There aren’t a lot of similarities between Northampton and the Serengeti. One is a vast national park and wildlife refuge in eastern Africa, with a name which translates, somewhat romantically, as ‘the endless plains’. The other is one of England’s largest towns. But Northampton has its own claim to fame — it is the luxury, quality shoemaking capital of the entire world. Take that, Big Five.
And, just in time for summer, these two distinct destinations have been hand-stitched, whole-cut and Goodyear-welted together in the most unexpected of ways: through footwear. Joseph Cheaney & Sons, the Northamptonshire-based, handcrafted heritage brand, has taken inspiration from the earthy colours and long hazy days of the Serengeti for its latest collection. So grab your binoculars and jump in the Jeep — we’re off on a British safari.
The Chelsea boots are fit for adventure
These boots are a long, long way from the King’s Road. Despite the classic Chelsea design walking into the mainstream during London’s Swinging Sixties, Cheaney has taken the traditional design and given it a tricked-out, tooled-up revamp. We’re talking diamond-patterned, Goodyear-welted rubber soles, hard-wearing elasticated side panels and logo-jacquard pull tabs. Just look at them — begging to be stomped and stamped out into the countryside.
And they’re well-equipped for the hardest, harshest terrains you could possibly find. Our favourite thing about Cheaney’s new Godfrey Chelseas has to be the heels. A signature of the style, these heels are crafted carefully from stacked leather for durability, and even come equipped with quarter rubber tips — a strategically placed section of rubber to ensure the soles don’t wear down. Pair these resilient credentials with bitter chocolate suede and dark calf leather uppers, and you’ve got a shoe made for walking (not to mention hiking, climbing, trekking and travelling to boot).
Cheaney Godfrey in Bitter Chocolate
Cheaney Godfrey in Plough Suede
Cheaney Godfrey in Dark Leaf Calf
The new Derby collection is made of tough stuff
Back in the 1850s, when the Derby shoe first stepped onto the scene, most of the men lacing it up were bound for the country — heading out of the city for sporting pursuits such as hunting or shooting. Over time, these low-cut shoes have returned to the city, and become one of the most-spotted styles in formal dress codes. With its new collection, Cheaney is taking the Derby back to its roots — no, not the East Midlands town of its name, but rather the great outdoors.
With styles from the Newton and Avon to the Murton, the British shoemaker has added a little more oomph into these Derby shoes than you’d usually expect. The Newton, for instance, may have a bitter chocolate suede upper, but those beefed-up, bulked out soles will ensure no dirt or debris ever gets past the welt. The Avon Wingcap Brogue has a similarly chunky construction, but also boasts punched detailing not usually afforded to such hardy shoes. But our pick of these quirky Derby shoes has to be the new Murton in blue waxy suede — an industrial spin on a classic with a Vibram Vi-Lite sole.
Cheaney Murton in Blue Waxy Suede
Cheaney Newton in Bitter Chocolate
Cheaney Avon R in Mocha Calf Leather
The lace-up boots are rugged, durable and supremely comfortable
Now we’re talking. Even fashion-focused boots are rougher and tougher than most other shoes — so you can only imagine how indestructible and unbreakable Cheaney’s boots are. But, even among the new collection, there are a few standout styles. The Jarrow and Trafalgar Derby boots, for two. High-ankled and crafted from tanned waxy suede, these are boots built to last — and we’d wager you won’t find a more striking pair this summer than these Cappero Green Jarrows.
Although the Cole MV Monkey Boots might just give the Jarrows a run for their resistant money. Based on a design initially issued to the Czechoslovakian army during the Second World War, these casual boots feature a trademark lightweight sole that runs from heel to toe. Pair this bright white, distinctive sole with some idiosyncratic stitching and a waxy blue colour — and you’ve got yourself a boot that steps over all others.
Cheaney Trafalgar in Tan Waxy Suede
Cheaney Cole MV in Blue Waxy Suede
Cheaney Jarrow in Cappero Green Suede
Want more from Cheaney? Here, we take a look at some of the shoemaker’s most versatile styles…
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