December 8th, 2016
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.
Umbrella magazine is one of our favourite reads. Inspired by style and culture, it is witty and informed, but not pompous. We asked Umbrella’s sartorially savvy editor Anthony Teasdale to put together a summer style edit featuring a pair of Loake shoes. He chose our popular Kingston loafer for a look that works whenever smart casual dress is required.
Goodyear Welted footwear is traditionally constructed with a leather sole. In recent years however, other materials have begun to grow in popularity. The majority of the shoes we make at Loake still feature a leather sole, but there is an increasing number of rubber/synthetic sole options on offer.
One of the benefits of Goodyear Welted footwear is that the shoes can be resoled. At Loake we believe that the best shoe repair is done by the people who made them and we are proud that we are able to prolong the life of our customers’ footwear.
Our popular factory repair service covers re-soling on the original last with new soles and heels, fitting new seat socks and re-finishing the upper part of the shoes. Here are just a few of the many processed involved.Read More
Most people have a reasonable understanding of how important it is to look after leather shoes and it’s relatively easy to find information about the various creams, waxes and polishes that are available and how to use them.
Although it’s just as important to look after suede shoes, they are a little more delicate and there seems to be less information available.
So here are a few hints:
Brush your shoes with a suede brush after every use. This will revive the nap and remove any excess surface dirt that may have accumulated. Suede Brushes are often made of brass wire and are used for raising the ‘nap’ of the suede, but it’s also possible to buy multi-headed brushes which can have a gentler effect if you’re worried about scuffing the surface. Always brush the nap in the same direction, this will keep the shoes looking clean and stop you just brushing dirt around the shoe.
An Oxford is a lace-up shoe where the eyelet facings are stitched underneath the vamp (front section of the shoe). This style of shoe is sometimes called a closed front. Oxfords are traditionally fairly formal shoes with a toe cap, but there are now variations available to suit both formal and casual dress. One theory of its origin is that the Oxford evolved from a popular style of boot with side slits. The side slit evolved into a side lace that eventually moved to the top of the foot and the lighter-weight shoe became popular with the students at Oxford University, who rebelled against the more traditional boots of the day.
In 1929, Loake’s Wood Street factory caught fire. The results were devastating. Despite the extensive damage, however, production resumed within a week. Here Andrew Loake recounts his father’s memories of the event.
I don’t think it can be pure coincidence that the date in 1929 on which the factory caught fire was 5th November. It has always been assumed, but never known for certain, that the cause of it was a firework.
All of the Clicking (cutting) room, most of the Closing (stitching) room and the leather room were destroyed.