Introducing the Cheaney X Walsh Collaboration; two wholly British footwear manufacturers coming together to create a stylish trainer with substance.
Norman Walsh Footwear continues to be Britain’s only owned, designed and manufactured sports footwear brand. Completely handmade in Bolton, England, Norman Walsh himself started his career at JW Foster in 1945 at the age of 14. Mr Foster was the grandfather of Joe and Jeff Foster, who founded Reebok. After a successful career with JW Foster Brothers, he founded his own eponymous brand, manufacturing specialist, performance sport shoes throughout the 70s and 80s, carefully refining and authentically crafting athletic footwear that would end up on the feet of some of the most revered sports professionals of their time.
With an ever-growing demand for British-crafted products, Walsh released some of Norman’s most popular styles in 2012, including the Ensign, which our own unisex Walsh X Cheaney 1948 trainer is based on. Using our own stock materials in both rich brown pull up leather and ginger pull up leather, the dual-branded, English manufactured trainers have the industry’s highest production values, the technology of prestige sports performance footwear and the finest raw materials.
This blend of Cheaney supplied leather, Walsh suede and a dual-branded sock and label, completed with our collaborative Union Jack tag results in footwear that is technically steeped in heritage and constructed from premium materials. The Ensign Marathon running shoe, on which the 1948 trainer is based, has a ‘less is more’ ideology, with lasting durability, comfort and stability through the Vibram outsole and a thick extra wedge in the midsole for a cushioned heel strike. The 1948 is constructed on one of Walsh’s most popular lasts, the Lostock and is the first Unisex footwear Cheaney has ever had as part of it’s collaborative collections.
Cheaney’s own premium oily leather offers character, as the colour migrates with wear, giving its namesake, Pull Up leather. Available in three earth tones with contrasting materials, the Cheaney X Walsh collaboration is the combined design and manufacturing skills of two factories steeped in history, heritage and expertise.
The Walsh Process
Closing is where all the individually cut material sections of the design are pieced together. Each shoe is the ‘Back Moulded’ to create the shape of the heel. This involves a heating and cooling process, to mould the originally flat product in to the desired shape. The partially shaped footwear is then ‘Lasted’ around a Footwear Last to allow for the shoe ton be built upon. Using an in-sole, the front of the material is again mouled around the last, creating the shape of the front toe. Using a ‘Seat and Side,’ the reamining unmder material is secured to the in-sole. The material is then prepped ready for the outer sole to be bonded. With Walsh’s Sole Compress, they attach each individual sole by hand and use the compress to securely bond them together. The resulting product is then passed on to the ‘End of line’. Here, each footwear piece is checked over and prepared to be packaged.
Photography by Leonie Holland