With the bitter chill setting in and the elements taking a turn for the worse, owning some solid, sturdy footwear is paramount this season. And, if you’re searching for the best boots, brogues or monk straps around, look no further than heritage shoemaker Edward Green.
During the latter half of the 19th century, Edward Green began his career in the footwear industry when he was just 12 years old. But, before he began dreaming up designs in his head, he had to learn the craft upon which he would one day stamp his name.
Green first became a shoe ‘clicker’ – the worker who cuts the leather used to create the shoe – a position named for the clicking sound your leather cutting knife made against the wood. From this crucial – but repetitive – work, working as just a cog in the greater shoemaking machine, the 12-year-old apprentice soon became fixated with the industry and, in 1890, founded his own workshop in the shoemaking capital of Northampton, bringing with him the town’s most prominent craftsmen and providing them with some of the best British materials to work with.
Promising his customers “excellence without compromise”, Green quickly gained a reputation as an elite artisan and became renowned for his English Goodyear Welted footwear. A strong way to craft a shoe for added resilience and reliability, the Goodyear Welted sole affords footwear durability due to reinforced stitching and a leather ribbon that holds all parts of the shoe together.
As a result, the company became the largest manufacturer of officers’ boots for the British Army during the 1930s and began to boast a clientele that included the likes of American novelist Ernest Hemingway and King Edward VIII.
127 years later, and the label is still based in Northampton – currently employing over 60 craftsmen who make approximately 350 pairs of shoes a week for clients all over the world.
What makes Edward Green so different?
Put simply, the detail and thought that goes into Edward Green’s shoemaking process stands this heritage British brand heads and shoulders above other shoemakers. Cut and crafted by hand from the world’s best leathers, every pair that walks out of the factory is the result of an artisanal process that has remained mostly unchanged since the house was established in 1890.
Only superior leathers such as French and Italian calf are used, time-consuming processes – such as the hand-cutting of materials – are employed and every sole is oak bark-tanned for nine months to ensure unrivalled comfort.
Because of the high level of craftsmanship that runs throughout the workshop, each product has a luxurious feel and is imbued with a classic sense of style. Little wonder, then, why Edward Green has been the go-to brand for English gents for over a century. And not just the British – a startling 85 per cent of business is exports, with the shoes being stocked in as far-flung stores as Isetan in Japan and Bergdorf Goodman in New York.
What should you invest in from Edward Green?
Aside from shoes, this heritage brand also produces some of the best quality accessories and leather goods in Britain – from belts to wallets and cardholders. And, what’s more, the accessories are all created from the same beautifully antiqued calfskin and alligator skins used in their shoes.
So, if you’re not looking to buy a new pair of shoes – if you are, the Galway and Piccadilly pairs are our favourite styles – why not opt for a briefcase, or meticulously-made belt.