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Off Town: How Church's perfected the country shoe

Northampton heritage brand Church's have perfected the country shoe this winter, with their new Off Town collection.

We’re entering the thick of winter now, and one of the finest consolations we can think of is wearing a durable, comfortable shoe that is able to brave the elements as we wander through the city—or as Church’s new Off Town collection suggests—the countryside.

But this isn’t your typically stiff country-shoe. Instead, Church’s have designed each piece in the collection to be lightweight, so although they look stylish, each pair is actually made to be practical for the various aspects of pastoral life (although, we think they work just as well in the city, too). The entire collection is handmade in Church’s Northampton factory, where a member of Church's has been handcrafting shoes since as far back as 1617. They have the brand’s timeless aesthetic—perhaps more contemporary in shape than their peers; composed from tradition while remaining sleek and versatile. 

The Off Town collection takes four of those classic silhouettes and re-fashions them with a new featherweight rubber sole, built for endurance—still rugged, by all means—but lacking that plodding stiffness that country shoes can sometimes be known for. There are handsome storm welting features (similar to Goodyear, but wider), memory foam beneath the rib for extra comfort, and the soles are crafted with deep treads to help you wade through the various terrains, protecting the upper from dirt or rain-water. 

Better yet, each shoe from the Off Town collection is based on a classic shape that you can, indeed, pair with your city-appropriate outfits too (although, what’s the difference now anyway?). The Lymm is a smart Derby, made with Rois calf leather—an ode to the brand’s workwear heritage, but no less sophisticated. The Lymington moc-toe is crafted in a special burnished Monteria leather, adding an understated ‘aged’ feel to the design. A ridged commando rubber sole ensures it is as reliable as it looks, thanks to exceptional grip and a waterproof welt.

The third style is the Leicester—the Off Town collection’s version of a Chelsea boot. Available in black (like each of the other shapes) or a handsome deep brown, the sleek contours add a more refined finish, while the chunkier rubber sole gives it an extra level of step and ruggedness. The elasticated inserts and cotton pull tab are not only convenient, but they maintain the heritage of this style; which has always been among the most versatile to wear. 

Lace-ups and boots are covered. But Church’s have also made a penny loafer in this construction, too. The Letchworth and the Lynton uses the same high-quality Rois calf leather as the Lymm, and with its bolder, more assertive design, feels like a genuinely contemporary take on the classic penny loafer—perfectly paired with wider trousers and an overcoat. The Lynton, like the other three styles, are a confident upgrade on what are typically classic shoe shapes, and with the light construction, makes them all an absolute joy to wear, whether you’re trudging the fields or heading over to a coffee shop somewhere in London. But, should you find yourself in the country, owning a pair of Church’s Off Town shoes just makes the whole experience more comfortable, and considerably more stylish. 

Shop the Church's Off Town collection here.

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