You may have heard of Dr. Martens, but what about NPS? No, not the flawed customer experience metric but the shoe brand which made Solovair for not only their own range but Dr. Martens as well.
When Dr. Martens was brought to the UK from Germany by shoe manufacturer R. Griggs Group Ltd, they partnered with NPS in 1960 to use the Solovair sole combined with a Griggs upper until the mid 1990s.
The Solovair name was trademarked and NPS continued to produce the boots using the same lasts, leather cutters, and machines while utilising Goodyear welt technology.
NPS (Northamptonshire Productive Society) started as a collective of shoemakers in 1881 yet despite a commitment to craft, they grew into a purpose-built factory on South Street in 1899 and continued to expand.
The brand and factory went through some rough patches but has come out the other end with the same focus on British craftsmanship.