Kick back for summer

Summer is here and the holiday season is upon us. For us at Herring Shoes, that means the Devon town where we are based will swell with tourists while the population of nearby Salcombe multiplies 10-fold. 

Herring Barcelona II loafer in Navy. Shot in Thurlestone, Devon.

Wherever you spend your holiday, it is an opportunity to stow away your work shoes for a week or so and relax into a more casual style. 

For those of you that like a smarter shoe, we have a decent choice available for you. 

We have worked with both British and Italian craftsmen to produce a full choice of loafers. These can be worn with chinos, jeans or shorts and are made from leather or suede in several colours.

Similarly, the deck shoe can be worn with all the above too. It has long shaken off the shackles of needing an accompanying boat or even a beachside or riverside location to be relevant. Although we expect to see a fair few on feet in Devon this summer!

Herring Fowey in Tan. Photo taken at Hope Cove, Devon.

And, if you struggle to let go of your boots in the warmer months, we reckon you can get away with  a light-coloured desert boot at this time of year.

Herring has upped its game further still with a collection of casual footwear, epitomised by the Strike II sneaker. This is a new range that comes in both suede and leather with a red-heel detail, retro laces and red eyelets. We are fond of the stone colour, but they also come in navy, chocolate and Cognac. 

Meanwhile, the Boxer II is a baseball style shoe. This high-top, in a mix of calf and suede with blue laces, is a cool shoe in whatever colour you go for: cognac, navy or both!   

To really kick back though, how can you go wrong with an espadrille

Herring Sanremo in biscuit suede. Photo taken off a running mooring, Kingsbridge.

Originally, peasant footwear from Spain or the Occitainia region of France, they usually have a cotton or canvas upper with a flexible sole made of esparto rope. They must be the ultimate holiday shoe. 

In typical Herring style, we have applied our classic know-how to produce a suede design in biscuit or navy with a flexible rubber sole and heel. Our espadrilles are more hard-wearing and will last you longer than the traditionally made shoes.

As our MD Jason says: “If a gentleman is forced to abandon his welted footwear due to the heat, then this is the shoe to wear for a stroll along the promenade!”

So, with your footwear sorted, what else can Herring help you with? Our range of Naked Clothing includes beautiful polo shirts (currently in the sale) that exude quality. If you want to travel in style, we have some stunning luggage available too, such as the Heritage Racing range. Petrol-heads will love them! Or, you could go for our new Gulliver range, which includes a backpack and a wheeled case in conker-coloured calf leather.

Whatever you chose, whatever you wear…enjoy your summer!

Herring Strike II and Cotswold weekender bag. Photo taken at Thurlestone, Devon

Sneaking a look at sneakers

What goes around, comes around and the same can be said of sneakers.

We’re not talking about your typical sports shoe used to pound the pavements or to run around a squash court, but the relaxed alternative to a more traditional work shoe.

Herring have long stocked a rubber-soled brogue in the shape of the Silverstone II. We also carry the Thruxton II boot and the Goodwood trainer, but a sneaker is a casual step further.

Originating from the plimsoll style, still reluctantly pulled on by primary school children, sneakers evolved into canvas Keds and tennis shoes worn on deck by the British Navy. Then along came Converse with a shoe that was suitable for basketball.

Known as sneakers because their rubber soles mean they are so quiet, you could sneak up on someone, they subsequently evolved into shoes for other sports. With brands like Adidas, Puma and Nike weighing in, I think this is where we have seen the divide come between sports shoes or trainers and sneakers.

The science behind a modern-day sports shoe is big business, while a sneaker is not required to run fast, it does need to be comfortable whether they are high-top, low-top or slip-on. For Herring though, they need to have a certain sense of style that is synonymous with the brand.

Herring Strike II

It may not be science, but Herring invests the same craftmanship in their sneakers as we would our brogues. We treat them like a traditional welted shoe but apply a rubber sole. In fact as the name suggests, our suede Opito rubber-soled brogues, are exactly that – a brogue with a rubber sole. Genius!

Meanwhile, the Targa is more of a classic trainer style with some formal elements to make it something of a crossover between a formal and a casual shoe. With styles in all leather or a blend of fabric and leather, they all feature a flexible lightweight rubber sole making them perfect for casual workwear or weekend duties. 

Herring Targa in navy calf and fabric

The Boxer II is a nod to the baseball style of a shoe endorsed by Chuck Taylor almost a century ago. A high-top in a mix of calf and suede with blue laces, we think this is a cool shoe in whatever colour your go for: cognac, navy or both! While the more classic style is evident in the Strike II, but is still smart enough if your office has a more relaxed dress code policy.

As regular readers of our blog will know, Herring does specialise in more formal shoes like Oxfords, brogues, etc, so our sneakers are what we envisage our suit-wearing customers wearing at the weekend.

What are you waiting for? Embrace the weekend; embrace the sneaker!

Herring Boxer II

Classic shoe gets an upgrade

There are few shoes in our range that are classier and more classic than a Knightsbridge.

Original Knightsbridge

However, even an old favourite needs an upgrade from time to time. A black Oxford, the Knightsbridge is our longest selling shoe to date. It is a classic toecap and is made using the finest calf leathers on the 026 last. This last is very much a classic English last shape, with a rounded toe of standard length. The sole is Goodyear welted leather and the heel is largely leather too with a rubber tip. In short, this is a quality British shoe that should last its wearer for years and years. Because it is welted, it can be sent back to the factory to be resoled, which means you do not have to wear in a new pair of shoes when the soles wear down. But it is time for refresh. Do not worry, the Knightsbridge will retain its classic style and will still be made by expert British craftsmen and women, but we have added some embellishments.

The full lining is going to change and there will be a cut-out window for the sizing information. The sole has the addition of gold-leaf branding. Small changes for small upgrade. Wearers will not notice this difference in style or fit. The other upside to an upgrade is that we are offering a 20% discount on our existing stock of Knightsbridge shoes. If you are looking for classic black Oxford that will stand the test of time, then this is a great opportunity.

Hats off (and shoes on) for Royal Ascot

Herring Balfour

With Royal Ascot galloping towards us on the social calendar, you will be all too aware that much of the media coverage focuses on the hats, especially on Ladies’ Day. It will come as no surprise that our preview will throw a spotlight on the shoes!

Royal Ascot is Britain’s most valuable race meeting, attracting many of the world’s finest racehorses to compete for millions of pounds in prize money. It is also an opportunity to socialise with family, friends, colleagues and clients adorned in all your finery as befits the occasion.

Described on the Royal Ascot website, as “synonymous with sartorial elegance”, there are levels of attire required to literally suit the enclosure you are heading to. While you are selecting your outfit, we would like to offer our advice on the shoes you may wish to consider for the occasion

The Royal Enclosure is where most of the paparazzi lenses will be pointing due to the royal family members and celebrities who frequent this area. There is a strict dress code. Gentleman must wear black or grey mourning dress, including a waistcoat and tie, a black or grey top hat, and black shoes worn with socks. 

The traditional shoe choice would be a black Oxford, but may we suggest a sartorial upgrade? Introducing the Herring Balfour. This is an extremely elegant, long-wing, semi-brogue with a swan-neck stitch. The crisp lines of the brogue pattern are deliberately not gimped to leave a sleek and clean appearance.  This shape is one of our most popular lasts giving a very elegant and bespoke appearance without compromising the fit. 

Handmade from start to finish in the home of shoemaking Northamptonshire, you could not get a more English shoe…perfect for a Royal Enclosure outing! 

Aside from the Royal Enclosure, the Queen Anne Enclosure requires a full-length suit with a collared shirt and tie. The jackets and trousers should be of matching colour and pattern, while socks must be worn and should cover the ankle. There is no guidance for shoes, aside from the outlawing of trainers, so patrons can be a little more expressive here.

In the Village Enclosure and Windsor Enclosure, the dress code is a little more relaxed again with jackets and long trousers, collared shirts and ties required or recommended.

So, that got us thinking about our top five footwear recommendations for Royal Ascot 2019. With the Balfour style already in mind for the Royal Enclosure, we have selected a sleek collection of shoes and boots that give a nod to the British brogue while tipping a hat to the fashion this prestigious event is famed for.

  • Rothwell II: This is a beautiful monk shoe with punch work integral to the upper, as opposed to the more usual brogued leather overlay. The punch work is highlighted by hand to enhance the pattern and define this feature. The 205 last shape is very popular, giving excellent fitting qualities and comfort with a slightly contemporary look from the squarer, chiselled toe.
  • Carnaby: This full wingtip brogue is made on the elegant 386 last and a great example of expert English shoemaking. These brogues are made from the finest calf leather with a Goodyear welted leather sole. The chestnut colour will add a summery note to a grey suit.
  • Carroll II: A toe-punch detail emphasises the sleek last shape of this gorgeous, plain-fronted Derby or Gibson. It has been hand-patinated in the Carlos Santos factory to show off a very elegant shape with a chiselled toe box giving a bespoke appearance.
  • Faringdon: We have added in a boot for people who simply prefer them. This gorgeous example is a two-tone brogue of navy soft suede and fine chestnut calf to create a unique design. 
  • Lewis: A contemporary interpretation of the brogue, sitting on a square-toed last with sharp lines giving it a very distinctive shape. The red laces and red midsole add drama to the shoe and highlights the handmade craft that is used to create it. A brown lace can be included in the box if you request it. 

However, all that said, you are most welcome to choose a classic Oxford! Herring has a full range of Oxfords to choose from and our customer service department is happy to give advice when needed.

Royal Ascot begins on Tuesday, June 18, 2019.

The Herring guide to wedding shoes for men

If you search the internet for ‘wedding shoe guide for men’, Pinterest offers a collection that includes some rather fetching white patent styles…. If that’s your thing, then go for it, but you will not find any white patent Oxfords among the range of styles offered by Herring Shoes. We can, however, offer some alternatives to the classic black lace-up.

Not that there is anything wrong with a classic black Oxford. It is a super-smart shoe that will never offend, will go with most styles and colour of morning suits, and will complement the sleek looked created by dark trousers. However, many grooms, ushers and male guests now opt for a less formal suit, which means your choice of shoe is entirely down to what you like and, crucially, what you feel comfortable in.

Herring Lewis

Weddings generally require a lot of standing around and usually some dancing. Pinched toes or rubbing heels are a distraction we can all do without, so make sure you consider your comfort when choosing your wedding-ready shoes. Remember, if your feet are slightly wider, Herring offers two widths to ensure you get the fit that’s right for you. 

Enough about comfort. Let’s get down to style.

Herring Churchill II

We have already decided Oxfords are a safe choice. Our Churchill IIs are one of our best sellers, but there is even room for an alternative look with an Oxford. Herring can get you dancing with a mix of patent leather and suede in the aptly titled Jive Oxfords, or the Aston Oxfords and Waltz II formal shoes are both all patent. We have Oxfords in brown suede, in navy leather or with a brogue rosette on the toe, so you can truly personalise how you want to look on your big day.

But if you’re not into Oxfords, the brogue offers a traditional alternative. Again, it is an iconic shoe style that works well for a countryside wedding or beneath a kilt! Our Henry II brogues remain among our bestsellers as they truly encapsulate that classic style while our brandy-coloured Lewis brogues have a city edge with their square toe and the Thatcher brogue Chelsea boots suit a man that likes to be, well, suited and booted!

Many men opt for a boot as their preferred footwear for all occasions and Chelsea boots are always popular. However, these Orwell boots could provide an attractive alternative with their double monk-style buckles. If they are good enough for James Bond, surely, they are good enough for a wedding! Or if you are wearing a navy suit, the Stirrup in navy and tan leather could be just the job.

Herring Orwell

Not all weddings are formal with more people heading to reliably sunnier climes where jackets, let alone ties, are not required and tailored shorts or chinos meet the dress code. This is where a loafer will fit the bill nicely. Smart, yet relaxed, with plenty of personality, our recent spring guide will give you the full low-down on loafers. However, we do not think you can go wrong with our Ibstock loafers for suede or the Riviera for a leather weave.

If you are the groom, it is probably best to get your wife or partner to-be to give their pre-approval, while ushers should probably consort with the groom too to avoid shoe clash or, worse, the ushers upstaging the groom!

In homage to slow fashion, we would also advise you to consider what you will use your shoes for after the big day. A Herring shoe is an investment that will last you for many years to come, so unless you wish to be the office’s answer to Fred Astaire in your patent black Oxfords, you may wish to choose a style that may be more suited to everyday life.

Herring Jive

Lastly, and to summarise, here are our top 10 wedding shoes for men:

  1. Churchill IIs Oxfords
  2. Jive Oxfords
  3. Aston Oxfords
  4. Henry II brogues
  5. Lewis brogues
  6. Thatcher brogue Chelsea boots
  7. Orwell boots
  8. Stirrup boots
  9. Ibstock loafers
  10. Riveria loafers

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.