1945- First Generation
1970- Second Generation
2014- Third Generation
The beginning of Dr Insole dates all the way back to the late 1940’s. Having left the army after World War II as Sergeant Major with a bravery medal to his name, Leonard Andrews followed his passion for creativity and the production of goods by attending the Cordwainers Technical College to begin a career in shoe making. Sergeant Majors are known for their excellence and attention to detail, and Leonard did not settle for anything less than this when he embarked on his journey into the shoe business. Very soon, it became clear to everyone that Leonard Andrews had a special talent for making high quality shoes. After gaining further experience through working at various manufacturers across London, Leonard founded his business.
He made a name for himself in the shoe-world as a result of his hard-working and honest attitude, with many people praising him for finishing the job diligently, resulting in some of the finest shoes to be made in London. In fact, Leonard himself became a supplier to a number of hospitals, replicating patients’ feet in order to create a perfect fitting shoe, instead of the standard made shoes previously being provided. He did this by producing a wooden copy of the foot called a last, which is used to mould the leather around to create a well fitting shoe. After retiring, Leonard’s children founded their own businesses. It is here where the shoe production started to match the health needs and requirements of the customers, by producing shoes that would ultimately help with issues such as posture and poor foot gaits. The NHS had regularly been in contact with the Andrews shoe company, asking for custom footwear for the patients. The Andrews took great pleasure in seeing how their work was able to help patients who were facing difficult issues with their feet, such as aches and pain when walking. They were delighted to see the patients walk free of pain once again.
The third generation are determined to keep this legacy going. Wendy, the granddaughter of Leonard Andrews, has taken the reigns of this prestigious family business, along with husband Gary. However, instead of focusing on the production of shoes, Wendy and Gary realised that creating insoles would be a more suitable path to take, in particular for the customers of today. This is because mass production of shoes has led to the public settling for poor fitting shoes that could potentially harm them. Also, due to health cuts, the NHS waiting list is getting longer to offer bespoke shoe and orthotic insole service for patients. Therefore Dr Insole aims to produce perfectly fitting insoles to help fill this gap.
Much of the same techniques and skills that have been passed down by the generations of the family business are still used today to create the insoles at Dr Insole. For example, the casting process that is used today to obtain a mould of the customer’s feet is a very similar process to the one Leonard Andrews used 70 years ago to create the custom shoes. The materials may have changed drastically during this time, but the methods and care taken to create the perfect fit for your feet remain the same. After all this history, Dr Insole continues the values and skills first introduced by Leonard Andrews more than half a century ago.