles in my opinion Dainite wins hands down. This is reflected I the fact that all the great English brands now offer an extensive range of Dainite rubber soled shoes and boots.

  • The Loake Chatsworth boot is our most popular Loake boot

    The Loake Chatsworth is our best selling Loake boot

    Without doubt the Loake Chatsworth Chelsea boot is our best selling Loake boot. This classic Chelsea is made on the Jockey last which provides both a broad G fitting but without compromising on the elegant toe shape which is so necessary with this style of boot.

    Construction

    The Loake Chatsworth is a traditionally goodyear welted rubber soled boot. Goodyear welting is the best method of making this type of boot and allows numerous re-soles as well as providing a really well supporting boot which will retain its shape. As you would expect from an item from the Loake 1880 collection the Chatsworth is fully leather lined with leather insoles and welts. Loake have made no compromises here in offering their customers a really good quality boot.

    Options available on the Loake Chatsworth

    We offer the boot to our customers in all its guises. There are just two leather options, black and brown, but an array of five suede versions to choose from. You can order these on line at bradshawandlloyd.com or from our high street store in Hurstpierpoint.

  • Trickers shoes

    Bradshaw & Lloyd and Trickers:

    At Bradshaw & Lloyd we have been supplying our customers with Trickers shoes since 1990. And for many years we offered a full made to measure service for Trickers shoes. Consequently we know a fair bit about them and can provide some useful advice to our customers.


    The fit of the shoes:

    One aspect of shoe making which does confuse everyone is the last around which all shoes and boots are made. Different last shapes not only determine the look of the end product but they also effect the fit. Fortunately the sizing of English shoes which come out of the Northamptonshire factories are pretty consistent but the last does make subtle differences to the fit.
    Trickers offer six different last shapes for their off the peg men’s instock styles. The four lasts used for Town Trickers shoes are true to a regular UK size and do suit a standard foot. However the two lasts used for their range of Country shoes and boots is different and they are very generous. Last 4497S is a particularly generous fit and come up a quarter of a size larger than a standard UK size in our experience. Last 4444 is even more generous and come up a whole half size bigger than is standard. Therefore on this last if for example you would take a size 9 then select a size 8.5.

    Styles:

    There is a good range of styles available from Trickers shoes. The Town collection offers some great classic styles and regardless of the last shape are all fairly elegant. The Country collection on the other hand have a very generous toe box and are designed for that good solid country look at the expense of streamlining.

    Quality:

    When it comes to quality all Trickers shoes are second to none and are built to last. But as with all quality footwear do ensure that they go to a competent shoe repairer when that re-sole becomes due. Looked after Trickers shoes can last decades but repaired badly and they will lose their integrity.

  • How Loake shoes are made

    Are Loake shoes goodyear welted?

    There are various forms of shoe construction which have developed over the years and Loake are capable of utilizing them all. However the overwhelming majority of Loake shoes and boots are traditionally goodyear welted. This is what Loake are very good at and what they are known for. All the other methods are quicker and use fewer materials and are therefore also cheaper. However you cannot beat a goodyear welted shoe when you are looking for comfort, support, weather resilience and repairability.

    Other forms of construction:

    Certain types of shoe do not lend themselves to goodyear welting. The method is really for temperate climates or where a stouter more robust shoe is required. If you were looking for a softer more flexible loafer for example then a moccasin construction might be more suitable. Therefore Loake do offer a range of superb moccasins such as the Donington and Goodwood.
    Similarly for a lighter weight of shoe with a thinner sole then a stitch down or Blakey stitch construction may be more appropriate. Therefore for such designs Loake are able to accommodate such styles into their range. Examples of these are the Mojave shoe and Nicholson loafer respectively.

    Loake and goodyear welting:

    Loake have been making shoes in Northamptonshire since 1873 and there is nothing they don’t know about making quality footwear. But rest assured they will be using the best method of construction for the particular type of shoe but their heart lies in traditional goodyear welting and this remains their core shoe and boot form of construction.

  • Where are Sanders shoes made?

    Where are Sanders shoes made?

    The Sanders factory is one of England’s oldest shoe makers having been established in 1873. However since so much outsourcing overseas has occurred in recent years at other shoemakers many people have asked us where are Sanders shoes made? This is especially pertinent since we chose Sanders to produce our De Winter boot collection.

    Leathers:

    Although the Northamptonshire shoe industry as a whole makes some of the very finest shoes and boots in the world today we do not have an extensive tanning industry. As a result the best leathers tend to be imported from overseas these days. And Sanders is no exception importing the very best leathers from across Europe and South America.

    Production:

    The Sanders factory in Rushden is one of the few remaining English shoe makers where the entire production process continues to be entirely done in England. And this all takes place in their Spencer Road factory. The company remains in the same private Sanders family hands as it has done since the two brothers set up the business 146 years ago. Whereas the likes of Loake, Barker and Grenson do get a substantial part of their shoe production done overseas every aspect of Sanders boot and shoe production is done here in England.


    The future:

    Henry Sanders continues to remain committed to continuing the proud tradition of entirely UK production. He is aware that although labour costs may be higher there are many advantages, not least the fact that the made in England label is hugely popular worldwide.

  • Repairing Loake shoes.

    Repairing Loake shoes.

    One of the great benefits of goodyear welted shoes is that they are fully repairable. Most Loake shoes are goodyear welted and we are often asked about how best to go about repairing Loake shoes so let’s look at the various options.

    Rubber v leather soles:

    One key benefit of leather soles is that a thin stick-on rubber sole may be applied to the forepart. The rubber will provide enhanced traction and prevent the leather sole itself from degrading with wear. This can then easily be replaced at a heel bar in due course for little cost. Because rubber soles tend to have a tread, with lumps and bumps, adding a stick-on sole is not an option.
    When it comes to repairing Loake shoes and replacing the sole itself, whether rubber or leather, there are a couple of options. You can return the shoes to the Loake factory where they will be repaired on the original last and the entire sole unit replaced. This will set you back the best part of £100 but they will be returned to you looking like new shoes. The downside of returning the shoes to the factory is that you may lose them for six weeks whilst they work their way around the factory. Because of this you may prefer repairing Loake shoes by taking them to a reputable local cobbler. Here the repairer should perform a half sole replacement because he will be using his own lasts and you do not want your shoes to lose shape. The advantage of going this route is that it will be considerably cheaper and quicker than returning them to Loake.

    The Bradshaw & Lloyd shoe repair service:

    Your other option when repairing Loake shoes is to return them to us. We would perform a half sole replacement for the reasons listed above. You can normally expect to receive them back within 10 days. Please refer to our website for further information.

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