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.

Lewis in brandy

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 Henry

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 Matisse

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.

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.