The History of Grenson
Grenson Shoes have a fascinating history and heritage behind them. The company was created by a man called William Green back in the 1800’s. Green was born in 1835 but lost his father when he was only a toddler. His mother took him to live in Rushden in Northamptonshire and in time she learnt him the art of how to create a good pair of mens boots. They produced boots from their home until 1860 when Green thought that it was time to move from the family home and set up on his own.
By 1866 he was on the road to creating a company which he called William Green & Son. By this time he was setting out to get the orders and find the relevant materials necessary as well as employing shoemakers to complete the orders that were coming through. Green was travelling quite a lot during this time and forged many deals along the way with wholesalers and within time Green & Son was fast becoming known for its premium shoes and boots which offered top craftsmenship and longevity.
By 1874 William set up the Greens Yard factory and this was the first factory worldwide to use the Goodyear welt method of creating mens shoes. The company became known as Grenson soon after. By the late 1890’s the factory moved to Queen Street where it still resides to this present day. One year into the start of the 20th century, William sadly passed away but he had laid the foundations of a solid company. During the great depression the company started to struggle but because of the quality and longevity of the boots they were known for, they were soon called upon to produce Grenson boots for the military during the Second World War and their business soon prospered.
In modern day Britain, Grenson are going through a period of resurgence as shoes like the brogue are proving as popular as ever. It has seen Grenson move with the times and take gentlemens shoes and apply modern techniques to them like Vibram soles which is making the brand appeal to a younger generation.
Taking this notion even further, Grenson have recently introduced a small capsule range of sneakers. Crafted to the same exacting standards as their shoes using top-quality leathers and Italian rubber soles, Grenson sneakers are inspired by classic tennis shoes of the 1970s, and exude a timeless casual appeal for those off-duty days.
What is the Goodyear Welt?
All Grenson shoes are ‘Goodyear welted’ which is a process that is very time consuming but makes the shoes last longer than any other on the market. The fact that the shoe can be re-soled time and time again makes Grenson shoes a timeless investment piece. Using this process it can take up to 3 weeks to create a pair of Grenson shoes which explains why these shoes might be more expensive than some of their counterparts but they will not last as long or have had anywhere near the same time spent on the manufacturing of them.
The Triple Welt
More recently, Grenson have introduced their own proprietary method of welting their shoes, dubbed the Triple Welt. Even more time-consuming and elaborate than the Goodyear welt, the Triple Welt is exclusive to Grenson and, although it is much sturdier and more substantial looking welt, the differences are purely aesthetic. The level of craftsmanship involved, however, is undeniable; only a single worker in the Grenson factory in Northampton is able to execute the Triple Welt. The Triple Welt collection represents the pinnacle of Grenson’s range, and the higher price point reflects this.
Why Are Grenson Shoes So Popular?
Many people believe that there are three main reasons behind Grenson’s continuing success even through economic downturn. The first of these is quality. The “Goodyear welt” is a process that we have just covered and produces an extremely durable shoe that can arguably last a lifetime if treat correctly. The combination of this along with the premium leather used to create the uppers come together to provide a smart shoe with unprecedented quality, functionality and durability.
The second reason is their style. Traditionally, brogues have always been a part of formal mens fashion, as part of a suit. Even when dressed down the brogue has traditionally been assosciated with a more formal look, yet in modern times, this has changed. Fashion has come a full circle, where you’ll often see younger men and even teenagers spotted brandishing the Grenson brogues style with a pair of jeans and a shirt. Much less formal, the brogue has entered a totally new market without even realising and Grenson has embraced this revolution with the introduction of new soles and designs that appeal even more to that younger market, yet maintains the traditional ethos of Grenson’s emphasised brand image.
Finally, is Grenson’s customer aftercare service. Thanks to the use of Goodyear welting, Grenson are able to provide a service of replacing the soles of their shoes, further increasing their longevity and durability in all conditions. It’s not rare for Grenson to see a pair of twenty-five year old shoes pass through their factory to be re-soled and it is this serivce that accentuates perfectly what Grenson is all about. A traditional shoe company with traditional values that moves with the times without deviating from that main brand image that has been stained into the world of mens footwear for many years.
Daniel Radcliffe pictured right is showing how Grenson shoes fit perfectly into a suit.
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