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  • Writer's pictureLaura Pew

'Made in Bolton' Community Clothing Introduce Legendary Running Shoe Brand Norman Walsh

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

Community Clothing is to launch trainers for men and women made in collaboration with cult British sports shoe makers Walsh. Norman Walsh has been handcrafting shoes for a huge range of sports at their Bolton factory since 1961 and have developed a cult following amongst athletes and trainer enthusiasts alike.

Patrick Grant, the Community Clothing founder, worked with the Walsh team re-designing a 1980’s running shoe from their extensive archive. The new unisex style, named ‘Beacon’ after Beacon Fell, a popular hill near Community Clothing’s HQ in Blackburn, will launch in five colourways across a broad range of sizes. The new trainers will be introduced in limited numbers but Grant is hopeful that this will become a longstanding collaboration.

Patrick Grant comments: It’s hard to say exactly why I love Walsh so much. It might be their amazing colours, it might be that for years they were the only shoe worn by serious fell runners (and those folks are cool), or it might be that their factory, tucked away down a little back street on Bolton, is one of the most idiosyncratic still operating in Britain. I’m so happy that after years as a fan I’ve finally got to work with them.”

The Community Clothing Beacon trainers are priced at £95 and launch on Friday 29th September at

About Norman Walsh:

Norman Walsh was born in Bolton in 1931. Norman’s father was a cobbler and aged 14 Norman followed him into the profession at the legendary local firm of Foster & Co, creator of the very first running shoe back in 1898. His precocious skill as a shoemaker was instantly recognised and it was Norman who was asked to make the track spikes for the Great Britain team at the 1948 Olympics. Six years later it was Norman who made the shoes that propelled Roger Bannister to his first sub four minute mile. It was also a foot shod in a Norman made boot that scored the winning goal in the 1958 FA Cup Final. Norman had achieved mythical status as a maker of sporting shoes and in 1961 he left Fosters and set up under his own name in a small factory in a quiet side street in Bolton. At this time, there was only one shoe that the serious fell or trail runner would wear, and that was the Walsh PB. Originally designed in 1970, and named after famed British fell runner Pete Bland, it remains legendary in the sporting shoe world to this day.

About Community Clothing:

Community Clothing is a British clothing brand and social enterprise founded in 2016 by award winning clothing designer and judge on BBC One’s The Great British Sewing Bee Patrick Grant. Community Clothing does good things for people and communities in the UK, creating jobs where they’re needed most. The mission is simple; to sell great quality clothes at prices people can afford; to make these clothes in the best British factories from the finest natural materials; and by doing this to create work and support skilled jobs in regions of the UK that need them most. In short, Community Clothing sells great quality clothes, at affordable prices and consequently creates loads of fantastic jobs in places that really need them. To date Community Clothing has created 279,000 hours of work and supported 1,880 jobs. Community Clothing has a network of 42 partner factories all over the UK, located predominantly in the Northwest, Yorkshire, the East Midlands and South Wales. Community Clothing has developed a unique business model that keeps costs super low, enabling the brand to produce clothes in the very best UK factories from the best materials, and still sell them at affordable prices. The unique business model utilises off-peak production, creates seasonless, brilliant basics, supports ultra local supply chains and promotes radical simplicity.

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