Either way, we'd love to hear from you. Our specialist shop in Chesterfield has an extensive range of Loake Shoes and Boots for you to try on for size - and we've experts on hand to help you make sure the fit is perfect just for you.
My family has been making traditional English shoes for longer than anyone can remember. My great-grandfather John opened the first Loake factory with his brothers, Thomas and William, back in 1880. Today, five generations and more than 130 years later, the Loake association with fine, handmade shoes lives on.
As the current custodians of Loake, we are immensely proud of the commitment of our forefathers and the tradition they worked so hard to establish. For this reason our premium grade Goodyear welted shoes continue to be made in Kettering, England, in the same factory that the three brothers built in 1894.
The Goodyear welted construction for which Loake is renowned is an intricate process with origins going back over 300 years. Only the very highest quality materials are used. Each pair takes eight weeks to make and we still believe there is no finer way to make a gentleman's shoe.
Of course, things move on. Alongside our English Goodyear welted footwear we now design and produce a range of shoes outside the UK, using a variety of constructions. This enables us to offer a complete wardrobe of shoes suitable for every occasion.
We estimate Loake has made over 50 million pairs of Goodyear welted shoes since it began. We now export to more than 50 countries and have become a favourite with discerning customers worldwide. Our aim is to uphold this tradition and continue making the most handsome, comfortable and durable shoes we can.
1. Clicking (Cutting)
This is the name given to the process of cutting the leather sections of the shoe uppers. The name "clicking" is derived from the noise that is made when the blade of the knife is removed from the leather when this is done by hand.
"Closing" is where the various sections of the shoe upper are stitched together. There are many operations carried out at this stage. For example, the thickness of the leather is "skived" (reduced) to avoid bulkiness and the edges of the leather are stained, seared or folded to improve appearance.
The shoe upper is pulled over the "last" and attached to the insole at the toe, sides and seat. Before lasting, the uppers are "mulled" (conditioned) in a special room in order to impart sufficient moisture to allow the leather to mould to the shape of the last.
4. Welt Sewing
The "welt" is a strip of leather that is stitched to the upper and the insole, and to which the sole will also be stitched. Because welted shoes are sewn together, rather than glued, skilled craftsmen can dismantle and repair them.
5. Sole Stitching
This operation stitches the soles to the welts. The soles are lockstitched, using two separate threads, for maximum strength.
6. Edge Trimming
The edges of the soles are trimmed to shape before they can be stained. This is a highly skilled operation which is performed "freehand". Later they will be waxed, ironed and polished.
7. Sole Staining
The sole bottoms are also stained and polished. These will be stamped and wheeled to add extra detail at a later stage.
The final burnishing, dressing and polishing operations are very time consuming and have to be done entirely by hand.