History - In the making
Originally formed in 1908 as Earnest Woodford & Son, Crown Northampton is now the flagship brand for the Woodford family business. 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.
Fifth generation Woodford
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 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.
Made in England. From start to finish. Always.
Crown Northampton believes that ‘Made In England’ should mean ‘Made In England’ from start to finish. We are fully committed to making all of our sneakers, shoes and boots here in England, with no outsourcing of labour or manufacturing to overseas factories. This strict code of practice ensures that we have full control of our products from the early design stages to the final quality checks and finishing. We are proud to be one of the few remaining boot and shoe factories that manufacture 100% of products in England and have done since 1908. We only employ skilled shoemakers and passionate apprentices who can be taught the local tried and tested ways of working.
Every Order - Made To Order
As a company and brand, we stand by our mantra: ‘Every Order - Made To Order.’
Let us explain our viewpoint as a company and our reasoning for not offering flash discounts, or for that matter, never going into sale throughout the year. As all of our product is fully Made To Order, and our business model and brand mantra is ‘Every Order, Made To Order’ - By definition, this ensures there are no build-ups of old-season stock sitting on stockroom shelves that need to be sold. This business model, therefore, eliminates the need for mass clear-outs during holiday sale periods or at the end of each season. Add to that the sustainability aspects of only making an order when we actually receive an order through our website, and our business model also helps somewhat on a broader scale - albeit inadvertently, if we’re honest. We offer year-round core classics made with premium materials that we see as timeless and not based on changes to the marketplace or passing trends. Our chosen path is organic growth and customer loyalty.
World-class materials sourced from local leather merchants
We exclusively use some of the world’s best materials to make our sneakers, shoes and boots. With no exceptions to this rule, our ongoing mission statement is to deliver an end product using the correct materials at the correct price point that we can firmly stand behind on all levels and, importantly, at a fair and honest price to our customers. This is achieved through continuous sourcing, backed up by thorough trialling and research into current and new materials.
Our location in Northampton gives us access to the leading leather merchants in the UK. We are situated among some of the most elite shoe factories in the world; therefore, it makes perfect sense for us to follow suit and use the same quality materials throughout our collections. This means the highest quality European box calf leather, Chromexcel, Buffalo and Shell Cordovan leathers sourced from top tier tanneries such as the Horween Leather Company in Chicago, USA, and premium Janus calf suedes from Charles F Stead in Leeds, UK. Our longstanding local contacts ensure our quality levels always adhere to the high standards set by the Northampton footwear trade.
The Crown Northampton Name
Using the name 'Crown' itself is also something that cannot be taken for granted. Due to the royal roots of the word and the power it still commands in England today, it was necessary to contact the official offices at Buckingham Palace to gain the relevant clearance and rights for us to include it as part of our overall brand. Using the words 'Crown' and 'Northampton' with all of the relevant legal permissions alongside our town and county's coat of arms and rose is an honour. It ensures that as a company, we will always be firmly and fully committed to producing all Crown Northampton Footwear in England to the highest possible standards set before us, which still remain today.
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.
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.
A message from our founder
"It has taken over 100 years to reach 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 craftsmanship 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 collective 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 cobbler's town, and definitely, a privilege to craft individual, made-to-order footwear that we are so proud of."
Managing Director & Master Shoe Maker,