Monday, 15 September 2014

Church's Shoes - Coming Home?














Burwood in Sandalwood

Prada are reducing their stake in Church's. They've sold 45% of it. Uncharitable types might hope they sell the rest, and let Church's get back to producing purely English-style shoes again.

They've released some travesties in recent times; 'fusion shoes' in a confused mix of English and Italian style. Luckily, some of Church's classic range never went away. Burwood (above) is their textbook brogue. Built on a sizeable last, with a triple sole, there's no here-today-gone-tomorrow fashion styling about that shoe. This is bell-metal Britishness.

Polished Binder

I've had the Burwood shoes you see in these photos for over twelve years, so they may be pre-Prada. I was hesitant to buy them at first because of the 'polished binder' technique they use to finish the leather. It's not a deception on Church's part to cover sub-standard leather; these are full grain leather shoes with full-leather lining — and mine are buttery soft and very comfortable. And the finish gives the Burwood in sandalwood a depth of colour like no other brogue. They proved too much to resist when we first locked eyes and eyelets.

As for the polished finish, on the plus side it is maintenance free. As I say, mine are twelve and I've only ever wiped them with a cloth. Look at the shine in the photos. On the negative side, any heavy scuffs to the surface will remain; they can't be wiped or polished away. This is not necessarily unattractive in itself, and sometimes desirable. You probably wouldn't want all of your shoes in this finish, nor want your work shoes to look knocked around, but it's good to have one or two pairs of shoes that look after themselves whatever the weather.

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