We Are Loake: Adam Ficek


We consider ourselves privileged to have so many loyal fans and to be able to share their experiences with other members of our extended Loake ‘family’. When longstanding Loake wearer Adam Ficek contacted us about repairing his beloved Chester brogues, we asked if we could tell his Loake ‘story’. Happily, he agreed.

Once best known as the drummer in notorious British Rock act Babyshambles, Adam is now an established artist in his own right. Roses Kings Castles was the early moniker he used as a solo artist, initially ‘as an outlet when Babyshambles were on holiday’ and then when he left the band and was writing and recording his own unique catalogue of acoustic pop songs.

“I continually write, whether it’s big band arrangements, electro riffs or folk-pop songs. I just needed an avenue to walk down,” he told us. Since Roses Kings Castles, Adam has been ‘busy recording and writing for other acts, DJ-ing internationally and playing a continuous stream of small intimate acoustic gigs’. He is currently finalising the release schedule for his first solo EP Adam Ficek EP 1, set for release in February 2017.


Adam’s relationship with Loake began over ten years ago. “Loake were always one of the brands I aspired to, but being a jobless musician meant I couldn’t afford them,” he explains. “Then when I joined Babyshambles, I was finally able to buy my first pair of Loake tassel loafers. I was one of the first on the indie music scene to adopt such classic footwear, and I used to get slightly odd looks. But I have always been drawn to things that are traditionally made and have a sense of sincerity about them.”

Adam’s love for our Brighton loafer has not changed, but he has also developed a taste for our Chester brogue, which he can be seen wearing in the pictures he has shared with us here. When he called saying his brogues were on their last legs, we put them in for repair. You can see their journey back to life in the pictures below.




Needless to say, Adam is very pleased to have his old friends back. For more information on our repair and refurbishment service, click here.


Five of the Best:
Brogue Boots

For several hundreds of years, both brogues and the majority of boot styles were restricted to country and outdoor wear – brogues having originated in the boggy terrains of Scotland and Ireland where the punched holes were designed to drain water, and boots because of their primary function of protecting the foot and leg.

Today however, ‘dress boots’ are a credible style alternative to shoes, particularly in the colder months, and the brogue boot in particular has grown tremendously in popularity for both casual and formal wear.

Nothing says ‘modern classic’ quite like a fine Goodyear Welted brogue boot. Here are five of our favourites from the Loake range.

A longstanding Loake favourite, this is a classic country-style boot featuring Tan burnished calf uppers and a Goodyear Welted double leather sole. Made using our 024 last shape in an F fitting, it is a little more generous in fit to allow for the thick socks traditionally worn with this kind of footwear. Also available with a Dainite rubber studded sole.


Another traditional country boot, Bedale uses our Pennine last shape which has a wider G fitting. It has a distinctive bump toe and our Goodyear Welted Victory rubber sole with grooved tread for improved grip and longevity. Bedale is available in Tan burnished calf, and Mahogany Brown grain leather.


This Derby boot with punching detail on the toe is a more refined style, so arguably versatile enough to wear with trousers or a suit, but it’s Goodyear Welted Dainite studded sole means it is also hard-wearing. Hyde is made in Black calf, Brown burnished grain and Dark Brown burnished calf using our Capital last which gives a standard F fit.


This classic market boot Chelsea design also features brogue detailing on the uppers. It is available in Tan burnished calf with a Dainite rubber studded sole, making it a practical boot for all weathers.


A stylish Derby brogue boot, Rimmer comes with additional ski-hook fastenings in Tan or Dark Brown distressed leather for a casual, vintage look. It has Goodyear Welted leather sole with a rubber forepart for extra grip and durability.

We are Loake


It’s something of a cliché to say that a business is defined by its people – and, although I have a dislike of clichés, they usually become clichés because they’re true.  So, Loake Shoemakers is defined by its people – the people who make our shoes, the people who sell them, the people who wear them and the people who get so excited about them, they want to tell others about them.

By sharing a few words with some of the people who appear in our “We Are Loake” marketing creative, here we hope to give an insight into life at Loake and in particular the lives and dedication of those who make our shoes.



What does your typical day involve?
My job involves stitching shoe uppers and in particular shoes that are sent back for repairs.  There’s a wonderful satisfaction in making things last longer.

Favourite style?
If I have a favourite style, it would have to be the “Brighton” loafer – but that’s probably because I make the uppers for them.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this job?
I previously worked in retail and merchandising, and I suppose if I didn’t have my current job that’s what I’d still be doing. But I’ve always had a passion for shoes.

One of the best pieces of advice I have been given is that you get out of life what you’re prepared to put in – and I think that’s the key to job satisfaction. The best advice I could pass on would be to live every day as if it was your last.

Something others might not know about you?
At one time I seriously considered emigrating to Australia. And my pet hate is spitting!



What does your typical day involve?
I’m a sole-stitcher, sewing leather (or rubber) soles onto the welts.  To do this I operate one of the most heavy-duty sewing machines in the industry.  It can stitch through 1/2 inch of leather!

I’ve worked in the shoe trade for most of my working life (although I did have a brief spell in a fish-and-chip shop) and I’m one of the many people who have been with Loake for more than a quarter of a century!

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this job?
If I wasn’t working in the shoe trade, I’ve always dreamed of being an airline pilot.
But the thing I’m most looking forward to right now is having a well-earned pint after a hard day’s work.

The best advice I have been given is to keep safe and healthy (although my main vice is smoking).

Something others might not know about you?
I‘m something of a jigsaw fanatic and I Iove cycling. My pet hate is washing up.



What is your role at Loake?
I’ve always loved shoes and have been in the shoe trade ever since leaving school. It’s just never occurred to me to do anything else. Before I joined Loake I had my own footwear business. It was very stressful, but I’m glad I gave it a go. I work in Quality Control now and feel the same sense of satisfaction every time I see a finished pair of shoes carefully wrapped and packed into their box.

Something others might not know about you?
Although I’m known as a bit of a joker, I’m actually quite shy.

Always treat others as you expect to be treated yourself.

Biggest vice?
Not admitting to the wife when I’m the wrong!

Favourite style?
It’s got to be the Chester brogue in Tan. They look great with jeans and have become justifiably one of Loake’s signature styles.



What is your role at Loake?
I’ve worked in the shoe trade for most of my life, although prior to this I did have a short spell as a delivery driver. I’m now in charge of what’s called the Making Room.  That’s the part of production that begins with the uppers being lasted and attached to the insoles and ends at the point where the heels are attached.  I’m responsible for ensuring work is of the highest quality and also that production targets are met.

The best part of your job?
Friday! In all seriousness though, I’m proud of my part in guaranteeing the craftsmanship for which Loake is renowned.

And the worst part?
I’ll go to great lengths to avoid paperwork.

What are you most looking forward to?
Most days bring new challenges – so a day that runs totally smoothly would be very welcome!



What does your typical day involve?
I currently work in the Making Room, but having been in the shoe trade since I was 15, I’ve been able to take the opportunity to master most of the processes required to make a pair of Loake Goodyear Welted shoes. At Loake, we aim to be proficient at as many of the highly skilled processes as possible. The best part of the job is seeing a really good finished product. The worst part is making a mistake and having to do it again, but this doesn’t happen very often!

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this job?
If I wasn’t in the shoe trade, I’d like to have an outdoor job – something in the countryside, maybe a gamekeeper.

Pet hate?
I don’t like bad manners and people who have no respect for others.

Biggest vice?
I think you’d be best to ask my partner that one!




Andrew E Loake

Five of the Best:
Derby Shoes

A Derby (sometimes referred to as a Gibson or an ‘Open Front’) is a lace-up shoe where the eyelet facings are stitched on top of the vamp (front section of the shoe). This is in contrast to an Oxford style where the eyelet facings are stitched underneath the vamp. The Derby was popular as a sporting and hunting boot in the 1850s but, by the turn of the 20th century, it had become regarded as appropriate for wear in town. In the USA, a Derby shoe is sometimes referred to as a Blucher.

With its open tabs, a Derby allows for more adjustment than other styles by pulling the laces tighter or looser, which means it will fit a wide range of foot shapes.

Here are five of our Loake favourites.

A long running favourite, our Chester country style Derby brogue features burnished calf leather uppers and a split reverse welt which gives it a chunky, bold appearance. Chester is made using last shape 024 in an F/medium width fitting and is available with either a double leather sole or a Dainite rubber studded sole.
From our premium Loake 1880 range, Cornwall is a sleek chisel-toe shoe especially suitable for more formal occasions. Cornwall uses the Duke last in an E fitting which gives it a narrow/medium fit. Cornwall is available in Mahogany burnished calf or black calf leathers and has a leather sole.
A recent and popular addition to our Loake Shoemakers range, Rowe is a plain front Derby shoe, available in Tan burnished calf or Brown suede. Like Chester, this shoe has a split reverse welt and also features a light Caramel coloured rubber studded sole and heel. Rowe uses the versatile Claridge last in an F fitting, giving it a slightly elongated, rounded toe.
Our famous Royal brogue is one of our longest running styles, having been popular since the 70s. Royal is a long wing brogue design, available in original Oxblood or Black polished leather. Made on last shape 1639 in an F fitting, it has a double leather sole and features an all-round ‘storm’ welt to give the shoe a bold appearance.
Style 771
A classic plain Derby design, our long-running style 771 is also a perennial favourite. Like Royal, this shoe also has a storm welt and a double leather sole, and comes in Black or Burgundy polished leathers. Style 771 uses the 3625 last shape in an F fitting for a traditional English look.


We invited John Jarrett – stylist, illustrator and Fashion Editor of men’s style collective Individualism – to put together an outfit based around his choice of Loake shoes in a Summer 16 style edit. John chose our Rowe Derby shoe in Tan burnished calf leather and teamed it with a colourful ensemble typical of John’s bright and individual style.

“I chose the Rowe Derby in Tan because it can work for both casual and formal occasions, although here I matched it with workwear pieces, pairing the shoes with some lightweight white jeans, a striped shirt and a loose denim chore jacket. I added a pair of printed socks and a woven belt in Mustard yellow to add some seasonal colour to the outfit. Oh and of course, I’d never leave the house without a trilby or a fedora – why not try one in Navy?”

Follow John at @_johnjarrett













A little while ago, I was about to throw away a leather chair that was very old and in poor condition. When I say it was in poor condition, that’s an understatement – it was really only fit for the tip. We couldn’t have brought it into the house as, for all I know, it could have had all forms of wildlife, maybe even a few endangered species, living inside it – and it smelled a bit too.


But, it was over 100 years old and it used to belong to my grandfather, possibly even to his father too and, in its day, it had obviously been magnificent. So, we decided that we’d like to keep it.

In most towns it would be hard to find somebody to restore it, but here in Kettering we are very fortunate. There are two master upholsterers operating their businesses in the same street – and it’s only two streets away from our factory. So, I contacted Tom Reed at John Reed & Son, who took the chair into his workshop, helped me to choose some new leather and gave me a quote for the job.


The restoration was thorough. The chair, which Tom described as a “pillow-back”, was stripped right down to its frame, which was itself dismantled and reassembled. The rails on the frame were all dowelled and extra corner blocks were fitted to strengthen it in places. The first stuffings were a mixture of horsehair and fibre followed by cotton felt and the seat cushion was feather filled.


It would have been easier, and probably cheaper, to buy a new chair, but it would have been hard to find one as good. And, there are two extra features that I wouldn’t have got with a new chair: Firstly, I know exactly what’s inside this one and I’m confident to think that it’s probably set up for the next 100 years or so. But secondly, and for me more importantly, I’m sitting where my grandfather sat and I wonder if, one day, I might have grandchildren who carry the same thought.


But there’s one more thing to consider.  It takes a long time for highly-skilled craftsmen to acquire their expertise and it can be very hard for the public to find such people.  But when we do have the opportunity, we should use them and let artisans “do what they do” because, in doing so, they can pass their skills on to others.  It’s worth it.





Andrew E Loake