John Lobb’s story reads more like an adventure novel than a company history. Born a farmer’s son in the middle of the 19th century and crippled in an accident in his youth, Lobb nonetheless apprenticed with a shoemaker in his home of Cornwall before walking to London in search of opportunity. He found his way to Australia during the gold rush to outfit prospectors with hollow-heeled boots—hiding places for gold nuggets—and developed an excellent reputation for quality. Lobb founded his first business in Sydney, married, and started a family, yet his ambitious spirit was unsatisfied. He sent a pair of boots to the London Exhibition of 1862 where they won a gold medal; the next year he sent a pair of boots to Edward, Prince of Wales, who was so impressed by their quality (and perhaps their maker’s boldness) that he appointed Lobb a Royal Warrant recognizing the quality of his workmanship. Lobb returned to London in 1866, where his name remains synonymous with excellence.
After John’s passing, the firm met hard times through the First World War, Great Depression, and Second World War. The company faced disappearance until Eric Lobb, John’s youngest grandson, took over. Capitalizing on the quickly growing American market, Eric reinvigorated the business with an entrepreneurial vision while preserving its traditional culture and courtesy, even receiving new Royal Warrants from Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles.
Today John Lobb Bootmaker continues its traditional handcrafting method, producing bespoke and ready-to-wear items, and instilling all of their creations with timeless style, exceptional quality, fine craftsmanship, comfort, durability and elegance.
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