Shoemaking Heritage

The world's finest shoemakers

Northampton boasts many of the world's finest shoemakers and has a proud heritage dating back almost 900 years.

As a county, Northamptonshire is built on the shoemaking industry with many towns and villages at one time or another being home to shoemakers, leather merchants, designers, tanneries and other related businesses.

Shoemaking heritage - craftsmanship

English design, timeless quality

The quick adoption of constructing shoes using the Goodyear welt process at the end of the 19th century really typifies the enduring success of the Northamptonshire shoe industry. Developed to improve the quality and longevity of a shoe, a number of Northampton shoemakers still produce high quality shoes using this method as it enables them to manufacture elegantly designed shoes and boots that are revered across the world.

Shoemaking heritage - brogue

The story behind the birth of the iconic Dr Marten boot echoes this innovative design ethos that is at the heart of shoemaking in Northamptonshire. The Griggs family bought patent rights to manufacture German army boots, made some key design changes (including the now familiar yellow stitching) and gave birth to the iconic Dr Marten boot.

The Dr Marten brand continues to evolve and maintain its position as a global footwear icon by continuing to reinvent and refine the humble shoe and boot in a very English way.

Shoemaking heritage - Dr Martens

The future of shoemaking in Northampton

Whilst the history of shoes is celebrated at the world renowned shoe museum in Northampton, the future is increasingly forward thinking with the sector worth around £1.25 billion in exports every year and exports to Japan from Northamptonshire based manufacturers worth £20 million.

Shoemaking heritage - the future

Many of the finest English shoes are still manufactured in and around Northampton. From classic brands over a century old such as John Lobb and Crockett & Jones to more contemporary brands like Jeffery West and Gaziano & Girling, Northampton continues to lead the world in the art of shoemaking.

Shoemaking heritage - Gaziano & Girling has been set up to help others enjoy the rich heritage and distinctively English design that typifies shoes and boots made in and around Northampton. From information on the many fine shoemaking brands based in the county through to our online store which sells premium footwear at great prices, we hope that you enjoy your visit.