It is not often that a brand – largely unrecognized to the general masses here in the states – will grab my attention and arouse curiosity. However, British footwear brand Swift & Co is such a brand. Based in East Lancashire, England; Swift & Co is an independent footwear manufacturer dating back to 1934 and spanning three generations in the Swift family. I was contacted by a Swift & Co representative a few months ago, and the pitch was too interesting to ignore. Now, the combination of my recent promotion, my wife’s pregnancy, and birth of my son has required a lot of my time, but I am now able to offer my observations. I was offered the Lancaster (pictured above), a suede lace-up boot with brogue detailing, for examination. Let’s get to it.
So, what was it exactly that garnered my full, undivided attention? Well, as you perhaps identified from the accompanying visuals, the sole boasts a decidedly robust aesthetic that separates it from many footwear selections on the current market. Furthermore, the sole does not arrive with a traditional construction, with either with the sole being attached to the upper by way of chemical adhesives or the timeless Goodyear welt. The Heritage Twist collection – as named by Swift & Co – begins its life constructed inside out (with the mid-sole being stitched to the upper) and then inverted before being finished.
Now, back to that sole, continuing with its brand uniqueness, the sole is constructed with a layered interlocking sole design where the insole locks with the mid-sole. It is designed with a tight fit to discourage slippage. Honestly, the curious design would be an area of concern regarding performance. What if the sole just fell off? Would the sole be vulnerable to water penetration? With dutiful inspection, the sole appears to be attached firmly in place. I tugged and pulled, but the sole weathered my force comfortably.
I would surmise that it would take excessive wear and tear to dislodge the sole from the upper. And any concerns regarding any water penetration can be dismissed, as the inside-out construction provides full coverage all around the foot. Now, I fully understand that some gentlemen may be less than enthused about the thickness and appearance of the sole. The overall aesthetic is much a hybrid of a formal dress shoe and sneaker. Nevertheless, it is an aesthetic that can grow on you, and given the supreme overall comfort, it is something that can be overlooked.
And speaking of comfort, true to its claims, the Heritage Twist collection is truly a comfortable assembly of footwear. The insole cradles the foot with a sublime cushion that rivals the comfort of your favorite sneaker. A gentleman should not experience any issues during episodes of prolonged standing.
- Wisconsin suede and leather – finished in Italian tanneries
- Sole constructed with ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA); a polymer that affords flexibility, softness, and shock absorbancy
- Sole 300% thicker than with standard footwear
- Insole foam: 10-11 mm thick at toe, 12-13 mm thick at heel
- Mid-sole constructed of rubber
- Interlocking shock-absorbent sole
- Retails $200.00 for shoes; $250.00 for boots
- The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers Award for Innovation 2015
- The British Footwear Association / FN Platform Award 2015
- Two pending for construction and interlocking sole
In conclusion, I found that the offering from Swift & Co to be quite distinctive in both construction and appearance. Available as a standard lace-up or Chelsea boot, the Heritage Twist collection has a modest starting lineup (with an expansion of choices in the future) for a gentleman to peruse. The hybrid of both dress and casual details afford maneuverability between casual and dress settings. The suede is suitably soft and the overall feel is lightweight, but solidly built.
Going forward, I see areas of opportunity to offer more colors and a variety of more detailing beyond the wingtip brogue. I think the collection is priced competitively in the current market, and I would definitely consider purchasing pair in a warm autumn hue – I think the suede would showcase brilliantly. I really hope Swift & Co becomes popular and captures a dedicated audience. There appears to be promise for future releases.