A Name to Know: John Lobb

In your pursuit of the best, John Lobb is a footwear name to know

Few businesses have been around since the mid-1800s, and if they are still relevant today, they’ve inevitably evolved from where they began. John Lobb may be the exception, as the family-owned British cobblery is still making shoes to order, by hand, using the same lasts (wooden shoe forms) from a century ago. Its shoes are still highly sought, made for aristocrats, politicians, and celebrities, and priced to reflect the painstaking skill involved in creating such sturdy, wearable works of art.

shop heron preston on italistTraditional Footwear, Still Relevant?

However, few of us are wearing ‘dress shoes’ on a daily basis anymore. Obviously shoes have changed and the needs of wearers have changed since 1849 when John Lobb opened his workshop. Today, the middle of the bell curve represents a majority of consumers that are far more casual, wearing athletic-inspired footwear that our predecessors probably wouldn’t recognize. But tradition is alive and well at John Lobb.

John Lobb traditional English footwear

The brand is now split between two businesses—John Lobb Ltd., which is still owned and operated by the family, and makes solely bespoke footwear at their workshop in London. “John Lobb” more widely is a brand controlled and sold by the Hermès Group (since 1976), whose products maintain the quality and craftsmanship of the bespoke tradition, but are more accessible across the world, include modern innovation (with things like lightweight rubber soles), and relevant for today’s consumers.

John Lobb is Made to Last

All John Lobb offerings, be they traditional or contemporary, come with incomparable material quality and craftsmanship—precedents set way back when John Lobb the Bootmaker embarked on his shoe cobblery business, which would go on to supply the British Royal Family and be partly acquired by the most respected luxury group in existence (Hermès).

One way to understand the mastery of craft that is a John Lobb shoe is to survey the various independent cobblers and leather masters that populate YouTube, who often come into contact with pairs of John Lobb shoes that have been worn and loved, but due to their old-world construction, are able to be entirely reconstructed and rehabilitated. It’s quite the fascinating process to watch.

If you’re curious about leather work, shoe and handbag reconstruction or refurbishment, Trenton & Heath and Bedo’s Leatherworks are both great channels to follow.

John Lobb Today

Yes, though it is rooted in tradition, John Lobb Bootmaker has evolved. In addition to more conventional offerings like cap-toe lace-up Oxfords, double Monk-straps, and Penny Loafers, there are also modern classics like skate-inspired suede low-top sneakers and running-style sneakers.

contemporary John Lobb athletic sneaker styles

And for something that nods to past, present, and future, the low-top leather sneaker is also available in a monk-strap variation. The brand also now produces both men’s and women’s footwear (we only carry men’s), and appointed its first Creative Director in 2014.

We’re proud to carry the brand on italist, and do so at an excellent price advantage, often between 25% and 50% depending on the model.

shop heron preston on italist

Discover more Names to Know: Giovanni Bedin, Greg Lauren, and Iconic Footwear Shapes like the Maison Margiela Tabi.

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About the Author

Alex English is the Head of Content Marketing at italist.com, building on a lifelong passion for fashion and luxury. After publishing a lifestyle blog for nearly ten years and obtaining an MBA in Milan at SDA Bocconi, one of Europe’s top business schools, he joined the italist team in 2019. His work since then has focused on upper-funnel messaging, brand storytelling, establishing italist as a thought leader in the space, and enriching the customer experience on the platform. Find him on LinkedIn.