John Lobb has been making bespoke shoes and boots since 1866, and ready-to-wear shoes since 1984. In 1994 the John Lobb workshop opened in Northampton, a town in Britain with a long-established shoemaking industry, in order to produce the ready-to-wear styles.
The full-grain calf leather is put through an oak-bark tanning process for six months until it is perfectly supple and just the right shade of rich chocolate brown. The leather is stretched on the lasts for five days to ensure a smooth shape before being stitched.
The 'William' model, with its two secure buckles and pointed toe, was first developed by John Lobb in 1945. Monk-strap shoes always fasten with one or more buckles instead of laces. It is thought that Italian monks wore similar styles in medieval times.
The Goodyear Welting
In common with all fine English shoes, the Goodyear welting method of connecting the top of the shoe to the inseam and leather sole has been used. This results in a durable shoe that moulds to the shape of the wearer's foot. It also allows leather soles to be replaced easily.
There are 190 steps involved in the production of each pair of John Lobb shoes. All manufacturing is carried out in Northampton, England, with much of it done by hand. The entire process takes approximately three months from start to finish.
Mr John Lobb learned his craft making boots for miners in Australia during the gold rush. When Lobb returned to London in 1863 he made a pair of riding boots for the Prince of Wales. The future King was so pleased he granted the shoemaker a Royal Warrant.
Creation and development director, John Lobb
Since 1866, men including Sir Winston Churchill and Mr Alfred Hitchcock have turned to John Lobb for the finest-quality shoes and boots. The enduringly elegant double strap 'William' model, developed in 1945 and named after Mr William Lobb, is still in production today, a testament to its timeless appeal. Rumour has it that Lobb began producing monk-strap shoes in the 19th century to accommodate the wide feet of Prince Edward, who had granted Lobb a Royal Warrant to supply him with shoes.
THE MAKING OF a john lobb shoe
Every pair of John Lobb shoes starts life here, at the Lobb leather room on the upper floor of the brand's factory in Northampton.
A raised ridge is created on the inner sole using a ribbing machine. The upper and welt will be stitched on to this ridge in the making room.
Lobb is fastidious about avoiding any creases in the leather, which is why the bottom edge of the upper is pulled under the shoe and stapled evenly to the inner sole by hand.
The front of the upper is pushed and wrapped over the last until the correct toe shape is formed.
The edges are trimmed and formed by hand, ensuring a smooth joint between the sole and the heel.
A final polish of wax and a little water is applied in circular motions, with added emphasis on the toe and heel to create extra shine.