Best foot forward: Edward Green

Edward Green was founded in Northampton more than a century ago, and still adheres to the same high standards of quality and craftsmanship today

Style 16 Dec 2019

Dover textured-leather Derby Shoes
An archive picture from the 20th century.
Edward Green's Cranleigh boots

Shoes are so much more than practical accessories. They provide support literally and symbolically. They are an indulgent reward for a personal or professional achievement, and, like a child’s first pair of squeaky-clean school shoes, they mark significant moments in our lives.

Whether it’s your first or 15th, buying a pair of Edward Green shoes is a special experience. Edward Green shoes are the kind of purchase in which you invest as an old friend: one that never lets you down or goes out of style. They were the footwear of choice for Cole Porter and Ernest Hemingway, and today you’ll find them on the fashionable feet of Michael Fassbender and David Gandy. Classic styles using luxurious full-grain leather, Goodyearwelted soles and hand-cut patterns are all executed to the highest possible standards.

Edward Green was founded in 1890 on the premise of achieving ‘excellence without compromise’. Young Edward, a talented shoemaker, was introduced to the industry aged just 12 when he worked as a shoe ‘clicker’ – a job that involves cutting the leather used to make shoes and so-called because of the sound the knife makes against the clicker’s bench. Even as a lowly apprentice, Mr Green knew this was the industry for him, and he could see the way it was changing with the advent of mass production. He had a very different mindset to the modernisation of production, wanting instead to go back to basics to make the highest quality shoes possible.

Mr Green did this by recruiting the best craftsmen for his workshop in Northampton – the home of great British shoemaking. The company is still based in the area today, albeit in more modern and spacious premises, with a new generation of skilled artisans keeping the same painstaking processes alive. You’ll even find a shoe clicker cutting away just as Green did well over a century ago.

Edward Green sticks rigidly to its founding principles of quality without compromise, producing just some 350 pairs a week. Madeto-order shoes can take up to four months from start to finish, reflecting the amount of work involved at every stage.

That isn’t to say that Edward Green is stuck in its ways. From the 1980s onwards the brand expanded internationally and launched standalone boutiques in London, Paris and Tokyo. Worldwide, there is a clear appetite for Edward Green’s traditional, slow-made sensibilities and buying into a slice of a quintessentially British craftsmanship.

A very British sense of style is at the heart of this firm. Luxurious yet never ostentatious, Edward Green is a brand that knows its audience and style inside out. As such, the company never succumbs to trends, but every season brings a little something new to the table.

Autumn-winter 2019 sees significant updates on two signature Edward Green styles. The Piccadilly penny loafer and Dover split-toe derby have been refashioned in a distinctive natural London Grain. The Cranleigh, meanwhile, is a handsome new field boot available in rich autumnal shades. It’s not only men who can take home a piece of Edward Green. This season, the brand has expanded its collection with the introduction of two lasts especially for women – all made with the same refined elegance and quality without compromise.