Blakeys Hob Nails - Protecting Boots for Over a Century

The Story of Blakeys - Hob Nails and Heel & Toe Plates

Blakeys have been around for over a century. But what are they and what's their history? We delve into the story behind an ingenious British innovation.

Blakeys is a British brand of footwear protectors including hob nails, heel and toe plates, and segs.

Vintage Blakeys Advert
Vintage Blakeys Advert

It all started in West Yorkshire in 1880. John Blakey, always on the look out for novel ways of improving the life of footwear, hit up on the idea of hammering protective pieces of metal into the soles of shoes and boots. And so was born a British innovation that still persists to this day.

These segments of metal, or "segs", became extremely popular as people realised they could extend the life of their footwear and so save money. It is said that in the Great War, British soldiers marched on hundreds of tons of Blakeys. Over the years since they were invented, literally millions have been sold. From simple work boots to those worn on military parade, Blakeys have been used on a wide variety of footwear.

Despite the rise of "throwaway fashion" in recent decades, sales of Blakeys are still healthy, especially during the recent recession when people were keen to find ways of prolonging the life of their boots.

In 2014, the Blakeys brand and all casting equipment was acquired from the original manufacturer in Leeds by another British foundry. They now continue the UK production of high quality segs and hob nails that made Blakeys famous.

Blakeys Hob Nails
Blakeys Hob Nails

Today, Blakeys are known for a range of footwear protection items. For those interested in good old-fashioned hob-nails there is a choice of Treble Clover Hob Nails, Flat Top Hob Nails or Textured Boot Studs. Each of these comes in a pack of 26 for the traditional configuration of 13 per boot.

Blakeys Heel and Toe Plates
Blakeys Heel and Toe Plates

For a more substantial offering, Blakeys produce their heel and toe plate sets. These consist of the horseshoe type metal heel plates and the smaller plates for the front toe portion of the sole. All the screws and nails required to fix them to the bottom of your boots are included. Also available are quarter heels.

Blakeys Shoe Protector Segs
Blakeys Shoe Protector Segs

And finally, Blakeys produce their range of shoe protector segs presented in their characteristic bright orange packaging. These come in a wide variety of sizes and there is also a rubber non-marking version.

You can view and buy the entire range of Blakeys hobnails and segs directly from this website.

October 2017