The “brogue” design of classic Church’s shoe is thought to be around a 100 years old.
Church’s was founded in 1873 by Thomas Church and his three sons. However, the history of the brand can be traced back to Thomas’ Great-Grandfather, Stone Church who is known to have produced shoes and leather goods back in 1675.
Church’s shoes, on average, take about eight weeks and more than 250 manual operations to produce, constructed with the world-renowned Goodyear method where the sole and the upper are sewn on a ”welt ” – a strip of hand-cut leather – which is then sewn on the bottom of the shoe. This process allows for refurbishment with even the most worn in pair being returned and looking like new.
In terms of aesthetic, the classic elegance of their design – some models have been around for over a century – is a trend that never goes out of style.
At its main manufacturing locations in the St James area of Northampton, Church’s make an estimated production capacity of 5,000 pairs per week.
Church’s was taken over by Prada in 1999 – who purchased 83% of the family business for $170m – and has since then expanded its outlets overseas.
My Church’s Brogues: My history with Church’s shoes goes back to the early 1990’s and I have had several pairs that have lasted me more than twenty years with only perhaps a couple of repairs.
My favourite pair – as shown in our Featured Image – that are still going strong are perhaps the more durable pair of shoes I have ever owner. The are a model called a “Grafton” and are built on the classic lasts in Northampton of the most amazing dense yet subtle leather that just glows year after year.
They have accompanied me wearing Morning Dress – on several occasions including to my own wedding in 1994, a celebration in Glasgow that involve me wearing a family tartan fashioned as “trews” and, more recently, as a simply elegant finish to a well cut suit.
Dabbing a small amount of polish and buffing up every now and then has helped maintain water resistance but even when drenched these marvellous shoes recover very quickly.
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