Where are the Church's produced?
Beyond the red brick façade, there is more than just a building; there are craftsmen who developed a deep sense of belonging to these spaces over the years. Passionate workers, who feel entrusted with the preservation and handing down of the priceless secrets of manufacturing tradition, backed by a level of productive efficiency made possible only by modern work planning.
Church’s manufacturing journey began in a small workshop located at 30 Maple Street, which then moved to a larger production site on Duke Street to finally establish its longtime headquarters on St. James Road.
The history of Church’s has always been inextricably linked to the district and the city of Northampton, known for its footwear industry. The area’s leatherworking tradition, dating back to the Middle Ages, gave way to a flourishing footwear industry when, in the late XIX century, shoemakers made up almost half of the population of the English town.
The meaningful places of the tradition of Church’s surround St. James Road’s headquarters, acquired in 1957 and restored with care by the Prada Group.
The structure built during the late Victorian Age, was originally arranged as a stretched out and narrow production site with adjoining accommodations for its craftsmen. Enlarged and renovated in 1965, for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and the conferral of the prestigious Queen's Award to Industry for its export performance, the facility was restored once again in 1998 following a flood that destroyed over 15,000 pairs of shoes and production tools.
How are the Church's produced?
Expertise and technical ability have always been Church’s hallmark. Every shoe encapsulates the story of endless manual steps performed with pride and dedication, meticulous attention to details, featuring exquisite leather. Every morning at 8 am, Church’s Northampton factory welcomes the passionate protagonists of the creation of the finely manufactured classic British shoes.
As for the Crown Collection – crown jewel of the brand - the manufacturing process begins with quality control and an accurate selection of the best leather, which is then manually cut running a metal blade through special rigid molds called dime, to prevent fraying or wavering.
After thinning the edges and having uniformed the thickness, parts of lining and upper are sewn together with a cotton thread in the hemming process, forming the final model.
The following step is the special “welted” stitching, that ensures the possibility of an easy resoling to avoid damaging the upper. The leather strip called welt is sewn between the sole and the upper and leads to the sewing of the sole to the welt. A special technique that requires the use of two different cotton threads to ensure maximum resistance. The space created between sole and insole is filled with special cork.
The sole edges are then finished before the dyeing phase. This step is performed freehand with special attention by Church’s skillful artisans.
Finally, inside the ‘shoe room’, the room where shoes acquire their final color, they are fastened, brushed and polished, resulting in the final ‘look’. Burgundy or sandalwood are just some of the typical nuances of the brand. This construction method was introduced in 1869 and is employed to this day. The production of a pair of Church’s requires approximately 12 weeks of work and over 300 accurate and skillful steps.
A simple guide to cleaning your Church's.
- Remove the laces and put the correctly sized Shoe Trees in your shoes.
- Remove dust and dirt with the small grey Leather Upper Brush and a little water.
- Spread Leather Cream Protector in circular movements with the Applicator Brush (remember to use the black brush for black polishes and the grey brush for other colours). Don’t forget to clean and protect your welts as well as your uppers!
- Leave the cream to permeate the leather for at least two hours then remove the with the small Leather Upper Brush and buff the shoe with the large Leather Buffer Brush in long, firm strokes to create a smooth, even shine.
- Apply Church's wax polish and buff the shoe with the large Leather Buffer Brush in long, firm strokes to create a smooth, even shine.
- Apply a little water with a cloth.
- Use a dry cloth, making circlular movements to complete your polish! Leave to dry and cover with your Church’s dust bags before storing your shoes back in the box.
The style guide.
Don’t know your Oxfords from your Derbys or your Loafers from your Drivers? Not sure when to wear a Monk, or curious as to how the Sneaker got its name? Browse our Style Guide to explore the key features of each style, their history and, most importantly when, where and how to wear them.
The original formal shoe, the Oxford unsurprisingly took its name from its birth at Oxford University in the early 1800’s when it evolved from a desire to move away from the outdated Oxonian boot, toward something more modern.
- Construction: a style of shoe with a closed lacing to the upper, it’s facing is stitched under the vamp for a slim, minimalistic silhouette that hugs the foots contour.
- How to style it: sleek and sophisticated, the Oxford is a no-nonsense shoe, perfect for business, black tie or other formal occasions. Pair with a suit or straight cut trousers to visually extend the length of the leg.
- Best for: a more contoured fit; optically extending the length of the leg; business and formal occasions.
Oxfords can be whole-cut, plain toe or can be finished with brogueing in the form of toe cap, half brogue or full brogue. Our most famous Oxford is the toe cap Consul which is crafted on the bestselling 173 last.
The Derby, also known as the Gibson or Blucher, was born in the 1850’s as a sporting shoe - the adjustable fit and pieced construction adapting perfectly to outdoor activities such as hunting.
- Construction: unlike the Oxford, it has open-lacing to the upper with it’s facing sitting on top of the vamp, allowing for a wider fit - making it perfect for those with a high instep.
- How to style it: one of the more versatile shoe styles, the Derby is an all rounder, bridging the gap between formal and casual. Depending on the leather, finishing and detailing Derby’s can be worn with anything from a suit to a pair of turn-up jeans and a t-shirt for the weekend.
- Best for: high insteps; flexible construction, adaptable for wider feet; smart/casual occasions.
Derby’s also have brogue finishing, as with one of our bestselling styles, Grafton, which is famed for it’s classic English round toe.
Named after the monks who originally donned them, the Monk Strap is similar in shape and construction to the Derby, but replaces the eyelet closure with a band of leather, fastened at the instep with a buckle.
- Construction: popularised in the 1920’s, Monks can have one, two or three strap and buckle fastenings, depending on the design, in addition to brogue finishing’s.
- How to style it: a classic alternative to an Oxford or Derby, the Monk Strap is often worn as a statement style and, like the Derby, can be paired with denim or formal wear, depending on the design. A double Monk makes for a contemporary, fashion-forward look, while a single Monk offers a streamlined, classic appeal.
- Best for: high insteps; making a statement with business attire; smartening up casual looks.
For a classic, formal Monk opt for the timeless Westbury.
Originally intended as a house slipper for King George VI of England, the Loafer grew in popularity in the 1930’s as a casual shoe, until it began to be teamed with suits by American businessmen and lawyers in the 1960’s.
- Construction: a style of slip-on shoe, the Loafer is inspired by the moccasin with its characteristic, elevated ‘apron’ running along the outer vamp. The three main types of loafers are defined by their decorative finishing’s; the Penny Loafer features a ‘saddle’ strap across the front of the shoe with a ’penny slit’; the Venetian, which resembles a slipper with an exposed vamp (usually free from ornamentation); finally the Tassel Loafer with it’s kiltie or tassel detail hanging from the saddle.
- How to style it: for business dress, opt for a tassel loafer to pair with your suit. For weekend pair a penny loafer with chinos or denim and for formal black tie events, choose the Venetian as a sleek alternative to the standard dress shoe.
- Best for: ease of wear - slip on; effortless appeal; smart-casual wear.
The longstanding Pembrey is your go-to weekend shoe, available in a multitude of leathers, colours and finishes. For a more formal, office loafer, try the Keats 2 tassel loafer.
Born in the Victorian era as a practical alternative to the rigid, laced boots of the time, the Chelsea Boot’s classic style has transcended fashions through the decades: from adoption as the Paddock Boot by equestrians to a rise in popularity in the 1950’s and 60’s thanks to The Chelsea Set and later, the Mods.
- Construction: characterised by its elastic insert which allows it to be slipped on and off with ease, not compromising the refined silhouette, the Chelsea Boot connects the vamp and the quarters near the ankle.
- How to style it: lend an edge to traditional suits with classic, leather soled styles or pair a rubber-soled, brogued version with turned up jeans and a chunky knit to add refinement to your weekend style.
- Best for: colder climates; comfortable walking; pairing with slim trousers or turned up hems.
If you’re looking for the classic Chelsea Boot, try the the Houston, Or for something a bit more rugged, opt for the Goodwood R with it’s Dainite rubber sole.
Originally developed using crepe-soles and suede uppers, the lightweight Desert Boot was worn by British soldiers during the North African campaigns of World War II, having been inspired by Veldskoen boots from South Africa.
- Construction: sometimes referred to as the Chukka, these boots are simple yet robust in design: cut to the ankle, the round toe boot is formed from two quarters, sewn on top of the vamp with an open-laced eye stay and two to three pairs of eyelets.
- How to style it: an ultra-comfortable, casual style, pair the suede Desert Boot with chinos for strolling in the city in warmer climes as a smarter, more hardwearing alternative to sneakers.
- Best for: warmer climates; lightweight comfort; casual weekend style.
The Ryder is the classic Desert Boot, complete with crepe sole and suede upper.
Stemming from humble origins as ‘plimsolls’ in the early 18th century, the Sneaker - so-called for allowing its wearer to ‘sneak’ around without being heard - developed into a popular canvas-topped, rubber-soled sporting shoe thanks to Charles Goodyear’s (of Goodyear welt fame) rubber vulcanisation process.
- Construction: since the 1940’s sneakers have achieved world domination as the go-to casual shoe for comfort. Unlike most other shoe styles, the sneaker conforms to no rules. Other than possessing a rubber sole and soft upper, sneakers come in all shapes, colours and materials.
- How to style it: pair low-key classic sneakers with a sharply cut blazer and fine cotton chinos for a nonchalant elegance, or throw on turned up jeans and a simple tee with chunky, retro sneakers for an effortless, contemporary look.
- Best for: comfort; casual wear or effortless cool; contemporary style.
The Mirfield, available in calf and sueded is our bestselling classic sneaker. Looking for something a little edgier? Opt for the new CH873.