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Origins of... The Derby

It is impossible to determine at what period in time man first thought of shielding his feet from the perils of climate and condition. However, throughout the years several basic footwear styles have firmly stood the test of time. Over the next few months, Crockett & Jones will take you through the origins of these shoe styles…

Origins of... The Derby

The humble Derby, also known as a Blucher, Gibson or Lorne, is a style that is mentioned as far back as the late 1800’s. Having survived nearly two centuries of fashion and footwear development, we felt it necessary to explore the beginnings of such a staple style.

The Derby is possibly the most versatile of all shoe styles, bridging the gap between smart and smart casual wear with ease, whilst also lending itself to numerous different variations of styles. For the more technical, a Derby is a boot or shoe with the eyelet tabs stitched on top of the vamp.

During the Napoleonic wars, fashion generally assumed an air of militarian inspiration. Boots or Derby boots, which had only been worn by soldiers for half a century or more, once again came into fashionable prominence. Although there are many theories as to why the Derby style was developed, we can be sure that one of the first articles the Derby style received was in 1872, by St Crispin's, which noted;

The Derby or new tie shoe. Better than the Oxonian as the seam is not near the tender part of the foot. Especially good in Summer, allows the foot to swell.

This is clearly referring to the generous fitting qualities of a Derby, which still appeals to Crockett & Jones customers old and new.

Although we have found mentions of Crockett & Jones Derby's dating back over a century, a favourite was pictured in St Crispin’s, (Saint Crispin is the patron saint of cobblers, tanners and leather workers!) describing the style as a ‘light brown suede, monk tie (the contemporary description) by Crockett & Jones, Northampton. Round toe, 1-inch stacked heel, two pairs of eyelets' adding that this particular Derby was ‘rather daring fashion’.

Past the ‘daring fashion’ status, Crockett & Jones have gone on to produce an array of classic Derby styles in a number of high quality leathers that have adorned the wardrobes of customers for year upon year.

The Articles. Delve into the authentic world of Crockett & Jones.

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