Loake – Designer Men’s Shoes since 1880
View Loake Footwear collections on London Fashion Review Blog
An Introduction to Loake: A Family Affair
Loake is a quality footwear brand that is truly a family affair. Loake was founded in 1880 by three brothers of the Loake family – and five generations later, the brand is still a family-owned operation. Over 130 years, and an estimated 50 million pairs of shoes later, the brand’s aim remains the same – to provide the most handsome, comfortable and durable gentlemen’s shoes possible.
For their quality, fashion designer, Tim Soar, regularly uses Loake shoes in his menswear collections:
“I have used Loake shoes for my last three shows at London Fashion Week. They are beautifully made, sturdy men’s shoes that have personality of their own. They have always perfectly complimented my designs. I look forward to the time when there is a full Tim Soar/Loake shoe.” – Tim Loake, Fashion Designer.
The quality of product and customer care (including a repair service) that Loake offers has won the brand a loyal group of high- profile followers including musicians Madness and James Taylor, former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan, the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, and actors Martin Freeman and Kevin Spacey. Additionally, the brand regularly features in the pages of men’s fashion magazines including GQ and Men’s Health,.
As of 2011, Loake footwear was stocked in hundreds of locations throughout the UK, including Charles Clinkard, Clarks, Debenhams, Fenwick and House of Fraser. Loake also has a successful e-commerce website.
The Loake Brand: A Timeline Snapshot
The Loake footwear brand has been around for over 130 years. The operation started by the three Loake brothers was a small back yard outfit that over the years, has expanded into a global brand. , Loake now exports to over 30 countries.
- 1880: The Loake brand is founded in Kettering, Northamptonshire by the three Loake’s brothers, Thomas, John and William, in an outbuilding of Thomas Loake’s house.
- 1883: Rapid expansion of the footwear brand allows the brand to purchase a small factory in Kettering.
- 1887: Further brand expansion means that the small factory, no longer fulfils Loake’s needs. The brand moves to a larger, newly built factory on Wellington Street, Kettering. Updated machinery increased the footwear production and fuels further brand expansion, which results in another Loake factory being built.
- 1894: Loake moves permanently to the new factory on Wood Street, Kettering, where the brand remains today.
- 1914-1919: Loake contributes to the war effort by making Terrain, Convalescent and Despatch boots for the British Army, and Cossack boots for the Russian Army.
- 1929: The brand faces a setback when a fire devastates the Wood Street factory.
- 1939-1945: Loake contributes to the war effort once again, by making up to 2,500 pairs of boots a week for both the Naval and RAF forces.
- 1945: Once the war effort is over, the company begins to produce stock lines and the Loake brand is officially registered.
- 1980: Loake celebrates 100 years as a footwear brand.
- 1992: The brand has its best year of sales performance to date and export increased by 30%.
- 2002: The brand sets up a factory in India to produce Goodyear welted shoes.
- 2005: Loake reaches 125 years in production.
- 2007: Loake is granted the Royal Warrant of Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen.
- 2008: Loake is a finalist in the Drapers UK Footwear Awards.
- 2011: Loake collaborates with Burton for the second time on a capsule collection of footwear. Also this year, Loake opens their first ever store in the Prince’s Arcade in London’s Picadilly – an up and coming retail destination for upmarket menswear.
Collections of Loake
Loake produces men’s shoes in a wide range of styles, from oxford and brogue shoes to fashion and designer men’s shoes. Loake is known for its quality, with each pair of shoes using the finest materials available – the aim of which is to produce a finished product that is unrivalled in quality. It has been over 130 years since the brands inception and over time the brand has expanded the range of footwear on offer include new constructions and a choice of both classic and contemporary designs in the various collections on offer.
As of 2011, the Loake brand had eight separate footwear collections: Main Collection, L1 Collection, Comfort Collection, Moccasin Collection, Shoemaker Calf Collection, 1880 Range, Design Range and Evolution.
To view the recent collections of Loake, visit the official Loake website.
If you like the look of Loake, check out other British labels such as Church’s and Clarks