Loake is one of the most prominent brands in the sphere of fine men’s footwear, offering good quality and durability along with a rich and storied tradition that dates back to the late 1800’s.
Headquartered in Kettering, Northamptonshire, Loake has produced north of 50 million pairs of handmade shoes with a British but modern look since the company’s inception, a staggering accomplishment by virtually any metric.
The fact that Loake has been able to achieve such a great output is a testament to their commitment to consistency, craftsmanship and precision in their production methods.
This Loake shoes review will focus on five of the company’s most popular models.
The Loake 200 Oxford is a traditional lace-up oxford with a capped toe and polished leather uppers. The shoe features a closed front (i.e., the eyelet facings are located on the underside of the vamp), lending a tidy, minimalist look that is as elegant as it is efficient.
The high-shine black polished leather of the 200 accentuates the clean lines of this shoe, making it a very capable complement to any formal ensemble.
And since the 200 is manufactured using the time-honored Goodyear welting process, you won’t have to worry about any issues with the quality of construction. Read my full review of Loake Oxfords.
2. Loake Drake
The Loake Drake is a keenly traditional derby-style shoe that is perfectly suited to formal occasions, but it can accommodate a casual ensemble with equal facility.
The fashion-conscious among us will no doubt be aware of the burgeoning trend regarding the derby, and how this classic standby has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts as a highly sought-after crossover shoe.
I personally think that the simplicity of design of the derby is a key factor in its ability to mesh well with a wide range of clothing styles, and the Drake definitely fits the bill in this regard.
With an open lacing system (i.e., the eyelet facings are on the top of the vamp), clean lines and a no-frills design that is free from embellishments, the Drake offers an understated yet highly stylish look, along with the unparalleled quality that is the hallmark of the Loake brand. Read my full review of Loake Drake.
The Loake Woodstock is a stunning two-tone lace-up oxford comprised of a combination of grain calf and polished leathers.
This shoe features elegant brogue punching on the toe cap and heel cap, with an overall eye-catching design that exudes style and flair.
With all-leather lining and cushioned leather insoles, the Woodstock offers exceptional comfort and support, and it is available in burgundy, tan and black colours to provide you with plenty of potential wardrobe choices.
As a classic spectator shoe, the Woodstock is an excellent choice for a variety of semi-formal occasions, such as outdoor weddings, garden parties or even a weekend at the Ascot Racecourse. Read my full review of Loake Woodstock.
The Loake Chester is a stylish yet rugged country brogue that features hand-burnished calf leather uppers along with full leather linings and insoles.
The meticulous attention to detail for which Loake is famous is on full display with this shoe, as it features exquisite brogue punching on the toe cap and along the seams as well.
True to Loake’s benchmade cobbling techniques, the Chester is as durable as it is attractive, being constructed with a double-leather sole using the renowned Goodyear welting method.
If you’ve been searching for a brogue that looks just as good with jeans as with a suit, you really can’t go wrong with the Loake Chester. Read my full review of Loake Chester.
The Loake Fearnley is a gorgeous lace-up brogue with burnished calf leather uppers and a Goodyear welted leather sole.
Not only does the Fearnley offer phenomenal style and comfort, but it is durable enough to provide excellent shape retention as well.
The edges and toe cap of this shoe are adorned with finely executed brogue punching, lending an air of rugged sophistication that make it a ready companion to both formal and casual ensembles. Read my full review of Loake Fearnley.
The Loake Brand
The Loake brand is exceptional for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its rich history, which is rooted in a solid tradition of fine English shoemaking.
Founded in 1880 by brothers John, Thomas and William, the Loake name has stood the test of time due to their unwavering commitment to using only the highest quality materials and time-tested handmade construction methods for their shoes.
Their near-obsessive attention to detail and superior craftsmanship can be seen in every pair of shoes they produce – in fact, just one pair of Goodyear welted Loake shoes requires the involvement of over 130 skilled craftsmen, 75 different shoe parts and more than 200 different operations!
From cutting, stitching and lasting to edge trimming, sole staining and hand burnishing, every step of this intricate process is executed with the utmost emphasis on accuracy, efficiency and quality control.
Needless to say, the company’s unwavering focus on quality and excellence has not gone unnoticed over the years; in 2007, Loake Bros. Ltd received the distinct privilege of being granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment to HM the Queen, further solidifying their reputation as one of the most distinguished shoemakers in the world.
This review mainly focused on Loake’s semi-formal and formal dress shoes, but it should be noted that the company offers an impressive array of men’s footwear ranging from brogues and boots to loafers and moccasins, and everything in between.
Although the styles offered by Loake are strikingly diverse, one thing that remains consistent is the company’s top-notch materials and production methods, which continue to set them apart in the marketplace.
The Loake brothers first opened their Kettering factory in 1894 on Wood Street, which is where it can still be found today. This storied building is a thriving hub of activity that has endured two World Wars, and it has witnessed some of the most dramatic technological and societal changes in the whole of human history.
While much has changed since the late 19th century, the Loake legacy has continued down through the generations. As Andrew Loake, the family member currently at the helm of the company, once eloquently stated, “In an age where we tend to throw many things away, there is still a place for timeless classics and enduring quality.”
Without a doubt, Loake demonstrates this philosophy in every facet of their operations, and it definitely shines through in the shoes they produce.