As a by-product of being the home of luxury English shoemaking, Northampton is also a great place for finding quality vintage shoes.
Since setting out to discover the hidden shoe factories and factory shops of Northampton, my visual radar has become re-tuned to spotting design classics in the form of classic English shoe brands. With this new awareness and with a wife who is a huge vintage clothing fan, I’ve started to stumble across some fantastic finds that will interest vintage and shoe connoisseurs alike.
Church’s 1960s vintage men’s shoes
The first set of vintage shoes were found at the brilliant Vintage Retreat. In a dark corner of the basement alongside a multitude of other oddities were half a dozen pairs of ‘Church’s famous English shoes’ from the 1960s.
Dandy white soft grain Cassis loafers, black calf Mirage loafers and a pair of men’s truffle suede Chevron Glovemocs were amongst the best finds. All pairs were in their original box, all size 8 and a half and all around £30 a pair for a classic bit of Church’s footwear history.
Tricker’s turtle leather vintage loafers
Second on the list were a pair of beautiful Tricker’s loafers found at a vintage fair in Leamington Spa. The stall owner had done her research; following a call with Tricker’s HQ she’d discovered they were pre-1964 (this was the date when detailed records for bespoke shoes began) and local knowledge points to these custom made, hand lasted turtle leather loafers being made for the Mayor of Royal Leamington Spa.
Unlike the Church’s vintage shoes which were very much of their time (suitable for the fine young gentleman of the sixties), the Tricker’s shoes were timeless classics although even I couldn’t squeeze into a 7 and a half.
These nuggets of English design history should really be worn or preserved and displayed for prosperity in a suitable museum. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for more design classics as I frequent the vintage retreats on my travels.