London’s James Purdey & Sons, the “King of Gunmakers” is a company best known for beautifully hand-engraved shotguns and gentlemanly hunting attire. This autumn though, the brand turned out an astonishingly handsome collection of footwear that rivals anything see anywhere, hunting-centric or otherwise. The entirety of the footwear collection is made in Northampton, England by an endeared and respected maker (we’ll let you take a guess who that is, should be obvious from the shapes seen here). This collection of upland-focused shoes and boots is especially great because Purdey put its touch on these otherwise classic styles. If you figured out who the manufacturer is, then you know how conservative they can be with the materials and shapes. That was the first thing we though of upon our initial encounter with these boots in London. We knew the make and appreciate the style. Not to mention the fact that both Purdey and said shoemaker weren’t going out of their way to herald this as the new new collaboration du jour — it was a discovery made the old fashioned way, with a visit to Audley House.
While in the store in London, we heard that there’s a strong push for Purdey to make as much of its collection in the U.K. as possible. This is a shift from several years ago when things started to get sent offshore. It’s worth pointing out that the guns have never been made anywhere other than England. Interesting to see the resurgence of the made in Britain from brands of different stripes, which is happening everywhere from Albam to E. Tautz. The made in the U.K. movement feels a lot like what has been happening in America over the past few years. Part of this shift rests with the brands that seek to manufacture domestically, and part of it is thanks to consumers, who much like many of you, are increasingly educated about quality, materials and are interested in supporting traditionally manufactured goods. That’s pretty easy when said goods are as fine as this footwear from Purdey. —MW