John Lobb Bootmaker

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John Lobb
Industry Fashion
Founded Sydney, Australia (1849)
Headquarters 9 St. James's Street, London, United Kingdom
Products Clothing

John Lobb Bootmaker is a company that manufactures and retails a luxury brand of shoes and boots mainly for men, but also for women. Leather goods such as wallets and belts are also available. Founded by John Lobb (1829-95), John Lobb Bootmaker has been in business since 1866 in London and 1902 in Paris.[1]

In 1976, John Lobb Paris shop was acquired by the Hermès Group, but the London bespoke workshop at 9 St James's Street, John Lobb Ltd, remains family-owned and continues to operate independently. Hermès have developed the John Lobb ready-to-wear shoes around the world. The two companies continue to maintain their bespoke shoe-making tradition with the Lobb family workshop in London and the Hermès owned workshop in Paris.[2]


Royal warrants of John Lobb, bespoke shoe and bootmaker, London

In the middle of the 19th century, John Lobb, a farmer’s son, crippled as the result of an accident, made his way on foot from Cornwall to London. He was apprenticed to Tomas, the greatest bootmaker in London, unaware, as yet, that in time he would found the most prestigious dynasty of bootmakers in the world. Once he had finished his apprenticeship, he set off for Australia, at the time of the gold rush, where he supplied gold prospectors with boots with hollow heels, a safe cache for gold nuggets. Some years later, he was awarded a gold medal at the London Universal Exhibition, whereupon in 1863 he sent a pair of boots to Edward, Prince of Wales, who was impressed by the workmanship that he promptly appointed him his personal supplier.

He returned to England and opened a shop in London in 1866 and continued to build the legend of bootmaker to the Kings, and King of bootmakers.[2]

Following the success of the London base, John Lobb opened a shop in Paris in 1902.

In 1976, the famous French luxury brand, Hermès, were allowed to use the John Lobb name and continued to broaden the reach of the John Lobb brandname through its ready-to-wear line. The production of each pair of John Lobb ready-to-wear shoes is so time-consuming that only about 100 pairs of shoes are finished per day. The original, family-owned Lobb still handmakes shoes one pair at a time. Until the 1980s, John Lobb operated only custom-made activity in London and in Paris. From 1982 onwards, the ready-to-wear activity has complemented the made to measure, and distribution has extended.

The London company was the subject of a 1945 British Pathé fillm, Shoes For The Famous,[3] and an episode of the June 2016 BBC Four documentary series, Handmade: By Royal Appointment. [4]

Present operations[edit]

In 1976 John Lobb became part of the Hermès Group. Presently the Paris bespoke atelier, the By Request service, the ready-to-wear collection and boutiques are all part of the Hermès-owned company.

The London bespoke workshop, John Lobb Ltd, remains in the hands of the family and operates independently from its premises at 9 St James's Street.

The ready-to-wear collection debuted in 1982 and the first store showcasing the line opened in Paris in 1990. John Lobb opened its Northampton workshop in 1994.

The John Lobb brand is globally renowned because of its exceptional quality, fine craftsmanship and commitment to comfort and durability. In the last decade, the company has expanded its retail presence across the world with stores in major cities across the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

In June 2014 the Hermès group announced the appointment of Paula Gerbase as John Lobb’s first ever Artistic Director.

A pair of bespoke leather shoes costs[when?] over £2400. The average price is approximately £2700 if ordering from the St James's Street shop.[citation needed]

Notable clients[edit]

Shoe lasts of Queen Victoria from 1898, made by John Lobb, bespoke bootmaker in London. In the background the lasts of Lord Mountbatten

Famous clients of John Lobb include Diana, Princess of Wales, Prince Charles, Queen Victoria, Andy Warhol, Adam Tomczyk,Louis Mountbatten, Enrico Caruso, Jackie Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Laurence Olivier, Duke Ellington, David Niven, Calvin Klein, and Daniel Tyler.[citation needed]



  1. ^ By Royal Appointment. ITV3. 2012. Event occurs at 8:00pm. Archived from the original on 29 June 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-24. 
  2. ^ a b Dobbs, Brian (1972). The Last Shall Be First: The Colourful Story of John Lobb The St. James's Bootmakers. Elm Tree Books. ISBN 0241022738. 
  3. ^ "Shoes For The Famous". British Pathé. Retrieved 15 September 2016. 
  4. ^ "John Lobb Shoes". Handmade: By Royal Appointment. Episode 2. 13 June 2016. BBC Four. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′21″N 0°8′18.3″W / 51.50583°N 0.138417°W / 51.50583; -0.138417