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Tim Little

Grenson Factory Tour

Grenson Factory Tour

Aphrodite recently had the privilege of receiving an invitation for a guided tour of the famous Grenson factory with a cheeky interview with the Owner and Creative Director Tim Little. Situated in Northampton, the most recent premises have been occupied by the brand since 2013, after the move in 1895, when the then owner William Green and his team had outgrown the previous premises. Needless to say, the new state of the art factory is a modern, warm, clean and efficient move for the company.

The factory is situated in a modern industrial estate and has all the hallmarks of a working factory. With the classic metal structure to the building, the front section has been given a wooden clad exterior, which has started to age beautifully while the Grenson branding and logo can be seen in contrasting red to the front – a simple representation of the brand and the products they create.

Grenson Factory

Tim Little interview

Upon arrival, we were greeted by some cheery staff then escorted straight up to meet Tim Little, the current Owner  and Creative Director of the brand. Tim bought out the previous owners, the Green family in 2010 and since then has evolved the business, opening more stores, adding high end accounts to their books, which in turn has Kickstarted their expansion into the highest quality wholesale distribution, and entered the digital world with an e-commerce website.
Aphrodite had the pleasure of interviewing Tim in his office and creative space. The office space had been designed with an open plan, free flowing feel with plenty of windows, which allows Tim  to overlook the entire factory.  Below shows a teaser of the Interview.

View the full Tim Little and Aphrodite Interview and supporting blog post

Factory floor tour

We were given our guided tour by a lovely chatty man called Roger Tiffnail. Roger has worked at Grenson for 35 years and has worked on all parts of the production process, but his current role is a pattern cutter. So who better to give us a tour, all questions we asked was answered without a second thought and he is a credit to the company. Thanks Roger!

The below video shows a behind the scenes look at the shoe making process at the Grenson factory.

One of the first things to hit us when we entered the factory floor was the noise and smell, a mixture of leather, chemicals greeted us. The full factory is one massive open floor space, split into sections for different procedures, prepping, assembling and finishing. Each section then has a number of sub sections, making the whole process a team effort.

  • Prepping
    • Cutting
    • Skiving
    • Perforating
    • Machine closing

Grenson Cutting

Grenson Tour

Grenson Perforating

  • Assembling
    • Welted (Triple welts)
    • Trimming
    • Cork filling
    • Neoprene cementing
    • Sole layering
    • Riveting


Grenson Cork Filling

Grenson Tour

  • Finishing
    • Gentleman’s corner (cut to the heel)
    • Trim fore part
    • Edge colouring
    • Waxing
    • Creasing
    • Bottom scouring

Grenson Tour

Grenson Gentlemans Corner


Grenson Tour

Grenson Footwear

The factory only make Triple welt styles and produce on average 30-50 pairs of shoes and boots a week. All parts of every shoe made in the Northampton factory are made at the factory, no parts are made in other countries and shipped in, so each and every shoe is 100% made in England, which is a massive selling point for the British brand. The factory also offer a repair service, with repairs on all types of Grensons being made here from new soles, to polishing to full services to bring some old favorites back to life.

Everyone at Aphrodite would just like to say a massive thank you to Grenson for giving us the opportunity to come and pester you for a day, especially Tim Little and Roger Tuffnail.

Aphrodite stock a wide range Grenson Shoes and Grenson Boots including Triple Welt styles which are available online and in-store.


Tim Little of Grensons

Q&A with Grensons Owner and Creative Director, Tim Little

We were lucky enough to sit down with the Owner and Creative Director of Grensons, Tim Little, check out the full interview below:

What was it about Grensons that made you decide to take the brand on?

I think probably the main thing is history, it was a company with a wonderful and amazing history that hadn’t really told its story in the last 20 years or so. A lot of people didn’t know much about Grensons, I’ve known about the brand from when I was young but hadn’t heard about it for a long time. So, delving back into the story of the brand and the company and seeing all this amazing history, that was it really, the opportunity to bring that out again.

What is the process of designing and creating a shoe?

The process starts always with an idea to me. I’m not somebody who sits down with a pencil and thinks, “how do I draw a great shoe?”, it’s more about an idea of a type of shoe. So we might think of something if we took this brogue and put a chunky sole on it, or what if we put this and changed that leather? What if we made a last with a bulky toe or wide shape or really narrow? It kind of starts with a group of ideas, what if we did a hybrid between that type of shoe and this type of shoe and played around with it. It starts with all of these kinds of ideas, there’s an in-house design team, we sit together and we go through the ideas, I’ll put in my various thoughts, they’ll put in theirs, we’ll say “can we make that work?”. They go off and draw a few things up, then we get into prototypes and things.

The bit where it really starts to happen is the prototype stage. As soon as we get the first prototype back from the factory you can immediately tell whether it’s going to work or not. Sometimes you look and think, “No, that’s completely not going to work, that was a bad idea.” Other times you will look at it and think, “Yeah with a few tweaks I think this might go in the right direction.”
So that’s how it starts, then the design team develops it further, do more and more prototypes, lots and lots of tweaking. The sales team is always saying “the shows are coming up, you better hurry up”. We’re always making lots more changes, eventually, the product is ready and it goes into production.

What is your personal favourite Grensons shoe?

That’s a really difficult question, I think probably, it would have to be the Archie triple welt. To me, that is like an exaggeration of the heart of Grenson. I wanted to do a shoe that was just everything Grenson was about and exaggerated it, so it’s a brogue but it’s got exaggerated big punching, it’s on a big wide last, it’s got this amazing handmade welt to it that has loads of handwork in it which shows all the craft, all the time and everything. I love that shoe, you look at it, you wear it and people notice it then asks you about it. I think that’s what Grensons is all about.

Grenson's Archie Triple Welt

Tim Little’s favourite Grenson shoe

Any tips on how to look after Grensons?

There are a thousand and one things you could do to look after your shoes better. The single most important thing is probably to rotate them, a really well made English shoe like ours, if you wear it every day, what happens is, it gets quite damp even if it’s hot. If it’s hot they get even damper, because the moisture from you goes into the shoe. The shoe lasts about half the time when it’s wet, so if you walk around in a shoe that’s got moisture in the leather, the sole for example will wear out a lot quicker. If you can rest them and wear a shoe every other day if you’ve got two pairs, three pairs even better. Put shoe trees in there, put them away and wear them a few days later, that’s important.

The other thing of course is to use decent polish, not just a very waxy polish that sits on the surface to give it a high shine, but a polish that’s a little bit more of a leather food that soaks into the leather and keeps it really supple. It’s all about the leather, it’s a very natural product and looking after that leather is what it’s all about.

How did you come up with ‘the good shoe’ slogan?

That’s really easy because someone came up with that in the 1930s at Grensons. When I got here, one of the first things I did was get all the old brochures and catalogues out. I noticed from about the 1930’s to the 1960-70s, all the catalogues and all the advertising that they did was this beautiful little slogan, “the good shoe” and I loved it because what’s so nice about it is, it’s so understated, it’s so English. It’s not saying, “the best shoe, the most incredible shoe, if you wear this shoe you’ll be fabulous” and all of that, just “The good shoe.” We thought, let’s just bring it back. We got our graphic design guys, we just want to do that logo, so give us a piece of artwork for it. They went away and redesigned it, but I said, “I don’t want it redesigned, I want it exactly like it was just recreated in the old typeface.” And so, we use it all the time now, it feels really relevant even though it’s kind of 1930’s design, I love it.

Who is the most memorable person you’ve made shoes for?

When I first started making shoes under my own brand, I first started Tim Little in the 90s, I was doing like making shoes for Chelsea when they played in the cup final in 97 and stuff like that. But there’s this guy who is my hero called John Lee Hooker and I thought I’d really love to make shoes for him.
I contacted him through his agent, which took a long time, all my shoes are also named after blues songs, his agent asked for a catalogue, so we sent a catalogue and he chose a pair of Chelsea boots, they were called “slidewinder” and his agent called, saying he couldn’t get them on, he was quite old and they are quite difficult to pull on. He sent them back and said, “do you have any loafers?”, so I sent him a pair of loafers and the message came back saying they were perfect.
As he was putting them on, he saw on the inside that they were called, “Whiskey & Women”, which is the name of one of his songs. This was by chance, I hadn’t sent it for that reason, but apparently, he loved that. That was my favourite moment that he was walking around in a pair of my shoes.


A big thank you to Tim and Grensons for the chance to get to know more about such a wonderful brand if you want a pair of Grenson shoes, we stock a wide range at Aphrodite, shop here.

Grenson Training at Aphrodite Clothing

Last week, we welcomed representatives from one of our favourite shoe brands, Grenson, to our store to talk us through their fantastic new season range, the secrets behind their naming scheme and the origins of their trademark Triple Welt technique (shout out to Kev!).

It’s always great to speak to brands that are so knowledgeable and passionate about their products, and we hope we can pass on some of their love for shoes to our customers. Thanks to Grenson for taking the time to talk to us, and for the fantastic after-work company too!

Your Essential Guide To Occasion Footwear and Accessories

So you have the suit, now you just need to find the perfect pair of shoes and accessories to complement your formal outfit ready for that special occasion. In this weeks newsletter we are helping you to make your decision by showcasing the occasion footwear we have to offer. From Clarks, Grenson and Vivienne Westwood, we’ll have you suited and booted in no time.


Clarks Originals

For occasion footwear with a twist, choose these Burcott Monk Shoes by Clarks Originals in a Cognac colour-way. This versatile shoe offers the classic Clarks crepe sole, which keeps the foot comfortable and cushioned. Ideal for a wedding or christening when you want all day comfort. Another bonus is that these stylish shoes have a suede lining for added comfort. Added details include the buckled strap and cross stitch design to the vamp.


The Grenson Archie is a timeless silhouette which boasts effortless style. We are used to seeing it in a tan colour-way, however the outstanding British  have given the statement shoe a different look by throwing suede into the mix. With a luxe mix of leather and suede, the Archie is presented in a new navy colour-way, with the triple welt sole for added durability.

Vivienne Westwood

The finishing touches to your outfit are always important. Why not complete your formal look with a Vivienne Westwood Wallet? Crafted in Italy from luxe grained leather, the wallet features discreet branding with the silver embossed orb, giving a simple yet effective finish to an everyday staple accessory.


Grenson Shoe Brand Guide

The History of the Grenson Shoe Brand

The Grenson Shoe brand has a fascinating history and heritage behind them.  The company was created by a man called William Greenback in the 1800s.  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 men’s 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.

grenson shoes

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 traveling 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 craftsmanship 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 men’s shoes.  The company became known as Grenson soon after.  By the late 1890s 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.

grenson shoes


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 make gentlemen’s shoes and apply modern techniques to them like Vibram soles which are making the Grenson shoe brand appeal to a younger generation.

Taking this notion even further, Grenson has 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.

Looking After Your Grenson Shoes


The Triple Welt

More recently, Grenson has 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.

Grenson Archie Commando


Why Is A Grenson Shoe So Popular?

Many people believe that there are three main reasons behind Grenson’s continuing success even through the 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 treated 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.

Grenson Cutting

The second reason is its style. Traditionally, brogues have always been a part of formal men’s fashion, as part of a suit. Even when dressed down the brogue has traditionally been associated 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.

grenson brouges

Finally, is Grenson’s customer aftercare service. Thanks to the use of Goodyear welting, Grenson is 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 service 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 men’s footwear for many years.

View all Grenson

Grenson Limited Collection Celebrates 150 Years


Founded in Rushden, Northamptonshire by a shoemaker name William Green in 1866, Grenson has became a symbol of English heritage and quality British manufacturing. Initially making shoes from his loft, Green quickly became recognised for not only the materials used, but the attention to detail that was paid to each shoe.

By continuing to construct with this ethos in mind, Grenson grew from strength to strength and being one of the first shoe makers to use of Goodyear welts allowed the brand to become a national success. This success meant that Grensons was ultimately responsible for hand crafting shoes for the British Army which could withstand the most brutal conditions imagineable and this effort only emphasised their clear British heritage.

Because of their rich history, Grensons has been a part of a whole range of trends and it is this first hand experience over the years that Grenson is focusing on to celebrate their 150th anniversary. Delving into their archives and painstakingly reproducing 8 shoes from over the years that define their history and their success.

One example of the collection is the Toe-cap Derby boot. Shoe 3 of the collection originally produced in the 1940’s as part of the war effort. Contracted by the Government, the Toe-cap Derby was worn by British Army foot soldiers and was extremely durable thanks the Grain leather used. They have painstakingly recreated the Derby boot with the same leather, same toe-cap and even the same sole print that was used in the 1940’s.

Shoe number 4 of the collection is also from the 1940’s but takes the form of a Wing-tip Oxford. The predecessor of Grenson’s brogues that they make today, Grenson have had to re-create the last that the shoe was built on for a truly authentic representation of the original shoe that came out 70 years ago.

Taking archived silhouettes and accurately making them again whilst also updating them for the needs of the modern day man has been a massive task but their England factory has managed to complete their objective. A nostalgic yet practical collection from the British brand, the Grenson Derby Boot and Grenson Wing-tip Oxford Brogues are available here.

Grenson Shoes

Grenson Boots


Fancy Feet | SS15 Footwear Collections

Fancy Feet | SS15 Footwear Collections

With the break in the clouds we can nearly see the summer rays, but you glance down and your footwear isn’t living up to the swanky roof terrace look you had in mind? Don’t worry we have the answer to your prayers. This week we shot our lookbook at The Dun Cow, catering to your SS15 footwear needs, showcasing our finest  H By Hudsons, Clarks Originals and the iconic Grensons.

Shop Our Clarks Originals Collection, Our Grenson Selection, And Our Hudson Pieces. Shop All Our Fancy Footwear.