Since 1880, when three brothers, Thomas, John and William set up Loake in Northamptonshire, the name Loake has been synonymous with the absolute pinnacle of quality and craftsmanship, in all things footwear.
A tradition is born
Loake is set up in Kettering, Northamptonshire, by three brothers, Thomas, John and William. The business is started in an outbuilding at Thomas Loake's house at 62 King Street.
Finding its home
Loake moves to Wood Street, where it can still be found today. In the early days, the factory is called the Unique Boot Factory. It has a floor area of approximately 20,000 sq ft, accommodates over 300 workers and is considered one of the finest and most advanced shoe factories in the country.
The war effort
Loake's contribution to the war effort includes the manufacture of Terrain boots, Convalescent boots and Despatch Riders boots for the British army. Vast quantities of Cossack boots are also made for the Russian army.
More for the forces
Every business has to allocate space for the war effort and Loake produces footwear for the forces, both Naval and RAF officers. At its peak, production runs to 2,500 pairs of screwed and stitched boots a week.
The Loake Brand
Immediately after the war the company starts to carry stock lines and the Loake brand is officially registered (although it has been in use before).
Loake is granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment to HM The Queen.
Service second to none
Loake acquires a new warehouse to accommodate increasing demand on its in-stock service.
Opening of our first shop
Situated in the heart of London, our first shop opens to the public in late November.
Here are the words of Managing Director, Andrew Loake:
"My family has been making traditional English shoes for longer than anyone can remember. My great-grandfather John opened the first Loake factory with his brothers, Thomas and William, back in 1880. Today, five generations and more than 130 years later, the Loake association with fine, handmade shoes lives on.
As the current custodians of Loake, we are immensely proud of the commitment of our forefathers and the tradition they worked so hard to establish. For this reason our premium grade Goodyear welted shoes continue to be made in Kettering, England, in the same factory that the three brothers built in 1894.
The Goodyear welted construction for which Loake is renowned is an intricate process with origins going back over 300 years. Only the very highest quality materials are used. Each pair takes eight weeks to make and we still believe there is no finer way to make a gentleman's shoe.
Of course, things move on. Alongside our English Goodyear welted footwear we now design and produce a range of shoes outside the UK, using a variety of constructions. This enables us to offer a complete wardrobe of shoes suitable for every occasion.
We estimate Loake has made over 50 million pairs of Goodyear welted shoes since it began. We now export to more than 50 countries and have become a favourite with discerning customers worldwide. Our aim is to uphold this tradition and continue making the most handsome, comfortable and durable shoes we can."