Friday, December 24, 2010

Ah, the holidays...

I love this time of year.  The short days, the cold nights, warm fires, tasty cocktails, hearty roasted meals, the smell of baking, board games, time spent shopping for gifts or hand crafting them.  It is great to be out in the neighborhood amidst the holiday hustle and bustle, the store fronts decorated with lights and garland, the sound of holiday classics playing in the background.  

Market Street Shoes wishes everyone a Happy Holiday season.  We are looking forward to spending time with friends and family soon, enjoying a winter break from school or work, and wish the same for all of you.  For those of you spending the holidays elsewhere we wish you safe travels and look forward to hearing about them upon your return.  We'll be keeping regular hours until Christmas eve when we'll close at 5 PM, and we'll be closed the following day of course.  Call if you have questions or need help with those last minute items.

With that, I'll leave you with a little schmaltz...

Stockings hung by the chimney with care, but are looking a wee empty or perhaps quite bare?  Still checking to see who's been naughty or nice?  You've checked the list once, but still no dice.  Market Street Shoes comes through in a pinch with gifts for your loved ones or even that grinch.  There are hats, and gloves, socks, scarves, and mittens, footbeds, shoulder bags, and slippers soft as kittens.  And when in doubt, or are stumped what to get dear Aunt Sue, do not fret we'll be waiting with a gift card for you.

Happy Holidays!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Just in... Saucony stocking stuffers!

We just received a big shipment of Saucony sneakers just in time for your last minute stocking stuffers or for looking funky fresh at that holiday party.  Take a peek...

For the girls, a host of Vegan Jazz Lows and Bullets.

And for the fellas, the Vegan Jazz Low, Bullet and a restock of the Jazz O.

Ho, ho, ho!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Hunter Wellingtons. Outstanding in every field!

The Wellington boot has a history steeped in the aristocratic traditions of England and was conceptualized by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, in the early 1800s. A successor to the popular leather Hessian boot being worn at the time, the wellington was conceived by the Duke as a "form follows function" update.  With the criteria that the new boot fit closer to the leg, be sturdy and battle ready, and have the versatility to transition into evening wear, Wellesley put the task to his cobbler Hoby, a fixture on London's St. James Street.  The resultant creation, dubbed the Wellington in the Duke's honor, began an enduring trend in leather footwear. Ever ready to emulate a celebrated hero, patriotic Brits took to the new style in droves and it remained a fashion staple well into the late 1800s.

Hessian Boot

Wellington (leather) Boot

While footwear traditions were forging ahead in England, across the Atlantic, entrepreneurial Americans were seeking new materials to work with as an option to leather. In 1852 Charles Goodyear had perfected his process for making vulcanized rubber, a versatile material suitable for many uses, including footwear. Shoemakers of the day didn't miss a beat and began to use vulcanized rubber in earnest realizing its benefits almost immediately - ease of use, durability, and most notably, its waterproofness. Among those to realize the potential of vulcanized rubber footwear was Henry Lee Norris.  

In 1856 Mr. Norris set off for Scotland in search of a suitable location to establish a factory for the making of his "light bulb" idea - rubber wellingtons.  Norris found a suitable location in the old Castle Silk Mills in Edinburgh, Scotland and immediately set to task.  He brought over four cobblers from America familiar with vulcanized rubber, incorporated under the name North British Rubber Company and began manufacturing rubber wellingtons.  By 1875 Norris had 600 people under his employ and was rapidly expanding into other areas of manufacture utilizing vulcanized rubber including tires, water bottles, conveyor belts and golf balls.  During World War I the company produced over one million pairs for troops fighting in the flooded trenches of Northern Europe.  The Second World War saw the increased production of not only wellingtons, but gas masks and other equipment as well, with 80% of production going to support the war effort.  In 1955, the now classic Green Hunter and Royal Hunter were introduced, both styles continuing in production today.  

Castle Silk Mills

North British Rubber Co. advert

Eventually rebranding the rubber wellington division as Hunter Boots, the North British Rubber Company established an iconic footwear collection worn everywhere; on the feet of Royals at Buckingham Palace to workers on the factory floor, from huntsmen on the Scottish Highlands to fashionistas in the streets of New York City. Timeless in their style and adept at their task, Hunter wellingtons will continue in their rich heritage for years to come.