Browse the entire range of Clarks Shoes, Boots and Sandals
It began with a flash of inspiration. It was 1825 in the tiny English village of Street, in the county of Somerset. James Clark was busy working at the tannery owned by his brother, Cyrus. Among the sheepskin rugs, the off-cuts and cast-offs were piling up when James had a brainwave. "Slippers!" he exclaimed and the Brown Petersburg was born. Sales were soon averaging more than 1000 pairs a month.
Within a few years the brother's pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit was rewarded with two awards at the 'Great Exhibition Of The Works Of Industry Of All Nations'. Held in London's Hyde Park and with an average daily attendance of 43,000, the event was organized by Prince Albert to showcase modern industrial technology and design.
And so began a remarkable story of vision, innovation and invention; a story that continues to unfold to this day.
Following in the pioneering footsteps of Cyrus and James, over the years we've registered more than 100 patents.
Notching up more firsts than any other name in footwear, we've developed countless benchmark technologies and pioneered countless innovations. From the Crispin sewing machine - invented in the late 1860s by William Stephens Clark - to the Hygienic range, launched in 1883 and the first ever shoes actually designed to fit the shape of the foot.
From the footgauge we invented in the 1940s to accurately measure the length, width and depth of children's feet to its 21st century successor that uses state-of-the- art, digital technology to help us deliver the best fit. From Nathan Clark's iconic Desert Boot to the use of advanced, laser driven technology to create 3D prototypes from digital data. From the ground-breaking Active Air underfoot cushioning to Active Air Vent, the appliance of science that delivers fresh air for feet with every ten steps. The list goes on, just like our passion for innovation and invention.
We employ a team of designers from all four corners of the globe. They seek inspiration from the world's fashion capitals and catwalks, from the melting pot of modern Britain as well as from the Clarks styles - more than 22,000 of them - that are stored under the watchful eye of our archivists.
Our designer's creations are unique. Pen, paper and computer aided design - CAD for short - play their part. So too do the time-honoured traditions of the master shoemaker. Take the last. Every new style takes shape around a bespoke wooden last that's hand-carved by our own last makers. A three-dimensional model of the human foot, it's used by our designers and shoemakers as a drawing board for the refinements, finishing touches and flourishes that help us create shoes that feel as good as they look.
The designer's vision complete, state-of-the-art rapid prototyping creates the master used to produce a real prototype. Using leathers and suedes carefully selected by our leather workers, each prototype is crafted, hand-stitched by machine and perfect in every detail. From fit to fit for purpose, every prototype must pass as many as 50 punishing tests in the lab as well on real feet in real situations.
Only one in three designs meets our exacting demands and is good enough to bear the Clarks name.
Since the 'Brown Petersburg' slipper made its debut almost 200 years ago, our footwear has been catching the eye and capturing the imagination of people in all four corners of the globe.
Emerging from the buttoned-up days of the Victorian era, we created stylish shoes that showed a ladies ankle at its best. In the 1920s there was a t-bar pump tailor-made for the Jazz Age and the newly liberated women who were kicking up their heels on both sides of the Atlantic. In the 30s, the chorus line of Charles B Cochran's Revue stepped into the spotlight in Clarks Colorado sandals; in the 40s, with leather in short supply during World War II, we designed a shoe with a unique, hinged sole made from dried beechwood.
1950 saw the arrival of the Clarks Desert Boot. Designed by Nathan Clark and modelled on a shoe made in the bazaars of Cairo, it was a world first in smart casual footwear and, over the decades, has been the footwear of choice for everyone from teddy boys and mods to Parisienne revolutionaries, pop stars and Hollywood A-listers.
Not only that. The purity of its form is a constant source of inspiration for our designers. Also the essence of cool, then as now, is the Wallabee®. Inspired by a moccasin made by a company called Sioux, it was styled around the original Clarks nature form last, made its debut in the mid-1960s and to this day effortlessly bridges the divide between cult and classic. As enduringly cool is the Polyveldt. Launched in the 1970s, 40 years after it first appeared it's back by public demand, re-engineered but still instantly recognisable.
And throughout our history we've happily worked and collaborated with like minds- people who share our passion for style, quality and craft. The roll call of names in the last 50 years alone reads like a guide to the best of British and includes photographer, David Bailey, and model, Jean Shrimpton- legendary fashion designer, Hardy Amies- Eley Kishomoto- Foot Patrol- the 'queen of prints', Orla Kiely, Musto, world leaders in the field of fit-for-purpose performance clothing and Norton, makers of some of motorcycling's most iconic machines.