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Another fantastic classic English brand, Barker Shoes have been an English tradition for over 135 years. Established by Arthur Barker in 1880 in the Northamptonshire village of Earls Barton (also famous for the Original Dr Martin’s White & Co factory that can be seen in the famous “Kinky Boots” film).
All shoes and boots are handmade by using only the most carefully selected leathers. Traditional construction methods such as shaping the uppers on the last and slow natural drying of all leathers ensure all Barker shoes have a unique quality that cannot be matched by mass-produced machine-made footwear.
Arthur Barker was a skilled craftsman and natural innovator, whose waterproof peg-sole boots were highly sought after (the pegs swell when wet and make the sole waterproof).
In 1947, another new factory was built in Earls Barton to house the women’s shoe production. In 1987 Barker expanded again into one of the finest footwear factories in Europe built with traditional local bricks and stones only a stone throw from the original 1880 site where it all started.
Barker shoes have achieved an amazing feat of combing the best of classic with contemporary styling. From smart jeans (remember that you must turn your jeans up at the bottoms to stop the blue dye seeping out of your denim into your shoes and ruining them) and casual jackets to modern cut suits and colorful pants.
Go for the country look (tweed, wool or corduroy) or be confident and colorful, the choice is yours but Barker shoes will always take your style up a notch or two.
Here’s our rundown of what we consider to be the 6 most popular classic Barker shoes and boots.
A modern take on a classic full brogue with suede or lasered paisley pattern inserts. The McClean is a firm favorite among the legions of Barker fans and for ‘Grooms to be’. Paisley Laser options can also be featured creating a unique patterned sole, giving that extra special something. This classic Oxford Brogue has a Goodyear Welted construction, is hand-painted and features hand-stitched detailing on calf leather.
Another classic brogue this time cut from high-quality unfinished crust leather, the collection of Valiant hand-painted styles are individually painted with natural dyes to achieve a rich and deep patina. The result means each pair of Valiant toned shoes are unique in its shade and finish. Goodyear Welted construction with full leather insole and lining. These shoes are unbelievably popular with horse racing spectators.
The Calf leather Hopper is a traditional Chelsea boot with contrast elastic gussets adding a stylish flash of color to your outfit. Goodyear Welted construction and a full leather insole and lining with hand-stitched detailing make this one of the smartest boots available and goes fantastic with jeans or modern cut suits.
The Westfield is a traditional full Brogue crafted on the no. 29 last with a refined toe design and wide punched detail throughout. Benefiting from a durable Goodyear Storm Welted construction with a double leather sole, it’s sure to stand the test of time. Heritage is woven into Westfield – it’s been in the current catalog for over 10 years and the 29 last shape it’s made on has been used for over 30 years. Made from Calf leather with a burnished finish and featuring hand-stitched detailing. You can’t get a much more classic traditional brogue than this.
If you’re looking to add a stylish brogue boot to your collection of handmade English footwear then this is the boot for you. The Calder is a rugged wing-cap boot available in four-grain leather color options with a Dainite rubber sole. Perfect for country pursuits or an alternative aesthetic for smarter attire. Featuring a Goodyear Welted construction and a full leather insole and lining. Hand-stitched detailing on Calf leather highlight the premium quality of this boot.
Last but not least we have one of the most colorful English handmade shoes available. The Valiant Multi-Color shouts out flare, creativity, and confidence. This version of the hugely popular Valiant range is cut from high-quality unfinished crust leather. Each pair is individually hand-painted with the best natural dyes available to a rich and deep patina. The result means each pair is unique in its shade and finish. Premium Goodyear Welted construction with a full leather insole and lining. This is the ultimate modern Oxford Brogue and goes fantastically with jeans, modern casual suits, and colorful pants.
Pros & Cons of the Barker range
- Classic Oxford Brogue styles in shoes and boots
- Modern colorful color options
- Caters for those wanting the ultimate combination of quality craftsmanship and striking looks.
- Fantastic repair-ability
- Made to last a lifetime
- 100% made in England
- Fantastic pricing
- A fuller wardrobe may be needed to match with some styles
A fantastic brand that both encapsulates the best in classic English handmade footwear and modern contemporary colors for those that really like to make a statement with their shoes. Top-quality craftsmanship and a historic pedigree continue to put Barker’s footwear at the core of many shoe collections and always make a fantastic addition to any wardrobe.