English shoemaking gets a bad press in summer. For many men, the thought of stiff, heavy footwear is understandably unappealing. Even so, this does many of this green and pleasant land’s finest shoemakers a disservice.
Foremost among those is Edward Green, a manufacturer that’s been making shoes since 1890 out of Northampton, the country’s historic cordwaining heartland. Today, it strives to maintain Mr Green’s founding mantra, delivering ‘excellence without compromise’ to create contemporary shoes using traditional techniques and the smoothest, supplest leathers a man’s feet could wish for.
The company is also known for its luxurious suede footwear. Edward Green uses English or Italian reverse calf suede in all its creations, which makes for shoes that are both comfortable and chic. ‘Cheap suede is called “split suede” because it’s split from the back of an older animal’s skin,’ explains Euan Denholm, who has been at his family’s firm for six years. ‘But by using fine reverse calf’s leather in our shoes, the structure of the leather is preserved and the suede ages better, keeping its integrity. The suede’s nap – its fibres – is neater and softer, too.’
Hence why un-split suede comes into its own in summer; it’s softer, lighter and more forgiving than leather. Moreover, Edward Green shoes present elegant lines that flatter the feet, use springy rubber soles to reduce weight, and an unlined construction to keep you cool – even in toasty temperatures.
Denholm explains further: ‘Unlined shoes are a real pleasure come summer. Suede is porous and so breathable, so your feet feel much cooler. And of course without a lining the shoe is softer, and so comfortable enough to wear without socks. It’s just what you want on a hot summer’s day – a little bit of riviera chic and naturally comfortable feet.’
We couldn’t put it better ourselves.
Three pairs of shoes to keep your feet fresh this summer
Shanklin desert boots
Boots are in Edward Green’s blood. The Shanklin is a luxurious take on the desert boots worn by the British military. They’re unlined, made on a rounded last and finished with lightweight rubber soles. It comes in a range of classic colours, but we’re smitten with this warm clove suede.
£740, shop now
Dover derby shoes
The Dover is an Edward Green signature. Every pair is a feat of shoemaking expertise, finished with a delicate seam down the front of each toe box. In unlined navy suede with contrasting rubber soles, these are smart enough to wear to the office, but relaxed enough for the summer.
£1,165, shop now
Duke penny loafers
The Duke is named after the Duke of Windsor, later Edward VIII, a long-time customer of Edward Green. This versatile, unlined, mushroom suede penny loafer has a timeless shape with soft, forgiving side-walls – the perfect pairing for a tan linen summer suit. Maybe show some mankle.
£825, shop now