Spot the original – the trench boot on the left is 98 years old, having been made in 1917 for a young French soldier fighting in the cold muddy trenches of World War I. Built to last, they saw two years of hard service and unimaginable horrors on the front lines and later, in peacetime, no doubt provided the young man with plenty more years of use.
Jump forward a century and that young soldier’s son, now an old man himself, gifted us his father’s old wartime boots. With no one to leave them to, he wanted to see them go to people who could appreciate them, their craftsmanship and their history. And he thought of us.
We were more than appreciative; we were captivated. These original old trench boots were brilliantly designed for the hard life-or-death use they received. Laced to be close-fitting so the wearer could run in them, if need by, the tops were fully adjustable with a series of triple straps and buckles. Robust, but able to take a good shine and look smart.
After much close study and research, we decided to make a pair of these ourselves. We used special double tanned leather – vegetable tanned then re-tanned with chrome to obtain the same properties as the leather in the original boots. The buckles we sourced from Poursin, the Parisian buckle makers that supplied the originals back in 1917. The soles are thick leather, as per the originals, and fully Blake welted. The result, we think, is beautiful – a French-style trench boot from the First World War that should last for a hundred years, just like the original. We call it the Foch, after Marshal Ferdinand Foch, commander-in-chief of the Allied Armies in 1918. and is available to order, custom made to your measurements.