What does a hand-made trainer specialist based in the North of England have in common with a luxury car giant?
The answer from the two partners in this new collaboration would be fine quality design and craftsmanship. But even so, I wonder what the guys at Walsh – the niche, premium trainer brand based in Bolton – thought when they first got the call from Lexus? Well those first conversations must have gone well, because launching this month is a very special Walsh trainer inspired the distinguished Lexus CT F Sport hatchback.
The unisex shoes draw on the design, colour palette and interior materials of the car – a self-charging hybrid model – combining cutting-edge style with comfort, and lasting quality. You can really see the connection in the trainer’s bright red perforated leather and black suede upper with contrasting red stitching, echoing the red and black interior option for the CT 200h F Sport.
Jason Crompton, Walsh’s Head of Design, took his starting point from the CT 200h’s interior design and soft and supple leather upholstery. In fact, the creative team chose to use upholstery leather for the trainer, to recreate the luxurious feel of the car’s cabin.
Crompton added: “Here we had a small, hand-made shoe business working together with an automotive giant, yet there was a nice duality between our shared approach to craftsmanship and luxury detail. This made it a rewarding project for us to work on and we are very pleased with the results, which draw directly on the inspiration provided by the Lexus CT F Sport.”
The Walsh – Lexus shoes are manufactured – like all the Walsh range – by hand in the brand’s Bolton factory. It is a company with a history, founded in 1961 by Norman Walsh, the son of a cobbler, who in turn worked on high-profile sporting commissions, including making the running shoes worn by Roger Bannister when he broke the four-minute mile. Norman Walsh Footwear has a great heritage of ground-breaking design, designing and making sports shoes for elite sports, including the first mountain and fell running shoes, and collaborating with fashion and creative brands.
The CT 200h F Sport is the sports-inspired version of Lexus’ self-charging hybrid luxury hatchback, marked out by its sharper styling and exclusive features like the metallic black mesh for the spindle grille, unique 17-inch alloy wheels, aluminium pedals and leather upholstery.
The combination has worked brilliantly on these shoes for sure! Act fast if you want to get yours. We don’t think they’ll be hanging around for long.
The Lexus trainer by Walsh is available in a strictly limited edition to order from the Walsh website at www.normanwalshuk.com.