Brand focus - Crockett & Jones
Brand focus - Crockett & Jones
Crockett & Jones have been making shoes in Northampton since 1879. They are one of my favourite makers - I’ve bought a lot of shoes from them over the years, and they hit the rare balance of quality and cost very well, keeping their new collections feeling contemporary without being gimmicky.
Ranges and lasts
Crockett & Jones fall into the middle of Goodyear welted shoe pricing, with a couple of core collections that run from about £400 - £700
Main collection - most shoes are about £450. The Main collection includes a lot of continuity options and is also seasonally updated. Uses the following lasts:
365 - true to size fit; broad, rounded toe. Well suited for boots
371 - true to size but snug fit; high walled, round toe. Well suited for derbies
375 - true to size fit; round toe with slimmed down, fitted back. Well suited for derbies
376 - true to size fit with secure heel; high walled, round toe. Well suited for unlined loafers
377 - true to size fit; slightly rounded toe and asymmetrical shape
378 - true to size fit; heavy and deep rounded toe, good for wide feet. Well suited for chunky, fashion forward styles
379 - true to size fit, though with a noticeably shorter toe; classic round toe shape. Well suited for formal oxfords
Handgrade collection - typically £650. Finer finishing and a more asymmetrical last shape provide a subtle but noticeable step up from the main collection. Uses the following lasts:
367 - slightly closer fit with a soft squared toe, with clipped heel. Well suited for oxfords
373 - slightly generous fit; elongated, sharp chisel toe. Close heel and narrow waist. Well suited for very dressy, elegant designs
140 - true to size fit; close fitting heel, rounded toe. Created for C&Js 140th anniversary, and currently only used on a few models
Shell cordovan collection - available at around £700. Crockett & Jones are probably the best and most reliable users of Shell cordovan in British shoemaking. They have a couple of models available in black, dark brown, whiskey and burgundy cordovan. Uses the following lasts (which are also Main collection lasts):
314 - high walled, round toe with a generous fit that's good for loafers
325 - medium round toe with extra depth. Well suited for derbies
341 - medium round toe. Balances length with roundness so good for casual and formal
Crocodile - available for about £4,500, if you’re feeling particularly flush, available in dark brown and black. Uses the following last (which is a also Handgrade collection last):
337 - soft squared toe; slightly longer toe than average
I’ve always found the quality control of Crockett & Jones to be very impressive - I’ve bought maybe 5 new pairs from them and owned about 15 additional second-hand pairs. Stitching has always been very consistent, and uppers clicking and finishing has tended to be very consistent.
It's likely that Crockett & Jones can provide such consistent quality control because the size of their factory and output gives them a lot of buying power on high grade leather hides.
Most iconic models
A couple of the most representative styles from Crockett & Jones catalogue:
A very straightforward shoe indeed - straight toecap, 5 eyelets - shapely but not ostentatious. This is the prototypical “office” shoe.
A classic wingtip brogue - I think it’s at its best when using whiskey shell cordovan, but a wide selection of uppers are available including this scotch grain below.
Probably C&Js most well-known boot - noticeably less tank-like and “stompy” than similarly styled country boots from Tricker’s, it’s actually more sleek than you might assume. The scotch country grain calf polishes up very well, while the storm welt and Dainite soles are well-suited for inclement weather.
New season models
As previously stated, one of C&Js strengths is how well they refresh the collection each season, often with some pretty bold new takes rather than just iterating on classic styles. They’ve just launched the Aldershot boot (below)
Which is a mixed material, storm welted boot with an ankle strap with Vibram soles. It won’t be for everyone, but I personally love it.
For those after something finer, the James is a limited edition Oxford made in collaboration with the latest James Bond film. At £850 it’s punchily priced, but it’s elevated by details like an all black lining, silver foiled logo and 007 embossed shoe trees. Some may see this as gimmicky, but again, it works for me.
Ease of purchase
Crockett & Jones have a comparatively large network with 6 London retail stores, 2 Birmingham stores, 3 Paris stores, 2 New York and one in Brussels. They also have a large network of 3rd party stockists.
Crockett & Jones frequently show up on eBay too - you can normally get new quality shoes for ½ - ⅔ of the RRP, so it’s well worth checking if you know your sizing.
The Crockett & Jones website is not directly transactable - last I heard a few months ago they were planning to update to a transactable site in the near future. They are still running a phone and mail order service, which is starting to feel a bit archaic by this point.
Branding and market position
For such a well-established company C&J feel very up-to-date in terms of their branding. Their website design, though not transactable, is admirably clean with very high quality photography that actually makes their shoes look appealing (far from a given when looking at shoe brands). They regularly work with contributors like Aleks Cvetkovic for editorial content.
As indicated by the sheer number of stores they have in London, C&J have held their market position well over the years. They haven’t the fall from grace that Church’s have seen, and they occupy a pretty ideal pricing vs. quality spot in the eyes of many City workers (although that market has obviously taken a decline with Covid pushing so many office workers into their homes).