Socks off…it’s time for deck shoes

It isn’t strictly necessary for you to take your socks off when you pop on a pair of deck shoes as our quick romp through the deck shoe’s potted history will reveal.

Herring Fowey in tan nubuck

The deck shoe was invented by American Paul A Sperry in 1935 when he noticed his dog’s ability to run easily over ice without slipping. He proceeded to cut thin slits into the rubber soles of his shoes and so inspired the perfect shoe for boating and the Sperry Top-Sider brand.

Known as boat shoes over the pond, the deck shoe has transcended its boating use becoming a slip-on casual footwear favourite for both men and women from the 1970s onwards, especially in coastal areas of Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, Argentina and China.

From the 1980s, the deck shoe has been popular at various times with secondary school and college students…with and without socks!

These days, deck shoes are often seen beneath skinny or straight-legged turned up jeans, chinos or tailored shorts, an open-neck buttoned shirt with rolled-up sleeves or plain t-shirt for men. While women, with the Duchess of Cambridge leading the way, favour the skinny jean look.

Herring Fowey in Navy nubuck

The style has remained largely unchanged with a moccasin-style moc-toe construction and leather laces. Some still have the traditional white, non-marking soles, while dark, non-marking soles are popular too.

Once regarded as a status symbol due to their association with boats, deck shoes are the epitome of smart casual attire and summer comfort. The Herring range is lightweight, cushioned and made with supple leathers from a fabulous family-owned factory in Portugal that has been making them for many years. 

We see them as perfect for casual strolls in the sunshine, for some serious boating, for a day on the beach or for a cheeky G&T at your local at the weekend. They also suit a multitude of dress-down occasions that require a bit of style.

Herring has a sale running throughout May with 20% off our deck shoe range, including the Salcombe, Padstow, Rock and Fowey styles to offer you plenty of choice. Slip on a pair and start thinking about summer!

Herring Salcombe and Leonardo polo by Naked clothing

Slow fashion for your feet

A staff member’s pair of Herring Chamberlain, showcasing how they hold up after 5+ years of wear and care.

With so-called fast fashion contributing more to climate change than air and sea travel, Herring Shoes is proud to have been a dedicated supporter of ‘slow fashion’ since our inception in 1966.

Not only do our shoes and boots encapsulate timeless classic styles that rarely go out of fashion, they are made to last.

In the past 15 years, global clothing production has doubled to meet demand for quick turnaround garments. The quick turnaround does not refer to the time they take to make, but rather the time they are worn. 

In some cases, a garment is only worthy of single social media post before they are thrown away or forgotten. This has left a trail of predominantly low-cost cast-offs, with more than half of fast fashion items thrown away in less than a year, according to the consultants McKinsey*.

The environmental impact from the microfibres in discarded clothing is significant. Make Fashion Circular revealed greenhouse gas emissions from textiles production totalled 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent globally in 2015 ** .

With major clothing and footwear companies currently under scrutiny from an all-party environmental audit committee and a report pending, this is an issue that will hit the headlines again in the coming weeks. 

Our loyal customers know that Herring Shoes does not sell clothing or footwear for a few pounds. Our dedication to quality means the urge to simply discard one of our items should be reduced. More than that though, we produce shoes and boots that are designed to last for many years.

Longevity has always been a part of our philosophy. An investment in a pair of Herring Shoes will pay you back with years on your feet wearing comfortable and stylish footwear.

Moreover, our shoes can be repaired, as discussed in our recent blog repair to extend the life of your shoes . This means they can be returned to the original factories they were manufactured in to be professionally restored by highly skilled craftsmen.

Unlike other manufacturers, we want you to hang onto your Herring Shoes. We want you to love them and feel the joy of shoes that have moulded to your feet over time. There is nothing fast about the relationship we want you to have with our shoes. Long may it continue.

* Is fast fashion giving way to the sustainable wardrobe? The Guardian, Dec 2018

** Make Fashion Circular Report, 2017

What is a welt?

A seemingly unimportant question, but a welt is a big deal in the world of quality shoes and boots.

Our photos show where a welt can be found in many of the shoes and boots we stock. In layman’s terms, it is a leather strip that is sewn around the edge of a shoe-upper to which the sole is attached.

Hardly headline news, but the welt’s existence makes all the difference when ensuring a shoe has longevity and can be efficiently repaired.

To give you a little historical perspective…the welt process we know today was invented in 1869 by Charles Goodyear Jr. He was the son of Charles Goodyear, the inventor of the chemical process to create and manufacture pliable, waterproof, mouldable rubber. The two Charleses has tyres and footwear all sewn up!

What made the Goodyear welt stand out was that it was a machine-based alternative to very labour intensive hand-stitching. They are clever chaps those Goodyears!

This is how a welted shoe is made. The upper part of the shoe is shaped over the last and then the welt strip is sewn to the upper.

Then in a separate operation, the sole is stitched to the same welt strip which holds the material firmly together. The space created by the welt between the upper and the sole is usually filled with cork, which is malleable and comfortable underfoot. The finished result is a largely waterproof shoe. If you look closely at the photo below, you can see the pale stitch linking the welt to the insole of the upper and the dark stitch which links the welt to the sole.

It is true that welted shoes are more expensive to manufacture than other production methods, but they are relatively simple to repair which greatly enhances their value. The welt is the buffer between the upper and the sole meaning that the sole can be cut off and then a new one attached without damaging the upper.

All Goodyear welted Herring Shoes can be repaired by a competent cobbler. We offer an enhanced repair service on styles that have the logo below next to them, this logo means that they can be sent back to the original manufacturer to be re-soled while retaining the comfort of your worn-in upper. Factory repair is the gold standard.

Among our popular Goodyear welted shoes and boots are the Fencote two-tone brogues, the Blair II double monk shoes, the Soho Chelsea boots and many more. Simply type ‘Goodyear’ into the search facility or click this Goodyear welted styles link and it will take you to a full list so you can discover the wonders of welts!

Spring into…well, spring

As spring has officially sprung, we decided to take a look ahead to warmer weather and more daylight hours with footwear in mind.

When I think of spring, I think of two elements. No. not sun and rain…suede and loafers.

Suede is generally forgotten about in the colder months, as are loafers. Instead we reach for weather-proof, sturdy leather shoes or boots with soles ready for any inclement condition.

Herring Matisse

A few rays of sunshine later, and the suede loafers are out. Yes, that’s right, we gloriously combine the two!

Behold the Lecce…this most continental-looking of loafers for those who want to show a bit more flair. This features a leather sole and super-soft suede uppers with leather tassels and comes in three colours.

Herring Lecce

See also the Matisse and Barcelona II if you have penchant for tassels. If not, then James is your man. This brown handcrafted loafer has been made using the highest quality leather. It is made on the 109 last which has a rounded point to make it very elegant. This shoe has the bespoke look of a much more expensive shoe, accentuated by the apron detailing and fine stitching. Lastly, there is the Charlton. A classic penny loafer made from rich calf leather with a full leather lining. This loafer and many others are also welted, which means they are repairable so they should last you for many years to come with care and attention.

Herring James

But if you are not ready to roll up your chinos or jeans just yet, you can start inching towards the suede with light-weight boots or brogues. Our Ilford rubber-soled chukkas and Hockley Chelsea boots both come in a sandy, oiled suede to offer a lighter colour alternative.

Shoe-wise, we have Oxfords, monks and brogues in full suede, while we also blend suede and traditional leather to capture the spectator style favoured by traditional sportsmen. The Fencote two-tone brogue remains one of our most popular styles to date.

To find the suede shoe or boot or loafer you are looking for this spring, select the ‘Suede’ filter in the ‘Uppers’ section on the Herring page on our website…and start browsing.

Herring Fencote and Herring Exford with matching belts

Customer review: Caravaggio polo shirt by David Driegert

First off, let me start this review by saying the Caravaggio is the most expensive casual shirt I’ve ever purchased, so as a Father of, soon to be three, this was an investment for me. Sure I’ve spent good money on my formal clothing for work, as well as many lovely shoes from Herring, but this was a different story, this is a casual shirt, not a formal button down for a suit or sharp sport coat, but one to be worn smartly with slacks, jeans, or khakis on a casual day at work or adventuring out with my family or friends. 

So after clicking that purchase button on my computer I waited with some hesitation, with one big question in mind, “Is this shirt really worth it?” Well, spoiler, yes…yes it is!
The very first thing I noticed about the shirt was the smell, which is quite odd, who purchases a shirt and the first thing you say is, “wow, this shirt smells like a lovely Spring morning.” It really does have a fantastic, fresh, clean, and beautiful smell to it. I immediately wanted all my shirts to smell like this. 

Detailed cuff shot

The next thing I noticed is the fabric, it’s a perfect weight, not too heavy as to be worn only in the depths of winter, and not too light as that summer linen shirt I love to wear sipping cool cocktails on the beach. It’s a shirt that can be worn year round, wear it by itself, or layer it under a cardigan. The stitching is all very straight, refined and unobtrusive in light wearing areas, and robust in harder wearing areas like the cuffs. Oh, and those cuffs, they are a beautiful heavier weight with lovely cut corners adding a very sharp touch to the shirt. 

A detailed shot of the collar and buttons

The buttons, they are beautiful mother of pearl with a lovely shimmer that adds a bit of life to this dark navy blue polo. I really like the five buttons across the top that create a sharp contrast and provide a visual center cue for the shirt that your lady, or gentlemen friend won’t take their eyes away from. 

Lastly, the fit. I’m 5’10” 190lbs and went with the large and it fits perfect. Fitted around my chest and waist without being overly snug. The sleeves are a great length and provide for easy range of motion without fear of the cuffs riding up my arms. 

David Driegert sporting his Caravaggio Polo

This shirt has met and exceeded my expectations and its certainly worth the price, a statement even my wife agrees with, and if she agrees, I know I’m right. Quality and style are exemplified with this shirt and I’d gladly have another in a different color…just waiting on you Naked Clothing

To view the full range on our website please follow this link.

Repair to extend the life of your shoes.

In an increasingly environmentally-conscious world that is trying to move away from the throwaway society’s habits of recent times, having the ability to repair or restore is important.

As consumers, we have got into the habit of buying items at a lower price to simply replace them when they break or wear out. That has encouraged some manufactures to produce goods that only have a short lifespan and cannot be repaired.

Herring products take a different, long-term approach. Most of our shoes are made using Goodyear Welted construction which is expensive but gives a shoe the best long-term repairability. They are always repairable by cutting the old sole off, through the welt, and attaching new one by a competent cobbler. This process can be repeated three or more times giving many years of service.

The welt makes repair easier

The image below will show next to factory repairable shoes indicating that they can be resoled using the original lasts at the original factory, so they come back almost as good as new but with the benefit of the uppers being worn-in to your individual shoe shape. In some ways this is even better than a new pair! Imagine sending your car back for a new engine and transmission, for a fraction of the price of a new car – how long would you be able to keep it instead of buying a new one?

As long as you look after your shoes (see our helpful guide here), repairs can ensure your favourite pair of brogues, Chelsea boots and so on are good to wear for at least 10 years. What’s more, whenever they are repaired, they will still fit you the way they always have as you will not have to break them in again.

Whether you return them to us to send back to the manufacturer or use a high street cobbler, your shoes will repay your investment over many years and will undoubtedly work out more cost effective than replacing your shoes several items with cheaper versions.

Furthermore, you will serve to contribute to a global need to drive down waste and the carbon footprint of production.

If you have purchased a pair of shoes from Herring Shoes and you are uncertain as to whether they can be repaired or not, please get in contact with our customers services team on +44 (0)1548 854886 who will be able to advise you. 

Herring Shoes adds boutique workwear clothing to online store

Renowned for their pedigree in British quality men’s footwear, Herring Shoes has added a range of stylish workwear to its online store. Designed by Italian Filippo Matera, the Naked Clothing range applies an artisan attitude to shirts and jackets.

Botticelli jacket, Leonardo Polo, Tintoretto Tee Shirt

In 1995, Matera realised there had been a shift in men’s fashion towards informal wear. Ever since then, he has been using stone-washed cotton jersey, denim and piquet to create fabrics that feel more like luxury materials, such as cashmere, to create classic garments that feel super soft yet maintain a smart appearance.

Tintoretto Tee Shirt

Herring Shoes managing director Jason Simmonds said: “Naked Clothing is unavailable on the high street and I think the product offers ideal complementary clothing to our quality footwear.  

“I see Naked Clothing being adopted by gentlemen who are not required to wear a suit to work but want to combine a professional, smart attire with elegant comfort. However, the range is equally suitable for casual attire.”

Produced at Matera’s factory in Andria, in southern Italy, the Naked Clothing range is now available online from Herring Shoes.  

Herring’s Naked Clothing range includes polo and long-sleeve shirts suitable for office and leisure wear. They can be worn with a suit, blazer, jeans or shorts, Herring is also stocking a number of Naked Clothing jackets.

Filippo Matera of Naked Clothing

Why we all love boots

Why we all love boots

As the cold snap continues, many of us will be reaching for our boots. But what is your boot of choice?

Boots fall into two categories; the rugged and the refined. Although, thankfully, these days, there is a cross-over between the two.

Starting with the rugged. Historically, these types of boots have been worn as long-lasting footwear for workers or the military with Bluchers and Wellingtons leading the way and lending their names to their respective styles.

While in the refined category, cavalier-style riding boots were prevalent in the 17th and 18thcenturies, followed by buttoned and slip-on ankle boots favoured by Queen Victoria; we would now recognise the latter as the Chelsea boot.

For gentlemen, the rugged boot choice works well in winter when we need extra warmth and rubber soles to keep our feet dry and to give us some grip underfoot. 

Herring Badminton

Boots made to withstand harsh weather conditions are based on the Veldtschoen construction method. The 17th century Cape Dutch term means stitch-down or field shoe. The upper leather flares out and is double-stitched onto the midsole to produce sturdy and waterproof boots that retain their form. 

These outdoorsy boots are perfect for the colder weather and, happily, these days, they are stylish too. Our Windermere rubber-soled boots are an example of these, while we have teamed tweed with our Exmoor rubber-soled brogue boots and grain calf textures in our Coniston two-tone rubber-soled brogue boots for extra options. 

Within the rubber-soled boot range, you will find there is a choice of sole. The Commando sole is thick and has deep cleats, but don’t walk into the house with these still on…you will bring all the mud in with you! The Dainite rubber sole is pimpled and gives great grip in all weathers. A Diamante offers a diamond pattern welted version that is more suited to the Chelsea boot.

Ah, the Chelsea boot; the boot of the moment. Described as “the most versatile stomper in the menswear jungle”, it is suitable for work and weekends with their easy-to-wear pull-on functionality. 

And Chelsea boots have come a long way. They are not just plain, shiny, black and 1960s-esque anymore. They come in all colours and choice of rubber and leather soles with a touch of brogue thrown in for good measure.

Herring Wilson

If you still want casual but prefer laces, the Chukka or desert boots could be for you, while if you like laces but lose the will to live by the time you get to the top eyes, there are boots that come with speed-lacings too.

Then there are the sleek and oh-so refined Stirrup two-tone bootsSalamanca Chukka boots or the Orwell boots. All have leather soles, and all are super-smart and stylish.

Writing this though as most of the UK shivers under a blanket of snow, warmed lined boots feel like they could be the way to go! 

With so many boot styles to choose from, it almost makes you appreciate winter.

Traditional shoes for short trousers and tartan at Pitti Uomo fair 2019

With all the great and good of the menswear fashion scene at the biannual Pitti Uomo fair in Florence, Italy, we are delighted to report Herring Shoes footwear was sported by certain members of the distinguished guest list.

Designer Filippo Matera, menswear consultants Guillame Bo and fashion blogger Nicola Radano have all been seen wearing Herring Shoes while enjoying the oversize suits and colourful hoodies from Pitti’s guest designer Glenn Martens of the Y/Project amid the street-style luxe outerwear, retro logos and gender-neutral accessories that have dominated this year’s fair.

It seems an unlikely scene for the traditional gentlemen’s shoe, but models and guests have been sporting long overcoats, scarves, ankle-skimming or turned-up trousers and even plus-fours, culottes and long tunics with broguesmonk and Derby-style shoes.

Socks are long and on display, so choice of shoe is crucial while tartan is everywhere too – both on the catwalk and in the crowd. Anything goes with tartan it seems!

It’s good to see the traditional shoe still has place among the high-end fashion that influences the high street designs despite the ever-present penchant for sports shoes. A happy harmony seems to exist between the two…and long may they that continue.

For a greater choice of quality British men’s footwear, please see our website where you can filter on style to achieve the look you want you want to achieve.

The difference between F and G fitting

You don’t have to feel the pinch with wide-fitting shoes

In a perfect world, we would all have feet that fit a standard shoe and a standard width…but Herring is fully aware feet come in all shapes and sizes.

A standard shoe width in the UK is called an F fitting. This is determined by the lasts shoe manufacturers use to make their product. Previously made from hardwood or cast iron, lasts are now made from plastic and take the form of a foot. This allows manufacturers to mould the leather around the last to ensure the shoe grips the foot in the right way.

For most people, a standard F width is perfectly comfortable, but people with wider or flatter feet may feel the pinch. One of the many wonderful things about our lasted shoes is the flexibility we have to offer a slightly wider last so that we can accommodate these variations without noticeably changing the aesthetic of the shoe. 

Can you guess which is the G fitting?

The standard UK designation for a wider fit is G. G fits are ever so slightly wider than an F fit. It does not represent a great difference in millimetres, but for the customer, it gives them a choice between a shoe that is just that little bit tight and a shoe that is actually very comfortable.

Herring understands this and we offer both medium/standard and wide fittings for our most popular styles, such as  our Carnaby brogues and Mayfair Oxfords, so our customers can still have the shoe they want but will enjoy a little more wiggle room.

Wider fittings also give customers flexibility of choice. For instance, if your favourite shoe is not available in your usual medium fitting size, you could probably get away with a half size smaller in a wider fitting. 

It is important to point out however that different countries have different measurements for shoe fittings. In the US, an F/standard/medium fitting for men’s shoes would be a D, and a G/wide would be an EE. With the letters being different, confusion should be minimal, but it is always best to check which size scheme your footwear outlet is using to avoid getting the wrong shoes!

Herring is proud to offer a decent range of wide fitting shoes. If you are unsure of what styles are available, please go to the Herring section of our website, filtered for G fits. We currently have 18 classic styles for you to choose from. You are also very welcome to call our customers services team on 01548 854886 who will be able to give you advice on the best shoe for you.