With the NPS Shoes and Solovair shoe factory shop coming up to a year since it was opened, we thought it was time to take a closer look at an often overlooked English shoemaking success.
A brief history of Solovair and Dr Martens
Whilst those in the know associate the Northamptonshire village of Wollaston as being the home of Dr Martens, the great success of the iconic English brand is tied in heavily to that of NPS (AKA The Northamptonshire Productive Society), who manufactured the first pair of sample Dr Marten boots with air-cushioned soles back in 1959 and continued to manufacture Solovair (Sole-of-Air) boots and shoes under licence to Dr Martens well into the 1990s.
NPS Shoes is now a well established quality shoemaker with a proud history of craftsmanship dating back over 130 years. As well as its now classic Solovair range and traditional men's and women's collections, NPS Shoes is commissioned to make bespoke styles for some of the most respected brands in the world including Jack Wills, John Lewis, Joules, M&S, Kurt Geiger and George Cox.
The NPS Shoe and Solovair factory shop
The factory shoe shop is split into two distinct parts; as you walk in, on the right you can find proper NPS and Solovair bargains at up to half the retail price. There are samples and seconds for men and women and, whilst the selection is good, they are limited on available sizes.
On the left as you walk in, is where the current NPS and Solovair ranges can be found. From the women's NPS collection with stylish navy suede Chelsea boots and green suede Oxford brogues, through to the Maracca suede Chukka boots and brogue Derby boots from the NPS men's collection, you can pick up pretty much the full range of NPS shoes for up to 25% off the RRP.
Solovair shoes and boots bargains
As well as NPS Shoes, the factory shop has a full range of Solovair shoes and boots at bargain prices compared to buying online. The unisex range of these quality English shoes come in up to 30% cheaper than RRP and if the styling looks similar to your favourite Dr Martens, that's because they are made in the same factory as the original Docs. And, unlike a majority of Dr Martens production, all Solovair shoes and boots are absolutely Made in England (in fact, just across the road from the factory shoe shop).
So, from the classic and heritage collections from NPS through to the distinctive styling and authenticity of Solovair shoes and boots, you really can't go wrong by taking a trip to Wollaston and checking out the NPS Shoes factory shop for quality footwear at great prices.