I had a little extra cash this month and had been after a new pair of brogues for a sometime now. Whilst gathered with my partner’s family one Sunday lunch, her brother mentioned that Crockett and Jones were now one of the last true English shoemakers left, now that Church’s were well and truly an extension of the Prada label. Just one look at Church’s ever growing range of contemporary designs will confirm this. Northampton, once home to many a fine shoemaker is now limited to just a handful of firms sticking to the classic shoe making traditions. Trickers being another example.
I had a quick search and discovered that there was a Crockett and Jones outlet in the Hackett store on Upper Sloane street. This was near me so the next time I was in the area I popped in to see what was on offer. What struck me first was the level of service I received. It was a small standalone boutique style shop within the main store with its own staff. I was greeted and then asked if I had owned a pair of CJ’s before. I felt a little inadequate as a replied in the negative. However, this did not bother him as he asked what I was looking for. To be honest, they all looked amazing. The high quality leather and suede just begged to be sniffed. After a quick scan around the shelves, I grabbed a few pairs I liked the look of.
Among these were the CJ Pembroke and the CJ Westfield, costing £340 and £320 respectively. Trying the Westfields on first, which were a suede, semi-brogue Oxford, I immediately fell in love with. My partner too. However, the suede worried me as it was a wet spring and I needed something that would be more robust and that I would not be worrying about should it rain and get muddy.
The Pembrokes were then slipped into. Although not quite as sleek, these were more of what I was looking for, a tough, durable yet handsome and versatile shoe. They felt so solid and the smell of the country grain leather went begging to be sniffed! They were a tad more expensive than the Westfields but they felt as if they would last forever. In fact, my partners grandfather has a pair of these that are no over 40 years old. In fact, he also owns a pair of CJ’s that are now 70 years old and are currently being worn by his grandson! This is testimony to the build quality and the fact that if treated with care, these shoes offer great value for money.
In the end, although it was a tough choice, as I really loved the style of the suede Oxfords, I opted for the Pembrokes as I wanted something that was all weather and a good all rounder that would work with both jeans or trousers. The suede Westfields will just have to wait…