Trust a Prada-owned company to take a slightly oblique and ironic, but nonetheless quality, approach to an Olympic tribute. Church’s shoes are, of course, still British made, but the Prada Group’s investment over the past 13 years has enabled considerable expansion and profile raising, as well as an injection of slightly left-field design into one of clothing’s most traditional areas. Crystal-studded brogues for women are a typical example.
For the fast-approaching Olympics, Church’s has, rather surprisingly, pushed the boat out; the brand’s store in London’s Regent Street is leading the way with a pop-up shop selling 17 variations of just one style, the Stratford, in all sizes and for both sexes, for the duration of the games. The informal lace-up shoe has a classic Goodyear welted construction but an innovative layered sole that allows a pop of bright colour, which is also applied to other details such as the welt stitching and the laces.
The range plays with the colours of the Olympic rings and the Union flag, and in ways that can express your personality, from subtle to extrovert. For example, you can have classic black suede with sporty white laces and a strip of red in the sole, or summery white leather with yellow or palish blue, or bold red with navy and white. The insole has a Union flag design (is walking on this flag a treasonable offence?), and the details and comfort meet Church’s exacting standards.
At £195, this is one Olympic souvenir that will prove very useful long after the games have ended, and as it is a limited edition every pair is individually numbered.