Upper

Loake Tweed - a classic Oxford shoe

Loake Tweed – a classic Oxford shoe

Loake Otterburn - a Classic English brogue

Loake Otterburn – a Classic English brogue

Loake Stamford

Loake Stamford

Let’s start at the front – the shoe may have a toe cap (as does the Loake Tweed shoe here on the top left). In some shoes – like the Otterburn brogue shown here – the toecap is extended and made curvy to form a set of “wingtips“. This is common in brogues. The next section, covering the instep, is the vamp and it is generally the largest section (by area) of the shoe. In the Tweed Oxford shoe shown on the left, the vamp stops before handing over to the quarters – which are split to take the laces. In the  Stamford Derby on the right, the vamp continues all the way up the instep to form the tongue, and the quarters wrap over it to form the looser, more stretchy, lacing-up section of the Derby shoe.. The Derby shoe may or may not have a toe-cap by the way. This Stamford doesn’t.

This is a shoe that has been "closed" (sewn together) and is having a few days in a sauna (!) in order to make it ready for the lasting process, when it is stretched over the last and made to conform to the shape of the last.

This is a shoe that has been “closed” (sewn together) and is having a few days in a sauna (!) in order to make it ready for the lasting process, when it is stretched over the last and made to conform to the shape of the last.

Talking of which … the Oxford has a separate tongue, underneath the vamp. In the Derby, as above – the tongue is simply the top end of the vamp. Finally, the shoe may or may not have a heel counter . In some, the quarters simply get stitched together at the back to form the heel. There is a a rather amusing image on the left of a black, semi-brogue Loake shoe just after it has been “closed” or sewn together, sans sole and welt. It might suit Mickey Mouse or a clown, but is clearly not suitable for you or me just yet!

Before moving inside – most uppers are now made of chrome-tanned leather, which is suppler and nicer to the touch than its veggie counterpart.