Loake Refurb Service: Shoe Hospital for Brogues that are Flat-lining
The day arrives in every man’s life when he has to step up – and out of his skanky old trainers – when he realises that the joys of a youth misspent in sybaritic, selfish, often impoverished and nocturnal, quite possibly smelly state of extended adolescence, cannot go on forever.
As J.M. Croan puts it, “The point at which your world opens up and you realise you’re not the centre of it.”
This day, or close to, tends to be the time those skirting manhood invest in their first pair of Loakes: a statement of intent. Not altogether a setting aside of the trappings of youth – that would be going too far, some other wise soul said, ‘Maturity is a high price to pay for growing up,’ can’t remember who, but they’re right- more a dawning realisation stepping manfully into the world is a better option than slowly fading out of existence in the gloom of a flickering screen. However it does require the right footwear.
So time to buy a proper pair of ones and twos. Not some lurid hip hop kicks that will haunt you in later life and make you cry out in the wee small hours with deep unending shame.
Proper shoes. Loake brogues. Potentially the Chester, or the Edward. Proper shoes with proper names that will convey the correct impression that you are indeed a grown up and not some shambolic excuse for a human being.
God knows most of us need all the help we can get.
Loake shoes have been escorting men safely, comfortably and stylishly through life since 1880. Year after year of dog-like reliability, steadfastly there and waiting at the door, never out of fashion, always eager and – to stretch this analogy almost to breaking point – like a dog, a pair of beloved brogues looks good with pretty much anything; jeans, a suit, chinos, tweed – perhaps not shorts, but you get my drift.
So if you are one of the many, many men who’ve made the important, well-advised purchase of a pair of Loakes at some stage in your life you will completely relate to statements such as; I’ve had these old Loakes forever, or I love these old shoes, I wear them all the time, or even, these were my Dad’s.
Loakes brogues last forever. It’s no wonder people become so attached to them. A pair of Loake Chesters will see you through the good, and the not so good, times. These bad boys will last you longer than Bruce Forsyth’s career.
Still a life lived on the flappy, boney bit at the end of your leg is a hard one and even the most well-crafted stalwart of English shoemaking is eventually going to show a bit of wear and tear.
For a pair of Loake shoes belonging to the average British male, the catalogue of wounds will look something like this:
- Pub related staining associated with endless hours spent in close, sweaty proximity to other males in sports bonding/beer swilling-type activity.
- Welts, scratches and divots incurred by attending numerous Ceilidhs and smiling politely as an army of merciless women trample with less care than an invading army across your feet.
- A faint damp odor acquired after the unremittingly wet Lake District camping trip you went on with friends straight from work one weekend neglecting to pack any suitable footwear. Sca Fell anyone?
- 4. A certain mottled, lined appearance from lying at the bottom of a box, forgotten in the garage for three years after you got married, had kids and moved home. A bit like the Talking Heads song, How did I get here?
- 5. Salt damage from the time you had to wade fully clothed into the surf to rescue your youngest child from being swept across the Atlantic to Newfoundland – whose idea was it to holiday in Harris anyway? What’s wrong with going to France like everybody else?
- More welts, scratches and divots incurred by vigorously demonstrating you haven’t lost it by pogoing to the Jam’s ‘Going Underground’ at the office Christmas Party. Btw. you have lost it.
- Small indentations representing teeth marks belonging to the puppy you never wanted but seem to have, that has rapidly grown into the dog nobody wants to walk but still needs walked.
- Add to the list water damage from repeatedly walking ungrateful hound before work in torrential rain.
- An upward tilt to the toecap resembling the smiling upper lip on a comedy horse – see Mr. Ed – the inevitable result of years of loyal service.
- A dark patch believed to be Lagavulin but possibly Highland Park acquired during a lively and memorable race day. You’d be more sure of the whisky if you could remember whose hipflask you were swigging from. Perhaps not so memorable after all.
If even some of this sounds familiar no doubt you feel a little sad about the slow decline of your faithful rhythm and blues. Maybe you’ve shuffled them to the back of the wardrobe. You can’t quite face parting with them but maybe they’ve had their day. Well stop!
There is not only hope but cheap hope. What better kind of hope is there? For a meager £65, Loake will re-craft your shoes and return them to you looking as good as new.
I know – mad isn’t it? But I’ve seen it with my own eyes. You send these crafty shoe making devils your battered old brogues and they send back a new pair. Except it’s not a new pair. It’s the old pair. But new! Re-soled on the original last, with new heels that will make you dance like Fred Astaire – actually we can’t promise that – new seat socks and re-finished uppers.
Who knew that a bunch of shoemakers would be the first to successfully reverse the ageing process? It almost makes me want to go trawling through charity shops to find old Loakes to send off. Because now mine are back I’m just a little suspicious they’ve swapped them for a new pair. I know it makes no economic sense but still. So next time I’m going to mark them in some as yet undecided way and see if they really do send back the same shoes.
I’ll let you know how I get on, or, if you fire your Loakes off first, perhaps you can feedback?
For more information see: Loake Repairs.
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