Sanders & Sanders: Over 150 Years of the Quintessentially English Classic

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With heritage fashion increasingly dominated by Japanese and American brands, it’s encouraging to see English names maintaining a secure footing in their space. Similar to other household names from England like Baracuta and G.H. Bass, bootmakers Sanders & Sanders trace their roots to the turn of the 20th century, but their attention to detail, fine craftsmanship, and history as a company sets them apart from these bigger brands.

Sanders & Sanders, which is still owned by the founder’s family five generations on, first came to fame producing army boots for soldiers during the first World War. The Northampton based factory was sending out around 6,000 pairs of boots a week at the height of the war, with their calvary and desert styles shipping across the world. Though built for function, the design and craftmanship behind each pair became incredibly popular with British soldiers, so although the war ended in 1918, the demand for Sanders shoes didn’t. Immediately after the war, the factory was still producing boots at the same quantity as they were during the conflict.

As the company grew, they introduced various new models and refined their production process, including the construction of a ‘model factory’ where shoes were made from start to finish under one roof. This was a first of its kind for the time, and their boots are still made there to this day.

So what makes Sanders so good?

Since the beginning, the brand was known for their high-quality leathers and sturdy construction. Early on in Sanders’ history, they adopted the Goodyear welt, a process of stitching a piece of material around the bottom of the shoe which acts as an attach point for the outsole. By putting this extra effort and expense into the construction process, the sole becomes sturdier, and means the boot can theoretically be re-resoled indefinitely. This Goodyear welt is still included on all of their slimmer soled offerings.

Sanders also excels in using design to separate themselves from other boots on the market. Their chunky, rubber soles are instantly recognisable and create a fantastically understated look. Though not Goodyear welted like the slimmer soled boots, these chunkier shoes are incredibly popular, and have been worn by celebrities known for their timeless style, like Steve McQueen and Daniel Craig.

Let’s break down some of the Sanders’ shoes that we offer...

Sanders Japan Collection Brit Chukka

Possibly the most iconic of all the Sanders designs, the Chukka boot has been a hallmark of the company since it was founded. The boot comes in a huge variety of colours, and is most often made of suede, a decision that softens the feel and makes it less strictly dressy and much more versatile for everyday wear. The thick rubber sole with a sloped heel ensures comfort, and hidden metal eyelets and waxed laces adds a degree of durability. Unlike the classic Brit Chukka, the Japan Collection version has a squarer toe, which adds a unique touch to an all-time great design.

Sanders Monkey Shoe

As a comparatively new design, the Monkey Shoe takes the brands experience with smart shoes and applies it to a more casual silhouette. Drawing influence from low-top sneaker, the Monkey Shoe takes Sanders iconic rubber sole and uses it to create a sporty variant of a classic. Constructed of the same high-quality suede as the other styles, this is a great choice for something sturdy and easy to wear.

Sanders Japan Collection Brit Shoe

Similarly to the Brit Chukka, the Japan Collection Brit Shoe is made of high quality suede, and features hidden metal eyelets, waxed laces, and a squared off toe. The shoes differ in their profile and rarity though, with the Brit Shoe sitting just below the ankle and being much harder to come across than the Chukka. The design takes inspiration from the 1960’s run of Sanders, which would’ve been the ones favoured by Steve McQueen.