Church’s – A British Jewel in the Art of shoe-making. 

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Church’s story in shoe-making starts officially in 1873 with the foundation of the company by Thomas Church and his 3 sons. But the shoe-making heritage was already in the Church’s family since the 17th century. In deed, Stone Church, the Church’s great grand-father of Thomas was born in 1676 in Northampton. This British city had a long and solid heritage in shoe-making. So this specific know-how was written in the family’s DNA for several generations. It was natural that several decades later Thomas Church founded his company in Northampton where they still have the main factory.

The business remained within the founding family until 1999, year that Prada Group took over. Thanks to this acquisition, the British company had enough resources to expand overseas. Today the company produces around 5’000 pairs of shoes every week and 70% of total production is dedicated to exportation.

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Besides products sold to resellers and individual customers, the company also has several of its own retail stores, including ones in Jermyn Street, London, George Street, Edinburgh, and Pacific Place, Hong Kong. It has 50 stores across central and northern Europe, America, Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Japan.
In terms of collections for men:

  • Classic Collection
  • Country
  • Loafers
  • Shanghai
  • Triple sole
  • Slippers
  • Contemporary collection
  • Office Collection
  • Weekend
  • Office collection
  • Flex Collection
  • Easewelt
  • Sneakers
  • Casual

Why Church’s shoes are well known worldwide? Definitely it is because of their superior quality and amazing durability. Durability is what we all wish to get from the perfect pair of shoes. A good Church’s shoes would last even beyond your on lifetime. It takes up to 8 weeks and more than 250 manual steps to craft a single pair. The secret? It is all in the construction. The Goodyear method is applied at its best. The artisan will take a strip of leather, known as the welt, and sew it around the bottom of the upper and the insole. That same welt is then sewn onto the sole. This particular composition bestows every pair with an unparalleled level of resistance and allows for future refurbishments, lengthening its lifespan by years or even decades.

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With Church’s creative universe, we saw the birth of several icons in terms of masculine elegance. A true icon is defined not only by the impact that it makes at the moment of its revealing, but the lasting relevance it enjoys more than half a century later.

No later than 1929, Church’s presented one of the most iconic men’s shoes ever: the Shanghai. It was a completely innovative style that was designed for Englishmen living abroad and from that specific need, the British brand redefined elegance in the masculine wardrobe. In 2009, after finding an original model at the Northampton factory, the brand decided to re-issue an identical version with an intentionally vintage feel, a move that successfully resonated with clients, retailers and the fashion industry. The Shanghai takes an average of 500 steps to create and its defining characteristic is a special rubber sole built to resist wear and tear, with the logo, “CHURCH CO”, artfully designed on it.

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The Shanghai’s aesthetic, which was considered avant-garde as much in 1929 as it is now, combines tradition with modernity, successfully achieving that ever-fickle balancing act between sophisticated and sporty. The Shanghai’s most defining characteristic is the original rubber sole, which features an artfully designed “CHURCH CO” logo across the bottom and took an entire year to reproduce. This remarkable sole has appeared periodically throughout the brand’s style repertoire and was created to resist wear and tear, offering up the added benefit of versatility to an already exemplary shoe.

The contemporary rendition, which is constructed exactly as it was in 1929, features yet another element of distinction – the shoes are intentionally broken in and weathered by hand to fully evoke the vintage spirit of the original. Church’s is part of British heritage and we can see in their institutional campaign that they emphasize this in a modern way. There is also another interesting component in this brand which is value for money. Here are our top 3 Church’s shoes, our Chief Editor’s choice.

Church’s Milltown Betis Black leather sole

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Definitely one of the great classics in masculine elegance, the Milltown Betis Black unites a virile design with timeless qualitative allure. The Milltown is double monk strap from the Premier Collection that features nickel/silver colour buckles on the black leather version and gold colour buckles on the brown and chestnut versions as well as sophisticated double stitching along the toe cap and the upper. The shoe was constructed with the world-renowned Goodyear method, ensuring a durability that is as good as its design. Recommended Retail price: GBP 545 (USD680).

Church’s Dubai Polished Binder

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The Dubai, made from Last 136, is an Oxford with a lining made entirely of soft cowhide while the soles are made of premium grade leather. This contemporary lace-up features subtle double stitching along the toe cap and upper for an elegant decorative touch. The shoe was constructed with the world-renowned Goodyear method, ensuring a durability that is as good as its design. Recommended Retail Price: GBP360 (USD450)

 

Church’s Burwood Triple sole

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Burwood is a classic full brogue Oxford, a style that historically was constructed using untanned hide whose perforations allowed water to drain from the shoes when the wearer crossed wet terrains. The unique polished binder finish is applied to full grain leather, giving the shoes a beautiful, deep shine. The size, fit, last, quality control number, date and style name are all written by hand on the inside of the upper in a special calligraphy. The thick triple sole, made of leather or Dainite, features a storm welt with bead around the top, which helps keep water out. Recommended Retail Price: GBP450 (USD562)

If you wish to learn more about Church’s, please do not hesitate to connect to the official website here:
http://www.church-footwear.com 

When heritage and history meet design and quality the result is a timeless outstanding piece of elegance.

José Amorim

Info sourced at the brand official website, WWD, Wikipedia and Vogue. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available. images are for illustration purposes only. 

José Amorim

José Amorim has been working in the luxury industry for more than 15 years. In the past 8 years, he joined his personal passion for digital culture and his luxury background to develop digital strategies for premium brands. He is the founder of LuxuryActivist.com and is happy to share his passion here.