The Loake History
A tradition is born. Loake is set up in Kettering, Northamptonshire, by three brothers, Thomas, John and William. The business is started in an outbuilding at Thomas Loake’s house at 62 King Street.
Finding its home. Loake moves to Wood Street, where it can still be found today. In the early days, the factory is called the Unique Boot Factory. It has a floor area of approximately 20,000 sq ft, accommodates over 300 workers and is considered one of the finest and most advanced shoe factories in the country.
The war effort. Loake’s contribution to the war effort includes the manufacture of Terrain boots, Convalescent boots and Despatch Riders boots for the British army. Vast quantities of Cossack boots are also made for the Russian army.
More for the forces. Every business has to allocate space for the war effort and Loake produces footwear for the forces, both Naval and RAF officers. At its peak, production runs to 2,500 pairs of screwed and stitched boots a week.
The Loake Brand. Immediately after the war the company starts to carry stock lines and the Loake brand is officially registered (although it has been in use before).
Royal approval. Loake is granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment to HM The Queen.
We consider Goodyear Welting to be the best way of attaching the components in a premium quality shoe. The components are stitched rather than glued so that the natural properties of the leather are retained. This construction provides superior performance, durability and comfort in wear. Also, it is possible to re-sole a pair of Goodyear Welted shoes by stitching new soles to the existing welts.
All Loake designs are originated at the Loake factory in Kettering, the full range incorporating both formal and contemporary classics, as well as genuine moccasins. We place special emphasis on comfort and has developed its own unique Complete Comfort System. Our shoes undergo up to eleven different polishing operations during manufacture, all executed by hand, being examined for quality at every stage of manufacture. All new designs undergo rigorous trials to ensure the best possible fit and performance in wear. Loake offers a full repair and refurbishment service where shoes are resoled on the original lasts.
The Loake Goodyear Welted construction has origins that can be traced back over three hundred years. Since production began, Loake has made more than 50 million pairs of shoes, being proud of the craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into its footwear. It takes approximately eight weeks to make a pair of Loake Goodyear Welted shoes, in a process that involves some 130 skilled craftspeople, 75 shoe parts and 200 operations. Only the finest grade leathers and materials are used to ensure the best possible finish.
Loake is committed to improving its way of working to achieve good environmental practice. The factory uses aqueous-based products in production wherever possible. The leather used for Loake Goodyear Welted soles is vegetable tanned using tannin found naturally in bark.