Alexei at work in the Cholesburys studioHomeAbout us

The Cholesburys Story


1: A different kind of footwear company

As you've probably noticed, Cholesburys is a different kind of footwear company. We’re small – very small in fact – and work from the eco-friendly studio we built in the garden of our home.

Here, as well as making eye patches for the kids (because it's Pirate Day today) Alexei sketches ideas for our next pair of handmade shoes; sifts through boxes of old boots and shelves of vintage textiles to find the right combination of materials; dilligently refines the details that make the difference between a good shoe and a great shoe; builds low-energy Heath-Robininson-style machines; and dreams of Cholesburys becoming world-renowned for both the quality of our handmade shoes and the ethical and environmentally friendly way we do business.



Leather boots and shoes ready for recyclingHomeAbout us

The Cholesburys Story


2: A world of experience

Just because we’re small and just because we make our shoes by hand – and do so here in England – doesn’t mean we’re unaware of the wider world. In fact, it’s Alexei’s 22 years of experience of the shoe industry that led us to establish Cholesbury’s in the first place.

As Alexei explains: “From a post-graduate role in a footwear department, I moved to the company that made and supplied shoes to Caterpillar Footwear, where I co-ordinated and ran factories in eastern Europe, and dealt with Italian designers and developers.

“I then moved into the fast-moving world of women’s footwear, and set up the own-brand footwear department at Miss Selfridge. Latterly, I established an ethically focussed design and manufacturing business in India (a country chosen for its high levels of creative and craft skills) and supplied high street names including Office and Dune. But, in spite of commercial success, I felt there was a better way of doing business and making shoes...”


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A finished pair of Cholesburys handmade sandalsHomeAbout us

The Cholesburys Story


3: Beauty, fun and fulfillment

Alexei's rich and diverse experience sowed the seeds of what was to become Cholesburys. As Alexei continues: “I wanted to take my engineering, retail and manufacturing experience, add something of the creative spirit I found in India, and come up with a new kind of footwear business that would source materials and skills locally, have high ethical and environmental goals, and create handmade shoes with a character that would truly connect with people.

“I like to think that Cholesburys’ positive values and mix of new ideas and time-honoured skills might turn into a new kind of English manufacturing. From the refreshing simplicity of using low-energy, low-tech machines, to the profusion of flowers that have magically appeared on the roof of our studio, and the joy of finding an old floral print that’s just perfect for our next project, the beauty, fun and fulfillment we're experiencing are hopefully all signs that we’re on the right path.”


 

 

Alexei at work in the studio

Feel the love and care in every pair

We like to take time over the details that make a difference – such as shaping the footbed to hug your heelbone, and putting the straps in exactly the right place on each size.

› More about our approach

American Vintage fabric swatch

Vintage fabrics given
a new lease of life

Any shoe has a sole, but not every shoe has a soul. We've given our handmade sandals a distinctive character by hunting out and carefully selecting the pre-loved and vintage fabrics that are at the heart of each pair.

› See all the fabrics we’ve chosen

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