Putting your best foot forward
Charles Brooks has been helping the people of Sheffield for over three decades.
There’s no point stepping out onto the street in a sharp suit, only to finish it off with a cheap pair of shoes bulging at the sides and splitting at the seams. Charles Brooks Shoes on Fulwood Road, Sheffield, is a place that only agrees with this sentiment.
Very few items possess the same sartorial power that shoes do. Unlike, other accessories like cufflinks or a tie, a great pair completes an outfit, pulls the whole look together, and as such should take pride and place in every man’s wardrobe.
And it’s shoes – handsome, comfortable and durable men’s shoes – that are the ‘sole’ of Charles Brooks’ business, if you’ll excuse the pun.
An expert cobbler with over 50 years’ experience, Charles opened his first shop in 1972 after visiting his father at Darnall’s Coombes shoe repair factory as a youngster.
A well-heeled gentleman himself, he understands that great shoes are worth investing in, so only the finest handmade footwear occupies the shelves of his Fulwood Road store.
Loake, Barker and Tricker’s are among this select group of specialist designers, all of which are committed to using traditional time-honoured English skills in their shoemaking.
There are some 200 operations involved in the making of just one pair of Loake Goodyear Welted shoes, most of which are carried out by highly-skilled craftsmen.
Likewise, Barker, which produces over 200,000 pairs of hand-lasted sewn shoes annually, and Tricker’s shoes are carefully crafted by a team of master craftsmen to withstand years of wear. The shoes are hand-stitched and fitted with a special cork layer beneath the inner sole, which allows feet to breathe.
A few decades ago, most of the shoes that men in this country bought were made in Northampton. But now only a few specialist shoemakers remain; the rest have gone abroad where production is cheaper.
“Mass produced shoes are not made to last,” says Charles. “They are glued together, and the plastic soles are finished with only a thin layer of leather, consequently they start to fall apart within a few months of wear.
“Invest in a properly made pair of shoes and look after them, they can last anything up to ten years. They get better the more you wear them; some of my customers have been wearing the same pair for decades.”
It is Charles’ meticulous eye for detail and passion for craftsmanship that has allowed him to cultivate a loyal clientele of customers.
“We all call these shoes,” he says pointing to a beautiful, shiny pair of tan Tricker’s, “30-year shoes; my customers are still bringing their first pair back three decades later to be repaired.”
Charles and his expert team of cobblers offer shoe and leather repairs, shoe care products, key cutting, and have a range of wallets and briefcases for sale. They can also fix broken zips, and fit new watch batteries and watch straps.
Located on Fulwood Road in the heart of Broomhill, Charles Brooks has been helping the ladies and gents of Sheffield put their best feet forward for over three decades.
For more information, head to www.charlesbrooksshoes.co.uk