The Brits Make
the Best Shoes

Crockett & Jones English men's footwear Crockett & Jones English men's footwear

The Brits
Make the
Best Shoes

And Crockett & Jones has made buying them is even easier

British men are famously good dressers. But they may be even more known for their ironclad taste in footwear. That could be because, if given the chance, most self-respecting Englishmen are wearing shoes made in England. What's so great about British shoes? In a word, everything.

After all, the country has a long history of making footwear. Like, really long. The first English guild who called themselves cordwainers—an Anglicization of the French word for shoemaker—was founded at Oxford in 1131. The word is actually derived from the southern Spanish city of Córdoba, which was famed for its high-quality leather. And the use of exceptional leather is of great importance to British shoe making.

That leather is pulled over a last—a mold in the shape of a foot, traditionally made of wood—as it takes the shape of a shoe. A lot of English shoe brands will denote the name or type of last used for each of their models, so you can become familiar with the one that fits you best.

Advertisement

Crockett & Jones English men's leather loafers
Crockett & Jones English men's leather loafers

Of course, the bedrock of any shoe is the sole. And that's where British shoe making really excels—the solid construction is not only built to last decades but only gets more comfortable the longer you wear them. Americans may've patented the Goodyear welting machine in 1869, but the method originated two hundred years prior in Europe. The benefit of that dual-stitch technique is that it creates a durable shoe that can easily be resoled over and over again.

And when you remove that Goodyear-welted sole you're left with that same well-crafted foundation. Meaning you can have fresh soles stitched on but the same broken-in feeling remains. What's more, even the most venerable brands are now combining new technologies and blending modern soles with tried and tested construction methods in order to continue meeting the needs of today's man.

Crockett & Jones Seaton Suede Loafer

Seaton suede loafer,
$550 by Crockett & Jones

Crockett & Jones Seaton Suede Loafer

Seaton suede loafer,
$550 by Crockett & Jones

Case in point: Crockett & Jones, the epitome of British footwear, has just launched a new website with an e-commerce store and debuted an innovative unstructured collection. The casual shoes (ideal for the coming spring and summer) boast a uniquely flexible leather sole that took over two years to develop. It's unlike anything they've done before and yet remains true to their roots of classic British cobbling.

Made in their Northampton factory, the collection remains Goodyear welted using “flexi-welts” and lightweight ribbing. Lightness and flexibility were paramount but they still had to be lasting in quality. The new “SuperFlex” leather sole is permeated with waxes during a lengthy and highly scientific tanning process to ensure it's hardwearing while offering extreme levels of comfort and grip.

Crockett & Jones Salacombe Loafer

Salacombe loafer,
$550 by Crockett & Jones

Crockett & Jones Vibram-Soled Chelsea Boot

Vibram-soled Chelsea boot,
$700 by Crockett & Jones

Crockett & Jones Burnished Calf Connaught 2 Oxford

Burnished calf Connaught 2 oxford,
$640 by Crockett & Jones

Plus, you can now shop the collection, along with the entire lineup of Crockett & Jones shoes, online. For years, the brand has only ever had two stores in the U.S. (both in New York City) that were able service the whole country via mail order. Now, like so many heritage brands, they've embraced the web after a year when in-person shopping was at best, frowned upon or at worst, legally forbidden.

Thankfully, shoes are one of the safest purchases you can make online. You know your size and unlike a jacket or pair of pants, what you see in the photographs looks exactly like what you pull out of the box. And while these shoes are no doubt an investment, the fact that you'll certainly have them for the next ten years (at least), makes them worth every penny.

Crockett & Jones Salacombe Loafer

Salacombe loafer,
$550 by Crockett & Jones

Crockett & Jones Vibram-Soled Chelsea Boot

Vibram-soled Chelsea boot,
$700 by Crockett & Jones

Crockett & Jones Burnished Calf Connaught 2 Oxford

Burnished calf Connaught 2 oxford,
$640 by Crockett & Jones

Other Venerable British Brands: Grenson, Church’s, Edward Green, John Lobb, Tricker’s and Loake

Crockett & Jones manufacturing

FYI

Crockett & Jones’ factory makes around 2,500 pairs of shoes a week, at capacity (and rarely dips below 80% capacity).

NOTE: Items featured in this story are independently selected by the editorial team. Purchasing via our links may earn Valet. a portion of the sale, which helps fund our editorial mission.

The Smart Way
to Start Your Day

The Daily Valet. is your cheat sheet to what you need to know right now. Never feel caught off guard again.

More on
Shoes

Advertisement