Rushden firm celebrating a century of shoes

D B Shoes has had to make changes over the years but is still going strong

By Stephanie Weaver
Sunday, 16th February 2020, 6:00 am
Founders Jack and Bill Denton
Founders Jack and Bill Denton

A Rushden footwear firm is still going strong after a century of making shoes.

Identical twins Jack and Bill Denton returned to their Northamptonshire roots at the end of the First World War in 1918.

The young soldiers and former POWs were keen cricketers and opened for Northamptonshire, but as Jack said “there was not a living to be made out of cricket” so on February 11, 1920, D B Shoes was formed, manufacturing men's shoes and boots.

During the 1930s, the business grew and moved to larger premises in Rectory Road, Rushden.

The Second World War saw D B Shoes devote much of its production to manufacturing footwear for the war effort.

Then, in the early 1960s, Jack's sons Hugh and John Denton took over the running of the expanding business.

Sales soared to 25,000 pairs per week as the company embraced the new manufacturing technologies of PVC and PU direct injection moulding.

But by the 1990s, the business declined considerably due to increased import penetration, with the resultant closure of two out of the three factories.

In 1997, Charles and David Denton, from the third generation and also identical twins, bought the other shareholders out and started the task of changing the business from a loss-making manufacturer with no clear direction, to the successful specialist wide fitting manufacturer it is today.

In 2004, the hard work of turning the company around was recognised with the winning of the British Chambers of Commerce National Award for Outstanding Business Achievement.

Further awards have followed, with DB Shoes winning the Comfort/Wellness Footwear Brand of the Year in 2017 and 2019 at the Footwear Industry Awards ceremony.

D B Shoes Ltd opened the doors to its factory shoe shop in March 2013.

Based at the company's headquarters in Irchester Road, the shop features sizes three to eight in ladies footwear, sizes six to 12 in men's shoes and a range of children's styles.

Store opening hours are from 10am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday and from 10am until 4pm each Sunday.