Investing in a pair of Goodyear welted men’s shoes would be one of the wisest decisions any gentleman can make as with good care they will stand the test of time especially compared to other footwear options. Around the world, you’ll discover many exceptional shoemakers who have dedicated years to the traditional techniques but the Northamptonshire shoe industry, in particular, is renowned for its shoemaking history. Located in the middle of England, Northamptonshire is home to several respectable shoemakers including Church’s, Cheaney, Loake, Sanders and Trickers. The reason for Northamptonshire being home to so many shoemakers of the years is because the County offered a plentiful supply of water and oak bark which is required for tanning the leather.
Most of the shoemakers were founded in the 1800s including the English shoemaker Barker shoes, founded by Arthur Barker in 1880 in the Northamptonshire village of Earls Barton where the factory remains today. Over the years Barker shoes has offered an extensive range of men’s and women’s shoes and has gained a loyal following from shoe admirers and enthusiasts alike. The Barker range of Goodyear welted shoes comprises several collections including the prestigious Handcrafted collection, Country, Professional and the imaginative Creative collection, home to one of Barker’s most popular styles, the McClean.
A Barker shoe style that is synonymous with all of the Northampton shoemakers is the classic English brogue, a hole punched classic that has changed from its origins having been worn by Scottish and Irish farmers as an outdoor shoe for removing bog water when crossing wetlands. Although the construction and details of the traditional brogue shoe remain comparable to the modern brogue, its punching is for aesthetic detail only and is available in a variety of style permutations including the full, semi, quarter and longwing brogue.
Within the Barker Country collection, you’ll discover brogue shoes for men that are made from premium leathers on double leather and functional rubber soles. Popular Barker Country brogues include the Calder, Calvay, Kelmarsh and Westfield styles.
The Professional collection offers an extensive range of brogues including the Albert and Alfred Oxford brogue styles as well as other types of Men’s oxford shoes including plain, toe cap and wholecut shoe silhouettes. The Arnold, Nelson and Winsford Professional shoes remain popular styles.
The Oxford shoe’s counterpart is the Derby shoe which like the Oxford features in several of the Barker collections and can be characterised by an open lacing system. Barker Derby shoes that are highly recommended include the Ellon, Nairn and Skye styles which are available in a variety of leathers and colourways.
For the colder months a pair of Barker boots will never let you down and there are several boot styles to choose from including the iconic brogue boot, Chelsea boot or the Chukka boot to name a few. The Barker Calder, Mansfield and Orkney boots are the most popular boot designs as they can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. The Mansfield Chelsea boot is a versatile choice as it is available in calf, grain or burnished suede on either a leather or Dainite rubber sole.
A slip-on classic by Barker is the loafer in particularly the penny loafer which is the longest-running shoe style in the Barker collection thanks to the Caruso penny loafer. Designed by Albert Barker in the early 1960s, Caruso was inspired by the American Ivy League classic and is available in Black and Burgundy Hi-Shine.
The Mears Penny Loafer from the BOEB Archive collection is a reinterpretation of the Caruso but made from different calf, grain and suede leathers on a British Dainite rubber sole Other popular Barker Penny Loafers include the Gates, Jevington, and Portsmouth styles. The tassel loafer is another classic slip-on style that offers an elegant silhouette especially the Barker Clive, Newborough and Studland styles.
A slip-on shoe style that stands out in the crowd is the horse-bit loafer which is a recent addition to the Barker Creative collection and is named Frank. Made on the 69 last from premium European calf leathers, Frank features a Goodyear welted construction, single leather sole and tasteful brass saddle detailing
Explore the extensive range of Barker shoes online or in-store at one of the Barker London flagship stores or a Barker stockist located around the world.