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.
A new factory was opened in 1957 and is still today the firm’s worldwide headquarters. The visit of Queen Elizabeth II in 1965, together with the prestigious Queen’s Award for exports, put the official seal of recognition on Church’s over centennial tradition and status as a leading international brand.
“Good Year Welted” Construction
It still takes up to eight weeks to produce a pair of Church’s shoes: each undergoes over 250 detailed manual operations before it leaves the factory.
All of Church’s men’s welted shoes are manufactured in Northampton: all the production is hand-made and performed inside the factory by specialized craftsmen.
The Goodyear construction, that has given English footwear its worldwide fame, has proved to be both complex and reliable. Instead of being stitched directly together, the sole and the upper are firstly stitched on to a “welt”, a strip of hand-cut leather, which is then in turn stitched on to the bottom of the shoes in the early stages of manufacture. This construction means that the sole can be easily detached from the bottom of the shoe in case of a repair and be resoled for a second life. Church’s in fact continues to provide the traditional full refurbishment service using the same top quality materials and the same care as in the original manufacturing process. This service considerably extends the life of each Church’s pair of shoes: with proper care Church’s shoes will last a lifetime!
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.
Church’s history and DNA are not only synonymous of tradition, but also of innovation: if back in 1881 Church’s was the first shoemaker to introduce the concept of “left” and “right” in its pairs, it is now the first high-end footwear manufacturer to introduce the innovative Goodyear Welted Flexible sole. This is a new, somehow revolutionary, interpretation of the Goodyear process, which results in lighter, more flexible and faster adapting models, particularly appreciated in warmer climates.