There are few trees as strong as the oak. Not only do they commonly live for centuries and weather the test of time, but they also weather the actual weather — and can withstand storms, extreme cold and even hurricanes. It’s an impressive set of skills; and one that Joseph Cheaney and Sons has harnessed from nature and laced into its new collection.
The Imperial Collection from the British heritage shoemaker uses oak bark tanning to preserve the leather of its shoes; from the ankle boots to the buckled monks. This traditional tanning process, dating back to medieval times, sees the leather hides steeped in oak bark extract — for up to a whole year — to imbue them with a more hard-wearing, flexible edge.
After a year, these hides are then crafted into the soles of Cheaney’s latest collection. Master craftsmen delicately split the edge of the sole open, before opening a groove along the length of the leather. This allows the shoemaker to discreetly and gently embed the stitching deep within the sole itself. It’s a nifty trick, and one that pays dividends when you slip on the finished product.
Our favourite shoes from the collection are the Hanover Balmoral Boots, the Windsor Capped Oxfords and Saxon Suede Saddle Loafers. And each has been crafted using one of two well-heeled Imperial lasts; the 15216 and the 207.
Designed specifically for the Imperial Collection, Last 15216 has a slightly more chiselled toe for a handsome appearance, and fits tightly under the arch of the foot. Last 207, in comparison, is slightly deeper; running sculpted and long down the foot. It’s a look that lends itself well to the brand’s fully leather lined loafers.
Each of the shoes in the new collection also feature a fiddle waists; another traditional touch seen on the sole of the shoe as a subtle ridge. Hand-painted, every single shoe is finished to the highest standard and promises to last for years to come. For, like the oak whose bark helps make them, these shoes are hardy, beautiful and seriously, seriously strong.
Joseph Cheaney and Sons Imperial Collection
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