Believe it or not, sneakers date back to the late 1800s. The first recorded sneaker is the humble plimsoll dating back to 1870. Since then, we’ve seen all manner of sneakers coming in and out of fashion. From the humble and ubiquitous Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars to the chunky Balenciaga Triple S that have been adopted by the Instagram influencer set, there’s been a huge variety over the years.
In 2019, one of the biggest style directions we see in the footwear industry is minimalism. The category has actually been around for about the past ten years and has merged into Luxury Sneakers, but, as with everything, it’s taken some time to become mainstream. Now that they’re here, it seems that minimalist sneakers have a firm spot in the footwear market.
The minimalist style means a clean silhouette and uncluttered design. It transcends Instagram fads and quick trends. Minimalist sneakers are incredibly versatile. Age is irrelevant, they’ll look good no matter how old you are, and they can be worn in almost any situation, with some even wearing them with tailoring. It’s easy to see why this trimmed down, modern and more mature version of the classic sneaker shoe has risen in popularity over the years.
Minimal Sneakers at Crown Northampton
Whilst, yes, this can be called a category or trend, a minimal approach is simply what we do here at Crown Northampton across all of our collections. With the DNA originating from our purposefully clean Jazz Collection, a sleek, simple and smart look is the end goal for each of our designs. We can’t say we’re the originators of the style - we certainly didn’t invent minimalism - but we can say that we do it to the very highest standards and craftsmanship.
For decades, people have been wearing sneakers for aesthetic reasons as well as practical ones. We’re not all wearing sneakers as a sensible shoe to play sports in anymore, we’re wearing them as a focal point of an outfit. With this comes a shift in what people expect from their sneakers. Paying upwards of £200 is commonplace for a pair of sneakers and people are looking for quality rather than a fast fashion shoe replicating a short-lived trend. So how do we achieve this level of quality at Crown Northampton?
We exclusively use world class materials to make our sneakers. Based in Northampton, the home of the boot and shoe industry, we have access to the best leather merchants in the UK. Because of where we’re based, in amongst some of the very best shoe factories in the world, it makes perfect sense for us to follow suit and use the same quality materials for our product. We use what is considered to be some of the best leather in the world from top tier tanneries such as the Horween Leather Company in Chicago, USA and premium kudu and calf leathers from Charles F Stead in Leeds, UK. The full grain calf leather we use for our sneakers is soft yet durable and moulds to the wearers foot. Full grain calf leather is extremely good quality and rarely used by other sneaker brands, yet this is our entry level material with even higher grade leathers coming in with our Kudu and Horween Chromexcel Collections. Our commitment at Crown Northampton is to always offer the highest leathers available in the minimal sneakers category. They are sourced from some of the most reputable tanneries across the land, and these world class leathers are far superior in comparison to what you’re likely to find on the high street.
As we mentioned before, the minimalist style is simply what we do. We don’t rush through our designs and the concepts and fits must be perfectly sampled before production. We’ve worked hard with stockists and customers in research and development to find out exactly what’s needed and wanted. Each shoe is hand designed and patterns are cut using traditional methods by Chris Woodford, the current generation of the Woodford family in charge.
In comparison to other Northampton footwear brands that generally produce Goodyear Welted dress shoes and boots, Crown Northampton product has a more casual and classic direction across our best-selling Sneaker, Stitchdown and Jazz Collections. However, as a fifth generation family owned company that started in 1908, we always like to pay respect to our history and that of Northampton. All of our sneakers are named after a local area of the town, then a classic dress shoe construction - The Overstone Derby, The Upton Wholecut, The Abington Toe Cap and so on.
Master Craftsmanship - Made To Order
Our sneakers are fully constructed in the UK by our skilled team using traditional, thorough methods and all made on lasts from world renowned last makers, Springline in Northampton. Crucially, Crown Northampton shoes are handmade by people, not on automated machines.
Trim Line Collection
The idea behind the Trim Line Collection is to take the minimalist look one step further. These sneakers are slimmed down and have no unnecessary bulk. We’ve removed eyelets and given the shoes a very subtle text only logo on the tongue. Also they feature an unbagged construction to make them lightweight and perfect for warmer weather wear, without socks if preferred. We only use kudu suedes and leathers in this collection which is a luxurious and soft leather that’s also durable and long-lasting too, meaning they’re sturdy enough to take a good beating through the colder months. They also feature a soft leather insole, so although these shoes are minimal, comfort hasn’t been compromised.
Across both our Overstone and Upton TL styles, we’ve removed any unnecessary detailing to keep them as clean as possible. Both the Overstone and Upton are made on the same last and so they are ultimately the same shape. The main difference between the two is the upper construction with Overstone and Derby featuring open faced lacing and the Upton a Wholecut with one piece upper. They’re also both finished with waxed cotton laces and full natural leather lining - a little something extra to add to a further touch of luxury.
Interested in our sneakers? Browse our collections and select your own Made To Order pair here.