Church’s was founded in 1873 by Thomas Church and his three sons Alfred, William and Thomas Jr., who could count on family experience in the production of handmade men’s shoes dating back to 1675. Church’s is based in Northampton, not far from London, in a county which has been the centre of a flourishing leather and footwear industry since the Middle Ages.
In the space of a few years, Church’s was transformed from a craft workshop into a benchmark firm for high-quality footwear, both locally and for the most demanding shoe shops in London and throughout Great Britain. One of the earliest styles, the Adaptable, won a Gold Medal at the 1884 Crystal Palace Exhibition. The Adaptable was unusual for the time: it came in pairs of left and right and “in six widths in every conceivable style and material”. Most of the other companies’ shoes at the time were still sold as straights - identical pairs without lefts or rights. At the dawn of the 20th century, Church’s began exporting outside Europe to new markets such as the United States, Canada and South America. 1921 saw the first Church’s directly operated shop open in London. In the same year, the multi-fitting “Archmoulded” shoes for ladies was introduced, in response to a much-changed society in which both women and fashion were becoming prominent.
Church’s shoes are beyond fashion. The great men’s styles such as Oxfords and brogues never date, although colours and details may vary from season to season. Next to the traditional collection Church’s offers a range of styles which are addressed to customers who look for a trendy twist. This continuous development demonstrates the brand’s ability to develop and innovate, which ensures its position as the world’s leader of top quality Goodyear Welted Footwear.
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