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My visit to Shoe Healer

unbelragazzo

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When Fok and I discussed the possibility of me visiting shoe factories in Northampton, the first email we sent out was to Richard at Shoe Healer. In a few short years, Richard has gone from a shoe novice to something of a Styleforvm legend. Perhaps it's fitting that I should be shuttled around Northamptonshire by a man who in an earlier life drove lorries (for Americans, lorries are trucks).

Seven years ago, Richard suffered an on-the-job injury which led to him taking a few months off from driving cargo around the United Kingdom. Never one to be content sitting still, he got to talking business with his friend Anthony. Anthony's business was shoes. He inherited his family's shoe repair business in Doncaster, with the clinical name of Shoe Healer. Richard started helping out here and there, learning the trade, before eventually joining Anthony as a business partner.

Shoe Healer was never to be the same. What was a small repair shop on the outskirts of town has now grown into a large and brightly decorated downtown location offering retail and repair, caring for a shoe from cradle to grave, carrying shoes from English makers such as Loake, Church's, Alfred Sargent, and Crockett and Jones. They are the largest independent Tricker's retailer in the entire United Kingdom. And the repair jobs continue to come in from all over the globe, from the United States to Australia to Japan. Sometimes you really do have to go halfway around the world to find a cobbler you trust.

Richard is a bustling and impatient man. He has a lot of energy; he directs it towards getting what his clients want. “If somebody wants something, and they're willing to pay for it, then I hate telling them they can't have it,” he told me. And I'm willing to drive halfway across the country to get it for them if need be.” The familiar greetings Richard got when we visited the Tricker's factory confirmed that he is a frequent visitor, often coming by to check on Made-To-Order projects that clients have ordered through him. Encouraged by the success of client MTOs, Richard now does his own entire runs of MTOs every month.

Richard is also an honest man. Like anyone who makes a business of repairing shoes that are decades old, he has a reverence for English craftsmanship. But he doesn't let that prevent him from standing up for his customers when the factories make mistakes. If he hadn't gotten into the shoe trade, I'd be happy to have Richard as my lawyer. For my visit to Northamptonshire, I couldn't have had a better tour guide.




The storefront.


Wall of Tricker's.


Shoe Healer slippers - coming soon in a few different designs.


The photo room.


Country brogues.


More Tricker's.


Wall of Loake.


Richard and one of the repair men looking over a shoe heel.


More shoes on display.


Richard talking with a customer.


Richard and the ladies of Shoe Healer, Antony's wife Ann (on Richard's right) and Richard's wife Michelle (on his left).
 
Last edited:

Dagon

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Are those tweed slippers?

Thank you for sharing, cool stuff
 

Renton

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It's always a pleasure to order from Richard. He goes out of his way to make sure the customer is completely happy.
 

adam-r8

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I just met Richard this weekend and purchased a pair of Alfred Sargents from him. Really knowledgable, likeable guy!
 

dddrees

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Sounds like a good person to deal with, thanks for sharing.
 

zippyh

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Richard and Michelle are great to deal with.
Kinda funny you can pick up a new pair of Tricker's, get another pair resoled, get some keys cut, and drop off your dry cleaning all in one stop.

There's a picture of the owner of that scooter thingie on the SH facebook page.
 

Trompe le Monde

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bought some stuff from this store before. good selection, good deal :)
 

Tricker's Expert!!

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Thank you very much for your kind words David, it was a great pleasure to spend time with you at the factories and our store.
Many of the guys on Styleforum already know that quality and service is our passion, and we invite questions and queries anytime, and they don't have to lead to an order being placed.
I would like to take this opportunity too, to thank the many who have and continue to support Shoehealer.
I am always happy to be, 'At Your Service' ! :)

Richard, and the Shoehealer Team .
 

Tricker's Expert!!

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They are indeed Tweed Slipers.
They were made for us here in the UK by a very small family company that focuses mainly on contract work for UK Shoemakers.
 

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