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A Brief History of Clarks Shoes

A family business for over 179 years, Clarks Shoes has led the way in shoe manufacturing, becoming one of the leading brands of shoes in the world. The success of Clarks Shoes can be attributed to the family behind the company. They have been, and are still to this day, committed to producing a high quality product for every man, woman and child in the world. Their dedication and hard work, coupled with their awareness of market trends and future technologies, has ensured the success and longevity of the Clarks Shoe Company. Getting its starts from humble beginnings, Clarks Shoes quickly and effectively moved forward, giving the company a place in the shoe industry for almost 200 years, surpassing any other.

In 1825 England, a man named Cyrus Clark decided to tan sheepskin rugs, and inadvertently set the wheels in motion for what is known as the world’s #1 shoe brand, Clark Shoes. In 1830, Cyrus’s brother James was to credit for creating the first sheepskin slippers using Cyrus’s tanned sheepskin. With the purchase of the newly invented Singer Sewing machine in 1856, the brothers were able to ease the assembly of their sheepskin slippers for their consumers, and production began to thrive.

Soon after, William Clark introduced a line of foot friendly shoes named the Hygienic Line that followed the natural shape of a foot. This creation would soon prove to be a significant one, as the foot friendly shoe became what was expected of any shoe that Clarks produces. In the early 20th century, John, Roger, and Alice Clark respond to changing fashions by paying close attention to the development of women’s shoes. Little did they know how large a market this would eventually become.

Following the end of Second World War, the 1940’s became a time for Clarks Shoes to be seen around the world. This led Nathan Clark to create the Desert Boot in the early 1950’s, influenced by the marketplace in Cairo. These boots popularity came from their simple comfort, and attitude. The Desert Boot was followed closely by Lance Clark’s creation named the Wallabee. The moccasin style shoe had a large fan base, and later came to be known as a Clark Classic.

The 1960’s proved to be a noteworthy time for Clarks Shoes. Their foot friendly, form fitting shoe set the standard for many shoe designs, including the children’s shoe market. The Clarks Shoe Company enjoyed much success in this market. While always keeping an eye on the future, Clarks continued to conduct technological research that led to the discovery of polyurethane as a soling material. It is lightweight, and indestructible. P.U. technology, as it was called, continues to be used today in many of the Clarks Shoes, including Active Air, and Springer’s. This new technology, coupled with the addition of air cushioning in the soles, secured the Clarks shoe brand as a one of a kind, comfortable shoe.

Today, the Clarks Shoe brand remains a leader in the shoe industry. They are the #1 shoe retailer in the U.K., as well as the leading children’s shoe brand in the U.K. Due to their global expansion; Clarks Shoes is the world’s #1 shoe brand. Clarks Shoes currently produces about 41 million pairs of shoes per year. Worldwide the company employs over 12,000 men and women, who tirelessly work to produce the high quality, comfortable shoes that Clarks has been known to provide.