Sargent Shoes Will Be Back 9th November 2021
After a visit to see Paul Sargent and his team at Portland Road, Rushden, Pediwear are eagerly anticipating our first order with the new brand.
David and I visited Paul Sargent's factory on Portland Road last Wednesday, 3rd November. The last time we saw the factory, it was 2018, pre-COVID, and the French owners were still in place, making 'Alfred Sargent'. Before that, my first visit to the Sargent factory was back in 2013 - not too long after the new French-owned regime had become involved. I recall being impressed with several aspects of the visit - not least of which was Paul Sargent's enthusiasm and energy for shoemaking.
On our most recent visit, this energy and enthusiasm seem unabated - Paul arrives early and leaves late - and is personally involved with many of the processes involved in crafting his footwear.
The shoemaking team is much reduced currently producing footwear for a few select own labels - but the intention to start making footwear again under the "Paul Sargent" moniker - is very evident. This new brand should be associated with the living and breathing shoe aficionado Paul Sargent, and so it is appropriate that the brand should bear his name.
Personnel numbers at the factory are much lower than we are used to seeing - a total of just seventeen working the production line. However, there is a determination to ensure that production dates will be strictly honoured wherever possible. One would expect that as interest grows, the team will grow with it.
After our factory tour, David and I browsed the catalogue of styles that will be available - on a Made To Order basis initially from Spring 2022. This includes the previous Exclusive and Country Collections but encouragingly also an older catalogue containing old favourites such as the Appleby and Dumfries. The Veldschoen stalwarts, Coldstream and Kelso, and the Bexhill chukka boot were among the other styles which may now go back into production.
As we were shown around by Bill, Paul regularly delighted us with interruptions to show us evidence of the factory craftsmanship. One example was a boot being made with a Norwegian stitch - a construction we know is popular with Pediwear customers.
I wore a twenty-one year old pair of Sargent shoes for the trip - a pair which served for my wedding as well as many years as a work shoe. They were recently refurbished at the Sargent factory and are frequently mistaken as being new since then. All the signs are there that the fine materials and artistry associated with Sargent shoes are very much alive and well.
We are looking forward to receiving our first order in Spring - we are just trying to sort out the impossible tasks of deciding which styles to choose!
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