When you hear the words ‘Northampton Shoes’, it instantly makes you think of handmade, high-quality, world-class shoes. Northampton town has often been referred to as the spiritual home of shoes, and it’s clear to see why with its rich history of the world-renowned boot and shoe industry at its doorstep.
Whether it be a pair of meticulously detailed brogues, an immaculately finished pair of Oxford dress shoes and now, the finest handmade sneakers, if you want the best in handmade footwear, then you first look to Northampton.
History. In the making.
Originally formed in 1908 as Earnest Woodford & Sons, Crown Northampton continues its historical traditions by combining tried and tested handmade methods of craftsmanship with the world’s very best materials. The result; the highest quality footwear that will forever be linked with the centuries-old Northampton shoe trade.
Today, Crown Northampton proudly remains in fifth-generation family ownership, under the direction of Managing Director Chris Woodford, the great, great-grandson of Earnest. Since taking the helm at the family business, Chris has forged strong wholesale distribution links with top stores and boutiques in Japan. This exposure to one of the most important, leading fashion and footwear markets in the world has helped influence the core DNA of the Crown Northampton brand and aid its evolution.
Crown Northampton design is timeless, with a progressive mindset - All collections retain traditional British construction methods and finishing. Using only the finest locally-sourced materials, all footwear is handmade to order in our Northampton, England factory ensuring all processes from design to production remain in-house and entirely under our control. Crucially, when you deal with Crown Northampton, you are always dealing directly with the manufacturer.
With timeless, enduring style at the forefront, it’s Crown Northampton’s firm belief that the best things from our past should help us step into the future.
It has taken over 100 years to get to this point for Crown Northampton. I am sure my great grandfather Earnest, would be very proud that his hand-making skills have been passed so far down the Woodford generations. Of course, I've personally needed some additional training in order to design and pattern-cut the more 'modern day' sneaker and stitchdown styles, but after 25 years of learning, I am proud to continue the Woodford family shoemaking tradition and I am happy to showcase every single detail across our varied ranges.
I am doing my very best to honour and uphold his beliefs in combining the finest materials with hard earned, finest craftmanship that enables us to create the very best shoes and sneakers under the Crown Northampton brand.
We also have much to be thankful for with almost 900 years of shoe making heritage in Northampton, Northamptonshire. The joint knowledge of the local model makers, knife makers, leather merchants and component suppliers really have put us where we are today. Without this heritage, we would not have the experience and skilled staff needed in this uniquely traditional industry - some of which are continuing their trades as 3rd generation shoemakers under their own family names.
It truly is a privilege to be amongst the few remaining artisans left in our beautifully quirky cobblers town, and definitely a privilege to craft individual, made to order footwear that we are so proud of.
Managing Director & Master Shoe Maker,
Archive image of Earnest Woodford and Annie Woodford, outside the original E.Woodford & Son shop - 45 Coldharbour Lane, South London
Andrew Woodford and Chris Woodford on the Crown Northampton factory floor