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Crown Northampton Appreciation Thread

Moostyle

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Here are some photos of the blacks that I broke in today... shaky phonecam photos simply don't capture how good they look on the feet. The black shell looks fantastic and is a big contributor to why these successfully bridge the gap between boots and sneakers while being really, really comfortable. I cannot wait for the blue shells to get here then that will complete my collection of every colourway that matches my outfits. :)

PXL_20230921_055927551.jpg


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Althis

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Happy with how my desert boots turned out, suede is buttery soft. Perfect replacement for Clarks
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Althis

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They look awesome congrats! Are they comfortable?

After a few hours to break in they feel more like slippers than boots, the sole and uppers are very pliable. Big fan of them for sure
 

Moostyle

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Hi everyone. I have held off with making this post until the situation was sorted out, but I am very sad to say that I have had to refund all of my Crown Northampton Harlestones shells, except the original first pair of Cognac shells I received.

Why would I get these amazing shoes refunded? Simple: quality issues. Big, showstopping, quality issues that rendered them unwearable for me. Please note that I think that Crown Northampton are very nice people and this story is not a personal reflection on any of anyone I dealt with, but it does contain my honest thoughts about speed of communication and how I believe that their quality control fell short for shoes of this price category. It is also important to note the following things:

  1. While I am an easygoing guy generally, I expect satisfactory quality and comfort in £700 sneakers and I will not settle for any genuine discomfort or quality issues. I do not call that ‘demanding’, but I guess it all depends on your perspective.
  2. I do not generally have problems with fit with sneakers when properly sized, and have happily owned Converse, Common Projects, Archibald London etc with no weird or specific pains caused by my foot shape. It’s just never been an issue.

It all started with me seeing the Rose Anvil “OMG these are the highest quality sneakers in the world” video and getting very excited at the thought of owning a pair of sneakers, hand-crafted in England from the world best materials, and of course shell cordovan no less. I ordered the Harlestone shells in Cognac, size UK10.5. The first pair arrived many weeks later (way beyond their delivery period stated on their website) with quality issues; the cork was not properly laid into the bed, causing a big dip in the toe area which was horrible when walking. So, naturally very disappointed, I sent them back and some more weeks later I received another pair which I was delighted with and they fit PERFECTLY in length and width, they looked, felt and smelt amazing, I was sold. So, with newfound confidence in what I was buying, I ordered the Bourbon and Black shells, expecting them to be dialled in just like the first pair. Sadly, that was not to be.

Many weeks later I received the new pairs and after the first few wears of settling in (the first two short wears initially felt ok, as I posted earlier in this thread), it slowly became apparent that something was very wrong with these new pairs of shoes; the left shoe of each pair wore VERY different to my Cognacs. The Black pair left shoe was ‘merely’ uncomfortable, with the toe crease digging into my foot a little and a little bit of tightness in the side of the foot. The Bourbons, however, were a killer, causing me agonizing pain at the toe crease, like a knife was digging into it while walking, and I experienced a lot of pain on the side of my left foot. The right shoe of each pair was perfect, but the left shoe of each pair was simply anatomically very different to the initial pair of Cognacs I received.

What followed then was some email back and forth with Crown Northampton support over some weeks, and that combined with their pretty slow responses, left me very frustrated. Crown could not figure out what was wrong and all we tried failed to find comfort and relief. It all culminated in me taking out a tape measure and doing some detailed analysis of the shoes. What I found was really surprising. The initial pairs of Cognacs that I received were different sized on the left and right shoe, with the left shoe being a full half a centimeter longer and wider. As a result, it had more space in the instep and a more relaxed fit on the side. Also, for reasons I cannot fully figure out but think it is due to the location in which the front “hand-sewn” stitches are placed, the toe crease in the Cognac pair is completely different to the Black and Bourbon pair. In the Cognac pair the leather at the crease actually pushes outwards when walking, meaning there is nothing pressing against my foot thus no pain. In comparison, the Black and Bourbon pairs were all exactly the same size on the left and right shoes, but with what seemed like tighter/closer stitching on the left shoe, meaning less room on the instep. The toe crease on both pairs also pushed inwards sharply when walking, which gave me all that pain and discomfort. The side walls of the left shoes were visually ok, but caused me discomfort with both pairs.

Chris even had a call with me to discuss the issues, which I really appreciated, and suggested I send back the Black and Bourbons, but in the end I also politely insisted on sending my Cognacs back too so they could check all three pairs in their hands and find out why they were so different and why the Cognacs were so comfortable while the Blacks and especially Cognacs were so uncomfortable/painful to wear. When they received them, they simply said that the shoes would take too long to fix and result in sunk costs and so said they would refund me and send the Cognacs back, which with a heavy heart I agreed to. However, a couple of days later they said they would try to fix them and send them back in the New Year and by that point, having already written them off in my mind, I politely asked them to stick to the original agreement and refund the pairs as I was just so exhausted and drained by it all and it was genuinely stressing me out over the months that it took to get to this point. I then got a refund. What is more, Crown had actually and very kindly started to build me a pair of blue shells in the last bits of blue shell that they had left and even ordered custom dark blue soles for me. I cannot fault that level of effort, and I did feel absolutely gutted for me and them, but at the same time I could not accept another pair of shoes that potentially did not fit and would have caused me pain like the Blacks and Cognacs.

Crown said there can be variance between pairs and shoes and that all seemed in tolerance. However the end result is that I received a pair of Cognacs which fit me like a glove, then two further pairs of Black and Cognac which ranged from uncomfortable to outright painful to wear and walk in. This level of quality control and variance is imo not acceptable on shoes of this price and like I said, I do not have club feet, I own many pairs of off the shelf sneakers that fit perfectly fine. If I had received two more pairs of shoes that were as well-fitting as the Cognacs then I would have been a happy camper for the next decade and it is such a shame that this was not to be.

So, in summary, Crown are really nice people and I did appreciate the real efforts they made to accommodate me, and they undoubtedly DO use the best materials known to mankind in these shoes. However, in my view they were let down by the inconsistency in the quality and workmanship of the products I received. After spending £700 per pair I simply could not accept that any shoes of that price were legitimately uncomfortable and painful to wear. The end result of this saga is that I have lost out on three pairs of sneakers I was hungering for, and Crown have undoubtedly lost money on every pair of those sneakers that they refunded me for. It's such a shame and I really hope they manage to re-sell the blues as a special pair to someone else and if you want them and are a size UK10.5 then please do message them and ask for them.

Sorry for the long story, but I wanted to share my experience.
 
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qubed

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@Moostyle is this not that you have have mismatched feet (I do too, and it's very hard to buy shoes for), and that the dark cognac just accidentally happened to fit you well?
 

Moostyle

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@Moostyle is this not that you have have mismatched feet (I do too, and it's very hard to buy shoes for), and that the dark cognac just accidentally happened to fit you well?
My left foot is indeed slightly longer than my right, but as I wrote at the beginning of my post, when buying the correct size I have no problems with pain or discomfort due any difference in foot lenfgth or width in any of the shoes I have ever bought... sneakers dress shoes, slippers, hiking shoes.

UK10.5 in Crown Northampton IS my proper "true to size", even on the Blacks and Bourbons it fit me perfectly in length (I had some room at the end) and width was fantastic (no pinkie rub whatsoever) on both feet, it felt really good in both regards. Uk10 was too small and UK11 was too long. The problem was with the shape of the shoe at the sidewall and the way it folded inwards at the front, knifing into my feet when walking. These things which I have never experienced anywhere near to this extent in any other shoes I own, they are unique to the Harlestones I tried.

Other brands I own and have no similar issues with:

-Common Projects Achilles (UK10, bit tight on the right pinkie toe but otherwise great)
-Converse Chucks (44.5, good fit)
-Adidas (UK11, Adidas run a bit small)
-Clarks (UK10G, Clarks run a bit large)
-Crockett & Jones (Islay Uk9.5 and Harlech UK10)
-Grant Stone (Diesel US11 and Edward US11, although they run large and I could have done with US10.5 in both)
-Paul Smith sneakers (UK11)
-Archibald London sneakers (UK10)

All of these brands of course vary in their sizing, but the important thing is that the insole is minimum 29cm long and 9.3cm wide or more. A UK10.5 in Crown Northampton is 29cm long and over 10cm wide and was actually a perfect fit in width and length on both feet.

It is a real head-scratcher and I so wish it hadn't turned out like this as I was literally more excited and proud about owning these shoes than I have been with any other wardrobe item in my life. If you take away this wearability nightmare then I loved pretty everything about them other than the lack of arch support (fixable with insole) and the very soft lactae havea sole (not at all durable vs a margom sole and after less than a year my Cognacs had minor damage and a lot of wear at the rear).
 
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Limboroom

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@Moostyle - well this is all very disturbing. Mostly for your personal experience (sorry to hear it), but also - I have 2 CNs ordered!

The only thing I am hanging my hat on - I didn‘t get the Harlestones. I am waiting on Bourbon Everdons and Snuff Kudu Overstones (limited edition a couple months ago). I am trying to convince myself that maybe these issues you had are just limited to that shoe type. It’s not totally working, haha. I‘ve gone from totally excited to just wait and see.

I promise to report back either way.
 

Moostyle

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@Moostyle - well this is all very disturbing. Mostly for your personal experience (sorry to hear it), but also - I have 2 CNs ordered!

The only thing I am hanging my hat on - I didn‘t get the Harlestones. I am waiting on Bourbon Everdons and Snuff Kudu Overstones (limited edition a couple months ago). I am trying to convince myself that maybe these issues you had are just limited to that shoe type. It’s not totally working, haha. I‘ve gone from totally excited to just wait and see.

I promise to report back either way.
I would not be surprised if it was the Harlestone pattern plus some variance in the hand crafting that was the issue. The most bizarre thing was the difference in how the shoes folded at the crease and how one pair was significantly more painful than the other. When you factor in the very long periods of waiting, both for the initial order and then the repairs, and then the overall cost of close to £3k, it all became too much of a risk and the stress it caused over the many weeks months was really starting to gnaw at me to the poi where I thought it just wasn't worth it. I'm sure Crown also thought the same!

However I am sure yours will work out fine and I'm looking forward to reading your report!
 

Limboroom

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Welp, I received my order of Bourbon Everdons and Snuff Kudu Overstones. And, have to say, I am completely blown away. Note, this is only initial fit and wear for about an hour or so. I will report back for extended wear.

For ref, I am in the US and 10 tth and 10.5 ttb Brannock. So, 10.5. Most sneakers are 11US. A few 10.5, but they feel tight. All my 11 sneakers have room at the toes, but fit well everywhere else. I am 10D/9.5E in GS/RW boots and they fit great. Both of these CNs are UK 10, i.e. 11 US.

First, the Overstones - initial fit is spot on. Some room at the toes, but, very snug everywhere else. The leather is soft, interesting, and awesome. Love the padded collar and the suppleness of the leather. So comfy. It will not be my last Kudus, I assure you.

On the Shell Everdons - what can I say? These are
like a work of art. They look and smell incredible. Fit feels perfect. Kinda squeaky. Again, room at the toe, and a bit of room at the collar - but this is my size. The sides are snug and no heel slip. The LH sole is insanely comfortable. The only issue - not quite sure I can pull off this look, but I’m gonna give it a shot, lol. Worse comes to worse, one of my young boys will get these in a few years, haha.

I also got matching belts for both, will post pix later. But, as of now, I am super happy with my purchase. I will report back later on wear.
 

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Moostyle

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Welp, I received my order of Bourbon Everdons and Snuff Kudu Overstones. And, have to say, I am completely blown away. Note, this is only initial fit and wear for about an hour or so. I will report back for extended wear.

For ref, I am in the US and 10 tth and 10.5 ttb Brannock. So, 10.5. Most sneakers are 11US. A few 10.5, but they feel tight. All my 11 sneakers have room at the toes, but fit well everywhere else. I am 10D/9.5E in GS/RW boots and they fit great. Both of these CNs are UK 10, i.e. 11 US.

First, the Overstones - initial fit is spot on. Some room at the toes, but, very snug everywhere else. The leather is soft, interesting, and awesome. Love the padded collar and the suppleness of the leather. So comfy. It will not be my last Kudus, I assure you.

On the Shell Everdons - what can I say? These are
like a work of art. They look and smell incredible. Fit feels perfect. Kinda squeaky. Again, room at the toe, and a bit of room at the collar - but this is my size. The sides are snug and no heel slip. The LH sole is insanely comfortable. The only issue - not quite sure I can pull off this look, but I’m gonna give it a shot, lol. Worse comes to worse, one of my young boys will get these in a few years, haha.

I also got matching belts for both, will post pix later. But, as of now, I am super happy with my purchase. I will report back later on wear.
Congrats on the shoes, the Kudus look awesome, but I doubt your boys will want those Everdons... they are not exactly a 'fashionable cut'! In terms of materials they are indeed top-notch though.

Also the LH sole is soft and squishy but as a result of this they extremely prone to chipping and wear... if you wear them often they may start to look tatty quite quickly.
 

Limboroom

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Congrats on the shoes, the Kudus look awesome, but I doubt your boys will want those Everdons... they are not exactly a 'fashionable cut'! In terms of materials they are indeed top-notch though.

Also the LH sole is soft and squishy but as a result of this they extremely prone to chipping and wear... if you wear them often they may start to look tatty quite quickly.
Yeah, I know you don’t like the look. I think it’s cool, but more of a young look. I already asked my oldest, and if he wasn’t 5 sizes smaller than me, he’d be wearing them now.

On the LHs, I never had a pair, so this is definitely a roll of the dice. My stride may just chomp them up, lol. But I was curious and it was a big draw for me. Plus, like many here, I have like 20+ pairs of footwear. So, at this point, I’m more worried on getting time in them than wearing them out.
 
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