In The Beginning
For seven generations the Wildsmith family were purveyors of quality English footwear, serving not just the military and nobility, but also city gentlemen and fashionable society. Founded in 1847, by Matthew and Rebecca Wildsmith, they opened their first shop above a small coaching inn, off London’s Piccadilly, making and repairing boots for the Household Cavalry.
Quickly establishing a name for themselves, their reputation for excellence in fine footwear garnered them an elite, sophisticated clientele. Since these early beginnings, Wildsmith have made shoes for Kings, Princes and Presidents - notably King George Vl, Prince Charles and John F Kennedy - Lords and Generals, entertainment legends such as David Niven, Cary Grant and Adam Faith, and have enjoyed a loyal following from a wide range of discerning clients with the most exacting style, quality, fit and comfort requirements.
A Reputation for Quality
The high quality reputation of Wildsmith’s footwear was not derived solely from the materials and construction, but also extended to presentation. The company were renowned for their beautiful, gleaming window displays of meticulously polished shoes – a level of perfection and attention to detail acquired from time spent in National Service, with the repeated routine of spit and polish boot cleaning.
The Wildsmith Loafer
Raymond Lewis Wildsmith created the first ever slip-on loafer shoe in London, originally known as the 582. The style was derived from a bespoke pair of house shoes, designed originally for King George Vl to wear with his shooting hose, whilst inside the house. Later called the Model 98, it became known as the Wildsmith Loafer and was a widely popular casual style for outdoors, subsequently copied by many other leading shoemakers.
The Three S’s
The company moved to Duke Street in 1948, then again to Princes arcade in the late Sixties. It was around this time that the company gained a wider international reputation, as John Wildsmith travelled the world with a team of tailors and shirt makers, who eventually became known simply as The Three S’s – suits, shoes and shirts.
Continuing the Story
Manufactured in Northampton, the traditional home of prestige high quality shoe making, ‘Sixty-four stitches to the inch’ was a centuries old reference to the detailed and painstaking quality that went into the shoes made by Northampton cordwainers.
Wildsmith continue to work with the skilled craftsmen of Northamptonshire who have over 100 years of experience in making exceptional boots and shoes. Resolute in our mission to keep the integrity of this historic brand sound, the 5th generation of Wildsmith still sit on the company's board and are actively involved in the design of the shoes, always ensuring that the quality and attention to detail that has become synonymous with Wildsmith footwear throughout the world remains undiminished.
“You are either in your bed or in your shoes, so it pays to invest in both.”