Since joining the sneaker circuit back in 2015, London-based brand Mallet Footwearhas steadily climbed the ranks of the industry to become the lauded label it is today. Television star, Tommy Mallet, and his business partner, Evren Ozkarakasil, are the talented, driving forces behind the brand; having started the adventure as a means to fill a gap in the British trainer market, and collectively, fulfill their passion for premium footwear.
Fast-forward four years down the line and Mallet Footwear has garnered quite the cult following for itself, no doubt backed by Mallet’s flurry of loyal followers and ardent luxury sneaker aficionados in abundance. But, the mass attention and success Mallet Footwear has acquired since its inception is incredibly well deserved. Mallet and Ozkarakasil are both savvy entrepreneurs in the background; keeping their finger firmly on the pulse of the industry, seeking out emerging trends before they hit the mainstream and spinning their own interpretation of them to present to the world at large.
Aesthetically, Mallet Footwear has anchored an unmistakable identity that rarely strays from its neutral colour palette. This ubiquitous look is widely welcomed by millennials, with the greys, blacks and beiges of each sneaker making for a versatile addition to any rotation. The brand’s continuing efforts to tap into the sneaker zeitgeist are certainly visible throughout each collection, take for instance Mallet’s AW19 offerings, from the Kingsland trainer, to the Diver 2.0 and Lurus silhouette, each design is symbolic of the chunky trainer trend that’s took the industry by storm in recent years.
Amidst contemporary design lines and bulbous outsoles, each Mallet delivery also boasts an immaculate finish which can be owed to the production expertise of Ozkarakasil. With plenty of prior experience on the production side of things, Ozkarakasil is on hand to ensure the product meets the brand’s superlative standards. With this said, Mallet Footwear choose to lean on the competence of European manufacturers to handmake each product, using only the finest of materials, from leather to suede and often, scuba.
As many brands in the business will know, it takes a certain kind of perseverance to truly get an idea up and running off the ground. Both Mallet and Ozkarakasil have effortlessly expressed exactly this in their starting years; pushing ahead with ambition and zero limits. From simply putting pencil to paper, the duo have found their calling and truly established a footwear force to be reckoned with – in Mallet’s words, ‘choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’
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.
Conceived in 1989, New Balance’s 801 sneaker strived to unite the worlds of running and trail. The result? A first of its kind. A hybrid design with dual-purpose; equally suited to the city streets and off-trail terrain. For 2019, the Boston-based sportswear brand update the pioneering sneaker with contemporary appeal.
This season’s 801 sneaker boasts the same dual-design identity as the original. Imagined in a grey, blue and lime mash up, the trainer sees running like sensibilities up top, while below, hiking-like elements are harnessed. Across the upper, mesh and synthetic leather cast a tonal scene, empowering breathability with each and every step. Detail wise, vibrant pops to the sidewall articulate New Balance’s esteemed identity, teamed alongside an ‘All Terrain’ statement to the heel.
But, the 801 sneaker’s real sense of ‘new’ conforms underfoot thanks to New Balance’s dual-density ABZORB midsole. This foam insert promises to provide a supreme blend of cushioning and compression, while offering slip-resistant rubber to the style. Additionally, the robust construction features an intricate traction pattern to its surface, delivering superlative grip through every adventure.
With New Balance’s cutting-edge technology on side and a forward-thinking mindset reinstated, the new and improved 801 sneaker guarantees superlative performance. From the streets, to the trail and everywhere in-between, this shoe has you covered. See for yourself by shopping the trail-running hybrid in-store or online at Aphrodite.
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 here.
Grenson Shoes Care Guide – 10 Tips To Look After Grenson Shoes
So you have just spent a small fortune on a pair of shoes, you want them to last right? With help from the lovely people over at Grenson, we have put together a Grenson care guide, 10 tips to look after Grenson shoes which will hopefully help keep your shoes in perfect condition for as long as possible.
Aphrodite have recently added shoe care products to their accessories collection, including Jason Markk, Crepe Protect and Sneaker Lab which are perfect for the sneaker and trainer enthusiasts among us, along with a range of Grenson items including Grenson cream /polish, brushes and cloths, to help keep your footwear in great condition no matter what the weather.
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.
Take a look at our recent trip to the Grenson factory and interview with Grenson’s owner and creative director Tim Little. Read full blog post here
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 Grenson Shoes, Tim Little, check out the full interview below:
What was it about Grenson that made you decide to take the brand on?
I think probably the main thing is the history, it was a company with 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 Grenson, 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 kind 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 develop it further, do more and more prototype’s, lots and lots of tweaking. The sale’s team are 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 Grenson 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 hand work 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 ask you about it. I think that’s what Grenson is all about.
Tim Little’s favourite Grenson shoe
Any Tips on how to look after your shoes?
There’s 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 happen is, it gets quite damp even if it’s hot. If it’s hot they get even more damp, 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 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 1930’s at Grenson. When I got here, one of the first things I did was get all the old brochures and catalogues out. I noticed from about 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 type face.” 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 Grenson 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.