Herring Shoes

Rugby World Cup 2023 preview

1 September 2023

With the Rugby World Cup about to kick-off in France, we thought it would be a good time to remind ourselves of the rugby ambassadors we have worked with over the years, with the newest being our very own current England squad member Joe Marchant. As an English business, I am afraid all our ambassadors wore the red rose of England but that’s not to say we are not appreciative of the talents of our worldwide rugby community, not least the hosts of this year’s tournament.

With Herring’s roots embedded in Cheltenham, just a short distance away from Gloucester, the rugby fraternity were always on our doorstep. Our very British shoes and boots seemed to appeal to the Twickenham-bound set too, including former captain Will Carling OBE. Given the captain’s role at a young age, Will played in two World Cup tournaments, taking them to the final in 1991. More into cycling, leadership mentoring and his family now, Will has been on board with Herring for several years, and is a fan of our desert boot and monk shoe styles.

Internationals-turned-TV pundits David Flatman and Ugo Monye are also keen on a bit of Herring footwear with the former favouring Oxfords and the latter a big sneaker fan.

But we also have a very own World Cup winner in our midst. Hooker Steve Thompson MBE was one of the heroes who brought the Webb Ellis Cupo ‘Bill’ back to English soil from Australia in 2003. The joy that created 20 years ago was incredible, not just for people watching on their televisions, but to the crowds that turned out at Heathrow for the squad’s return and the thousands that filled the streets for the bus tour.

Thompson’s place in the team, after just 18 months of international duty, was pivotal. His pace and aggression made him a key player for the entire tournament. He bucked the trend for short hookers. He was tall, hefty, strong, but mobile. He was also fearless. Thompson went on to win 73 caps for England and was part of the beefiest front row that had taken to the field for the British & Irish Lions on their tour to New Zealand in 2005.

In terms of shoes, Thompson likes to dress up and dress down. His favourite Herring shoes suit his wide feet. He likes the Murlo II moccasins for chilling out, our Kirkby Chelsea boots for smarter occasions, and the Aigle Sonricker walking boots for days on his feet.

A generation later and Ben Moon (below) joined our Look Who’s Wearing ranks. With Herring now based in Devon, the prop was just up the road in Exeter where he plied his trade as a loosehead with the Chiefs. While a World Cup outing evaded him, he still pulled on the white shirt for England eight times and is a local hero. His shoe choice was delightfully Devonian from our Fowey deck shoes for days down by the water to tweedy rugged boots on the farm and calf grain brogues boots for smart occasions.

More recently, we have introduced current England centre/wing Joe Marchant to our shoes. We were delighted to see he had secured his place on the squad before he settles in France to play for Stade Francais next season. As with so many of our rugby friends, Joe likes to look good and dress up when he can. He really likes a formal shoe with our Sussex Oxfords and Carnaby brogues in his collection.

All these men are internationals that we are proud of being associated with. While they all have slightly different styles, they appreciate a well-made shoe and understand a sense of occasion.

As Joe says: “A lot of the time in rugby, you are going to great places, representing your club or your country, so I think it’s really important to look right.”

Go well Joe and all the others in an England shirt and any other coloured jersey for that matter. We cannot wait for this 10th Rugby World Cup begin. Let’s hope it is a good one. Enjoy the next seven weeks.

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