Spring in your step: Edward Green

This season, shoemaker Edward Green is releasing a supple, unlined boot derived from its iconic split-toe Derby

Style 25 Mar 2024

The Halifax Unlined chukka boot, £1,450. Edward Green

The Halifax Unlined chukka boot, £1,450. Edward Green

A town revered for quality shoemaking since the middle ages, Northampton is a bastion of great British apparel manufacturing, a kind of Savile Row for feet. Among its illustrious shoemakers is Edward Green, founded in 1890.

Edward Green’s expert artisans are as dedicated to “making the finest shoes, without compromise” as the company’s eponymous founder was, and to this day they hand-craft Goodyear-welted footwear using techniques that have stood the test of time.

Take the brand’s signature Dover style, which it has produced since at least the 1920s. It is a Norwegian-aproned Derby, otherwise known as a split-toed Derby, whose apron is intricately hand-sewn onto its upper using a boar’s bristle instead of a needle. This single step in the shoe’s production takes more than two hours.

It leaves a vertical stitch at the top of the toe, a detail that has come to be so recognisable to shoe aficionados as to verge on being a trademark of the brand. It’s little wonder that Edward Green has garnered a global reputation, its footwear taking pride of place in many leading global boutiques, from London to New York and Tokyo.

On the aesthetic front, Edward Green is all about evolving its traditional designs for contemporary footwear. This spring, it is introducing a soft, unstructured chukka boot inspired by the Dover: the Halifax Unlined.

As Euan Denholm, Edward Green’s head of brand and business development, says, ‘We are known for hand-sewing, our specialty. So, it’s natural that we look to create new models which draw on this strength. While the new Halifax style is based on a classic model we make, it’s also made with today’s evolving style in mind.’

While the classic split-toe Derby occupies that sartorial space between formalwear and casualwear, the Halifax treads only slightly towards the latter. This unlined iteration is available in raw umber and mink suede, alongside supple textured black and brown Cotswold Grain. It uses the English 202 last on which the Dover is built, and is made from soft, supple leathers that require less breaking in.

‘We select very high-quality leathers that age beautifully,’ Denholm explains. ‘They’re not pre-finished in a tannery. The Cotswold Grain is no exception: it’s really supple, textured leather that will age wonderfully and gain character with time.’ In its suede version, the Halifax Unlined uses an un-split suede, where the structure of the skin is maintained since it hasn’t been cut through.

The absence of a lining gives the shoe a less structured look in harmony with the soft fabrics and deconstructed pieces so loved in menswear today, and means the boot is very light and comfortable, making for a versatile staple.

‘Like loafers, boots have traditionally been seen as less formal, yet are now in demand all year round,’ Denholm explains. ‘The Halifax is a nice, light chukka boot that lends itself to the spring. These are really comfortable boots that can be combined with a more relaxed wardrobe this time of year and would make perfect companions for going on holiday, whether to slightly cooler or warmer climes.’