Watch: Inside the Northampton Crockett & Jones shoe factory

Gentleman’s Journal take a step by step tour of how the heritage shoemaker creates the best shoes in Britain

Set within the shoemaking capital of the world, Northampton, Crockett & Jones’ workforce proudly sit in an impressive Grade II listed building that boasts well-trodden corridors and wood-panelled walls, rich in both character and heritage. 

After all, it takes a lot of history, tradition and respect for processes of the past to create the best shoes in the world. 

The production process behind crafting these shoes itself has evolved somewhat since its original days in the 18th century, and much of the factory appears the same as it ever was. Even the techniques used to bring these shoes into being have hardly changed.

"After all, it takes a lot of history, tradition and respect for processes of the past to create the best shoes in the world..."

In fact, many of the skilled workforce are second or third generation workers in the factory, and know every one of the 200 separate steps to produce the strong, comfortable and durable shoes to which Crockett & Jones have put their names. Seven rooms are set over seven floors, making this factory one of the largest in Northampton.

So tie up your laces, and let’s take a tour.

An Historic Balcony

We begin at the end. The famous balcony of the Crockett & Jones factory overlooks the finishing room; one of the seven main chambers in which these world class shoes are created. And, after pattern-cutting, clicking, closing, preparation, lasting, making and finishing, this is where each and every shoe ends its own tour of the factory.

Masters of Leather

The company has to compete with French luxury houses for the calfskin required for its opulent uppers and, as such Crockett & Jones shoes ensure that they stand their ground to get the very best. In rooms lined with shelves, themselves stacked high with rolls of pungent leather, workers check for any imperfections or impurities, before giving the okay for these raw materials to be turned into the finest footwear.

Goodyear-Welted Shoes

What makes Crockett & Jones special is that its items are meticulously made at every step of the creation process. The high quality and superior Goodyear welt – a strip of leather that runs around the edge of the upper and holds the components together – is often cited as a hallmark of decadent shoes and the overall construction – which takes a staggering eight-week period to complete – ensures they are durable, timeless, stylish and exceedingly comfortable.

The Art of Finishing

And we come full circle, back to the finishing room. In here, where the smells of acrid fumes and thick varnish wind their ways up your nostrils, the shoes have their edges stained and waxed, and the whole shoe polished — even the bottom. It is this level of detail that really sets Crockett & Jones apart from their competitors, and long may the fascinating Northampton factory continue to serve as a bastion of British shoemaking.

Watch the full video below:

Watch: Inside the Northampton Crockett & Jones shoe factory

Crockett & Jones

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