SJC Reboots Historical Footwear
For the past 12 months SJC has been quietly delighting dedicated devotees and attracting new fans from far and wide with limited edition runs of hard to find, high-end, vintage inspired pieces. More than a brand, this is a movement made up of over 200 of the earth’s most discerning menswear collectors. Led by Simon James Cathcart we have moved forwards with the meticulous design and construction of otherwise unobtainable pieces.
An insatiable thirst for quality and precision with a deep rooted yearning for the rare and hard to find is what drives SJC pieces into production. Our hugely informed membership ensures that what gets made, is what should get made, and that what is made, is made supremely. In short, if SJC commits to making something, it is going to be way north of ‘good’ and you can bet your bottom dollar the details – all of them - will be slap bang right on the money. This is how we roll:
Our guys simply do not and cannot settle for less. Now, the first collection is about to be released, from the ground up. Starting with footwear. We have spent the past year piecing together, researching and testing the most popular and enduring footwear classics of the 20th century. To meet our historical demands and to deliver this range SJC has combined forces with a factory that has been operating for 130 years in Northamptonshire.
1.The Co-respondent Spectator Shoe.
2. The Balmoral Boot.
3. And...the Engineer Boot
We began the arduous task of reconstructing patterns, digging out original period lasts and tools, researching machinery, establishing know-how, making the patterns, and sourcing trim
These are genuine lasts that have been kept and used for over 100 years, although many were tragically burnt to fire the boilers.
Some of the guys in the factory above have evidently found photography confusing and did not know where to look. But they sure as hell know how to make boots, and their skills are still in operation today in only a small handful of England's remaining boot factories.
The master craftsmen in Northampton are producing our boots and shoes with genuine historical accuracy. These are not period correct, they are period exact. What is more, they’re hitting Kickstarter at price points which can be considered vintage too.
As with every SJC venture the focus has been on quality; every piece should be honest and hardwearing. This range incorporates full-grain Spanish steer hide leather drawn from our stockroom.
For the uninitiated it may be worth mentioning at this point that British footwear at its best is renowned for the trusted Goodyear welt; famed for its 360 degree weatherproofing, and its ability to provide a lifetime’s supply of service from an easily renewable sole.
Okay, why are we here?
The reason for this Kickstarter is that producing footwear to this standard is an expensive business. Your pledge is going to help fund the production, materials and tooling costs involved with bringing back to life these historical classics. In return, you receive footwear at easily half of the retail price and will walk away wearing hand-crafted pieces of British footwear history. If it’s boots or shoes you are looking for, and if you appreciate what ‘hand made in England’ at a factory such as this one in Northampton entails, then congratulations, your search is over. You have found your way to exactly where you need to be today and are about to outlay minimum investment for maximum return; boots and shoes to savour for an age, from a brand determined to impress. Here is what's on offer:
The Balmoral Boot
Back at the start of the 20th century, when gentlemen of the time paraded on 5th Avenue NY and Bond Street, London, it was these very boots that would have adorned the best-kept feet.
Take a closer look and it is not hard to see why for so many these are considered the finest of men's footwear ever to have been made.
The boot was designed for Prince Albert as a walking boot that he could wear on the grouse moors of his Scottish estate "Balmoral" hence the name. He required a boot which would look suitably stylish both indoors and out, and so it had to be elegant but also hard wearing. The boots were of course originally constructed in Northampton, the capital of British shoe-making, and home to some of the finest shoemakers the world has ever seen. Thus this 21st century re-boot from SJC marks a return to all that is magnificent about boot making.
These Balmorals represent a modern day manifestation of genuine historical accuracy, stuffed full of integrity and period-correct features. As elegant and understated as these boots evidently are it must be reiterated that they were originally designed to serve as both dress and workwear; so rest assured they’ll hold up well and look fantastic worn as either. The SJC Balmoral Boot is all that a Balmoral needs to be with every period correct detail executed expertly in order that proper homage to these elegant Edwardian classics be paid in full.
Order in UK 6-12 for men and women, available in Ox-blood, Black and two-tone sand suede with tan high shine calfskin.
Two-Tone Sand Suede and Tan.
A full calfskin lining including the tongue for comfort.
Made from luxurious high shine Spanish leather, the boots will appear sleek and narrow yet are deceptively wide and can fit up to a UK G or US EE width.
These shining examples of English heritage boast period correct golosh vamps, brogued metatarsal straps and toe caps, 8” legs, and are sewn together with a refined 16 stitches per inch instead of the usual 8.
All Balmorals will come with small shoe eyelets rather than the blind eyelets seen here.
These are $750 high-end timeless pieces of British footwear history, hand-crafted in England by master craftsmen, offered here for £195. Order with a vulcanised rubber sole or a full leather sole with rubber quarter heel tip.
The SJC Balmoral Boots Feature • Full grain 2.5mm Spanish Steerhide leather • Soft full calfskin linings • golosh vamps • Brogued metatarsal straps and brogued toe caps • 8” legs • Hand-corked footbeds • 360 degree Goodyear welted soles • A choice of vulcanized rubber sole or full leather with rubber ¼ heel tip • Sewn with 16 stitches per inch • Made in Northampton, England, using the original tools, patterns and machinery • Available in Black, Oxblood, and Sand suede with Tan • UK sizes 6 -12 .
Place your Order in a Full or Half Size.
SJC ENGINEER BOOT
The most enduring classic of the 20th century. A boot that has remained as covetable today as it was in the 1930s. Post WW2, the Engineer boot was favoured by returning US soldiers for biking, thanks in large part to its British style riding leg which helped to prevent burns. Offered in three colours.
Post WW2 this boot assumed outlaw status and has for the past 75 years faithfully served bikers and rebels.
Built like a battleship made to withstand all storms, the SJC Engineer boot uses the thickest chrome tanned Spanish steer with a thick waxy finish, sewn with this beast.
The vamp is chain stitched together with an 8 gauge thread fed through a 100-year-old Puritan sewing machine that has been running in a boot factory in England for 130 years.
As you’d expect then, the details are definitive, the execution exemplary. Welted with the covetable goodyear welt, the boot has a 10” leg, solid brass roller buckles, and a 1.75” square heel - just as the first models in the 30's had.
They come as standard with vulcanised rubber soles for a longer life and will fit a normal to wide foot, UK G and US EE, and are available to order in Acorn, Oxblood, and Black, UK sizes 6 -12. Note: all welts will be natural and not waxed as seen here.
It is no exaggeration to report that in stores these would easily be expected to fetch upwards of $750. The cost here is £195
Features • Full grain 2.5mm Spanish Steerhide leather • Solid brass roller buckles • 1.75” tall square heel • Vamp has a calfskin lining - the leg is unlined • Vamp chain stitched with 8 gauge thread on a 100 year old Puritan sewing machine • 10” legs • 360 degree Goodyear welted soles • Vulcanized rubber sole • Hand-corked footbeds • Available in Acorn, Black, and Oxblood, • UK sizes 6 -12 wide fit.
Order in your regular Full or Half Size.
THE SJC CORESPONDENT SPECTATOR SHOE
The classic British Correspondent Spectator Shoe of the 1920’s and ‘30s was the precursor to the American saddle shoe of the 1940s. Hollywood stars of the era loved this one-piece shoe, understandably.
Precise recreations born of exacting expertise, these sporty shoes righteously recreate the refined British elegance that once upon a time would have been so commonplace with the young and fashionable.
Picture the scene: it’s 1928 and on a summer’s evening a gentle sea breeze wafts along Brighton Pier. Young men in cream flannel trousers, open-neck shirts and blazers stroll along the pier sporting exactly these shoes...
Handmade from the finest Italian cream canvas, which is treated with Scotchgard to prevent marks, and fitted with high shine calfskin leather by British master craftsmen in Northampton, they use the same time honoured techniques that have been used since these were created.
With a full calfskin lining and low profile single leather goodyear welted sole, these versatile classics will be perfect to wear with flannel trousers or a suit – as they would have been worn way back then.
BUT they’re equally at home under a pair of jeans or chinos.
The outer quarter has been cut low to clear the ankle and to give a desirable low sporty elegance.
Benchmade with integrity in England. These period-correct timeless shoes are a vehement vindication of the ‘golden’ in Golden Age’ and would easily command $600+ were they sold in stores. Here they are offered for £170.
Available in Acorn, Navy and Oxblood ranging from sizes UK 6 - 12 UK G or US EE width • Full grain high shine Spanish Steerhide leather • Soft full calfskin lining • 2.5mm Italian canvas treated with Scotchgard • Metatarsal straps • Hand-corked footbed • 360 degree Goodyear welt • Full leather soles with rubber ¼ heel tip • Benchmade in Northampton, England, using the original tools and machinery • Available in Acorn, Oxblood, and Navy •
Order in your usual full or half size.
Risks and challenges
There is always something that can go wrong. But having completed a year of research and over twenty samples, we now have all the parts and leather in good supply, and the factory is booked. We feel we are in a good place. In truth, there isn't a lot we are worried about. The only real unique challenge we may face is turn-around deadlines, should demand require, but we intend to dig up and jump-start another batch of Victorian boot-makers from the neighbouring Northampton cemeteries tp pitch in. Seriously, though, if this happens, at worst delivery for the boots may ship in June, as we have put the Spectators first in line since they are a summer shoe. So not a lot of worries really.
The point is these are really well-made, affordable pieces that will lift your wardrobe to another level. If you support this project with a pledge you help bring a small part of amazing footwear history back to life. Your pledge gives us the chance to reboot history and open the door for more extraordinary shoes like this to enter in the future.
For now, I want to thank my chums on www.sjcforum.com for their incredible help, Carl Sonny Leyland for his beautiful music, JM for cutting the clips and of course, the good people of Northampton.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)