John White

Known best for their ‘impregnable boots’, John White has over a hundred years’ experience crafting quality durable footwear.  

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Known best for their ‘impregnable boots’, John White has over a hundred years’ experience crafting quality durable footwear. 

Founded in 1919 in a little shack in Northamptonshire, John White shoes are “made for every man who has to work on his feet and for every man whose pleasure is walking… You get the best materials, the best workmanship, the fullest choice of styles and fittings at the best cost”. 

At 22 years old with a decade in the cord waning trade, John White bought a small derelict paint shop, converting it into a workshop. He produced 500 uppers, selling them to Jimmy Hyde for a modest profit. Within a year, enough uppers had been sold to afford a shoe press. 

Now a fully-fledged shoe manufacturer, John White secured a lucrative contract with Darnells of Shoreditch, who went on to sell millions. In 1920, John opened his first factory, a three-storey house on Church Street, the company was soon selling 6,000 pairs a week.

After years of steady success, John built his flag ship factory. The design was based on Lime Street in Rushden, and emblazoned with ‘Impregnable Boots’, a nod to his most popular product. 

During the Second World War, John White’s ‘impregnable boots’ went from the feet of the sophisticated gentleman to the feet of the soldier. Producing everything from canvas boots for the royal navy and flying boots for RAF pilots; over 10% of all British forces were wearing John White, with over 8 million pairs manufactured in total. John White even commissioned a Spitfire, the ‘Impregnable’, which fittingly survived the war and shot down multiple enemy aircraft. 

The company’s reputation for dependable wartime footwear increased American demand, John White were now responsible for over 90% of British shoe exports into the country. 

John White’s success and reputation has grown ever since, and they still produce fine leather footwear today.