A timeless classic that have long since graced the shelves of 8 Vine Street, the Chambord is one of Paraboot’s most iconic silhouettes, and for good reason.
Paraboot emerged in 1927 from its ancestor label Chaussures Extra; a high-end shoe brand born in 1910 out of Izeaux, a little village in the French Alps. Ever since, the brand have been a frontier in the production of premium footwear to suit all needs, whether that be trekking a track along the base of Mont Blanc in a pair of Avoriaz mountain boots, or a pair of Pacific sandals, perfect for summer strolling.
The Chambord’s, handmade in Saint Jean de Moirans, France, are indeed a golf shoe by origin, featuring 45 degree stitching on the apron, a technique unique to the manufacturing of Paraboot shoes, as well as the brands infamous thick rubber soles; a feature . Paraboot adopted the use of rubber soles in 1926 when the brands founder, Remy Richard, visited the USA and had noticed American wearing rubber boots. Upon his return to the UK, Remy replaced his wooden and leather soles with vulcanised rubber, and was indeed the inventor of the notched soles found on most mountain boots, and indeed are the very soles you will find welted to the Chambord’s.
On the topic of welting; a process involving a thin layer of leather to which both the upper and outsole are sewn to ensure durability and waterproofing, the Chambord’s feature a Norwegian welt, typically found in work and mountain shoes. What’s more, this soling process allows for the Chambord’s to be resole able, meaning you can keep your favourite pair for a lifetime!
Now turning to the shoes upper, the Chambord’s are crafted from premium calfskin, a supple and resistant design feature that adds to the comfort and timelessness of these shoes. Find the Cafe, Black, and Nuit tans in store or online at Aphrodite Clothing.
Styling options are endless with the Chambord; pair with your trusty chinos and virgin wool over shirt for a more classically causal look, or Collab with cigarette cut high rise trousers and Cuban shirt for a truly sleek style, fit for any Parisian coffee shop.
More goodness from the swoosh masterminds in the form of the Nike Air VaporMax DM/S/X, check it out below…
Unapologetically fusing together some of Nike’s most forward-thinking technology into a robust and character rich profile, the Nike VaporMax DM/S/X not only demands attention, but makes a powerful statement to all those who would dare challenge the Goddess of victory for the top spot on the innovation podium.
Taking an experimental design direction to it’s very limits, the trainers find their name rooted deep in the sportswear company’s rich history, cramming a plethora of technical detailing into their multi-faceted frames and making reference to when the Beaverton based brand almost found itself named Dimension Six. Delivering impressive levels of both urban appeal and practical cushioning the sneakers come dressed to the nines with street-ready add-ons making use of a number of classic materials for a result that feels both unique but unequivocally familiar.
Strapping in both Vapor Max technology and a rubber pad grip below for enviable levels of support and traction, the trainers construct their uppers from a varied list of fan favourite materials. With mesh found across the toe box for improved breathability and a plush leather tongue the DM/S/X rounds out its over-layered look with soft suede accents and both a toe and heel TPU clip for a futuristic finish. Dressed primarily in grounded coatings of black / white both sneakers utilise bright hits of colouring to contrast their subdued base, bringing attention to a selection of modest swoosh monikers and a number of notable points of interest. Kicking things up a notch when it comes to sporty techwear appeal, the trainers find themselves in the possession of several practical pull tabs with Velcro secured ankle straps on hand for a closer fit.
The Nike VaporMax DM/S/X “Midnight Turn/White-Mineral Teal” is available both online and in store now with the white variation launching 15/08/19.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of stomping around in some of the footwear on offer from Clarks Originals than you don’t need us to tell you that they’re dead comfy on the toes and go with just about any bottom half attire you could think of. From the effortless sophistication of a good pair of Wallabees to the casual cool of the Weaver and the rugged charm of a Desert Trek, there’s a ‘sole’ mate out there guaranteed to fit every foot, style and formality. Well, as Spring looms on the now not so distant horizon it appears that Clarks have heard our cries for some quality suede kicks delivering a brand new silhouette that’s soon to be as synonymous with summer as a day at the beach, a cold drink in a hot beer garden or the race to eat your ice cream before it melts on your hand.
Arriving on our doorstep in both a black and beige colourway the Clarks Originals Seven takes sensibilities formed through years of knocking out instant classics and combines it with some on-trend contemporary design direction. With stitched detailing and debossed hiker to the heel tab, the sevens keep things traditional up top putting to work a two eyelet lacing system that tightens the ultra-soft uppers around the foot for an unquestionably snug fit. Elsewhere things take a more modern turn with a leather sock liner and resilient trainer-like rubber outsole supplying the goods when it comes to mid-stride support and reflective striped laces bringing with them a dash of extra functional flair.
So the question on everyone’s mind, why are they called the seven? Perhaps they derive their name from the seven individual pieces they are made up of? The 70% recycled rubber that can be found in their soles? Or maybe it’s something to do with the magical qualities associated with the mysterious prime number? No matter the reason, if we had to sum up the Sevens in seven words it would be, ‘quality shoes that look and feel outstanding.’ Get your hands on them now whilst you still can in store and online.
Grenson Shoes Care Guide – 10 Tips To Look After Grenson Shoes
Here at Aphrodite we have recently bolstered our vast range of shoe care products, with care kits from Jason Markk, Crep Protect and Sneakers ER readily available in-store and online which are sure to prove perfect for the footwear aficionados among us. We also have a whole host of items from Grenson, including Grenson cream, polish, brushes and cloths to help keep your footwear collection in tip top condition no matter what the weather.
Imagine this… you have just spent a small fortune on a pair of leather shoes, you want them to last the distance, right? With help from our lovely counterparts at British footwear institute Grenson, we have pieced together a Grenson care guide; 10 tips to look after Grenson shoes which will hopefully help keep your investment fresh for many years to come.
Following these few simple steps will help prolong the life of your most trustworthy Grenson shoes.
10 Tips To Look After Grenson Shoes
Never wear your new shoes in the rain until they have been worn at least 3-4 times.
If your shoes do end up getting wet put shoe trees inside them (if you don’t have trees newspaper will work just as well) and let them dry out at room temperature for 48 hours before you wear them again. Wet sole leather will wear out twice as quick as dry sole leather.
Before polishing, wipe off any excess surface dirt with a dry cloth.
When its time to polish, use plenty of polish/cream and make sure its into the welt and the cracks between the upper and the sole. Let the polish sit on for as long as possible, over night is an ideal time scale. Browse our range of Grenson creams.
Use a Grenson cloth or brush to take off any excess polish/cream to shine them up.
If you want to darken your tan shoes use a dark polish, some people like to use black polish which makes them instantly look older.
Goodyear Welted shoes are easy to repair and the soles can be changed if needed.
A little test can be done to see if your shoe are ready for repair; If you can feel a soft spot in the middle of the front of the shoe where you walk, push it in with your thumb. If its very soft, its about to go, if its a little soft, you can get another few months out of them.
Leather soles can be very slippery, making it a task in itself to navigate across some floors. A cheeky little trick, cut open a potato and rub it into the sole, this will give you grip.
If you look after your shoes, they could last for years and years.
Nike has been showing us their down-to-earth humorous side recently with the Nothing Beats A Londoner video that released last month, their latest endeavour is in the form of ‘Shoe Therapy’ sessions where athletes like Draymond Green and the Revolution’air’ Sean Wotherspoon go to talk about their uncontrollable Sneaker addiction.
The video holds a slight truth as it’s something most of us can relate to, as your shoes are like a child to you that you nurture and take care of. More videos are going to follow from Nike, but for the moment you can check out their first episode ‘Its Gotta Be The Shoes’ which features American Track athlete and record holder Shalane Flannagan talks to Lena Thwaite about her totally justified obsession with her 4% Vaporfly. I don’t know about you but we are excited to see what sneakers the following episodes cover.
In Grenson’s long and enriched history since the 1800s, they have became the benchmark for producing the highest quality in leather footwear in the industry, and are still striving in being the crème de la crème.
Grenson have been making shoes continuously since 1866 and they are only in our third factory in all of that time, and that has been based in Northamptonshire. With Northampton’s historic cattle market it has been the hub of providing a ready supply of fine leather for the local workshops. So with that fruitful heritage, we know that they are a brand that will be here for the long haul. We thought we should treat you all to a look at our stylist’s top picks, as after all it is nearly the festive period.
One of our favourite pieces this season has to be the iconic Fred boot. With the classic Grenson Archie brogue being an essential piece of footwear for every formal occasion imaginable. I mean how can you not lust after the Fred boot; the Archie’s taller sibling, that has successfully been bridging the gap between formal-wear and smart casual. The key features to this sturdy boot are its oversized brogue punch-holes to the tan calf leather upper sat upon a Goodyear welt leather sole. With the Goodyear welt often cited as a hallmark of well-made shoes, this is yet another string to Fred’s bow.
As Sir Hardy Amies once said “It’s totally impossible to be well-dressed in cheap shoes” and by George he was right. The Grenson Triple Welt Archie Brogues in Mahogany, takes out a big felt tip pen and firmly ticks that well dressed box. Since we are not shy in showing our passion for our home-grown brands, we love that this brogue has been finely crafted in the Grenson factory in Northamptonshire. These brogues have been produced from ‘skin to box’ within the English factory, and are an exquisite example of fine British craftsmanship. (If you haven’t already check out when we saw the process first hand over on our youtube channel) The key features of these essential party shoes are their massive triple sole that been given the durable edge with its triple welt construction.
Finally our third stylist’s pick is the fresh faced Grenson Sneaker 1 in White. With Grenson serving its country in the Great War by producing thousands of boots and shoes for the soldiers, stepping into the sneakers market was big leap for the brands. They may be new kids of the block when it comes to sneakers, but their wealth of knowledge when it comes to premium leather means they are for sure not falling short. The Sneaker 1 has been based on a super clean 70’s tennis shoe and crafted from luxury calf leather sat upon an Italian white rubber sole.
Grenson’s key pieces wouldn’t look out of place down at your local boozer or on a wedding dance floor one of the many reasons we can not get enough of this British heritage brand. This brand is just crying out for you to use the shoes emojis on your #grams!!
We were scratching our heads on how we could select only a handful of our favourite pieces from the range. The autumn winter Grenson collection is now available online prices ranging from £149.00 to £435.00.
Summer is rapidly approaching its end: with the chill in the air, out goes the lightweight wardrobe and in comes knitwear, heavier denim and more robust footwear. And as any boot aficionado will tell you, they don’t come much more robust than Red Wings.
For Autumn 2017, the Minnesota-based brand present a brace of new styles, along with reworkings of old favourites. The Rover boot, for instance, is a handsome boot that’s partway between the Iron Ranger and classic Round-Toe styles, and is made up in the brand’s oil-tanned Rough & Tough leather on a coffee-coloured Comfort Crepe sole for the perfect blend of versatile good looks and all day comfort.
Elsewhere we see subtle twists on the classics, with the 6” Moc Toe boot swapping out its white Cushion sole for a sleek black Traction Tred option, while the Iron Ranger boot is decked out in Hawthorne Muleskinner roughout leather, which combines the casual look of suede with the hardwearing nature of full-grain leather for the perfect autumn boot. Finally, the smart Blacksmith boot appears in both oil-tanned leather and the new Spitfire waxed roughout leather.
Whichever style catches your fancy, you’re ensured to be rewarded for your investment with a bulletproof, good-looking and timeless pair of boots. The new Red Wing collection is available from Aphrodite Clothing now.
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.
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.
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.
Welted (Triple welts)
Gentleman’s corner (cut to the heel)
Trim fore part
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.
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.
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.