From contemporary looks inspired by the catwalk to shoes that put growing feet in safe hands, one name says it all: Clarks. The world number one in 'Everyday Footwear', we design, innovate, manufacture and sell more than 55 million pairs of shoes every year.

Operating in over 75 countries we’re already a £1.5 billion business and have ambitious growth plans, as we strengthen our presence in the UK and Republic of Ireland, double the size of our international business and position Clarks as a truly global brand.

While change is a constant and innovation is a Clarks hallmark, we never lose sight of the values that have made us the business we are today. Values that have been central to our success since 1825. We're still privately owned, and we believe in treating customers, partners, suppliers and each other with honesty, integrity and respect. Our heritage inspires us to keep moving forward. Growing and innovating all the time.

There is no other British brand in the current market that you can influence so much – nationally and internationally. This is the greatest challenge, the greatest opportunity, in British fashion/footwear right now. With your help, Clarks will not just dominate, but define the market.

Our history

It began with a flash of inspiration. It was 1825 in the Somerset village of Street and 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!”. And the rest, as they say, is history. A few stitches and a few years later, the sheepskin slipper was born. And so began a remarkable story of vision, innovation and invention; a story that continues to unfold to this day.

  • 1800
  • 1850
  • 1900
  • 1950
  • 2000
1825

Using sheepskin off-cuts from their tannery, brothers James and Cyrus Clark start making a slipper they call the Brown Petersburg.

1841

Sales of the Brown Petersburg are averaging 1,000 pairs a month.

1851

Trading as C & J Clark Limited, Cyrus and James win two awards at the 'Great Exhibition Of The Works Of Industry Of All Nations', an event organized by Prince Albert to showcase modern industrial technology and design.

1863

Named after the patron saint of shoemakers, the Crispin Sewing machine is invented by William Stephens Clark. It not only revolutionises the manufacture of footwear, it’s also a giant step forward in improving working conditions.

1883

The Hygienic range is launched and features the first shoe to be specifically designed to fit the shape of the foot.

1890

The female ankle is suddenly on display and shoes that show them at their best are a must-have for every elegant lady of the time. C & J Clark are happy to oblige.

1936

The first Clarks press advertisement appears. It features the chorus girls of Charles B Cochran's Revue wearing the 'Colorado' sandal.

1940

The Clarks innovators invent a foot gauge that accurately measured the length, width and depth of children's feet, helping to deliver the best fit for growing feet.

1949

Inspired by a suede boot he saw in Cairo's Old Bazaar, the Clarks Desert Boot is designed by Nathan Clark and debuted at the Chicago Shoe Fair.

1950

The Clarks Desert Boot goes on sale. Its crepe sole and clean lines make it an instant hit and it's acclaimed as the world's first smart casual shoe.

1960s

Inspired by a moccasin made by a company called Sioux, the Wallabee was originally called Grasshopper. With a little help from the largest billboard ever seen, its leap to fame in North America is followed by a worldwide success that continued for years to come.

1969

The Commandos range for boys is launched. School shoes that come complete with a free badge, the launch is supported by an advertising campaign inspired by the comic book illustrations of the time.

1975

Polyveldt construction is launched. It features lightweight, flexible construction and a distinctive design that people still love now.

1984

The first shop branded simply 'Clarks' opens in Tooting, South London.

1987

The Magic Steps range for girls makes its debut. The innovative design features secret charms hidden in the heels and the shoes quickly become the talk of the playground.

1994

The All Terrain Leisure (ATL) sandal is launched. Built for durability and comfort, they are the first sandals to feature Active Air underfoot cushioning. The advertising campaign features the British adventurer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, as the "Face of ATL".

2005

Westway Distribution Centre in Street opens after 12 months of tests on its highly automated distribution system. The roof is the largest single expanse in Europe, at 30,000 square metres in area. It can hold up to 6 million pairs of at one time and despatch 200,000 pairs per day.

2007

The Woodnote court shoe, originally designed in the 1950s, is pulled from the archives and updated to create Bombay Light. The updated style is a sell-out success.

2007

'Fun Built In' takes another step forward in the shape of a range of toys and characters that are hidden in the heel of selected kids' shoes. They include Daisy and Jack Nano.

2013

Kids' shoes with 'Fun Built In' come with a code that unlocks a downloadable app and gives boys and girls access to a world of fun.

NOW

Somewhere in the world 105 pairs of Clarks shoes are sold every 60 seconds as we continue on our journey to deliver effortless British style to more and more consumers in more and more places around the world.

Clarks today

Clarks ambitious plans for the future are built upon the strong foundations of our brand, our heritage and our unrivalled expertise. They’re also built on strong current performance, as these key facts illustrate.

191 years of history
55 million pairs of shoes sold
£1.5 billion in sales
75 countries
1,500 stores worldwide
14,000 employees

Lasting principles

What we know and how we think. Who we are, where we're from and how we behave. These are the inspirations that we value as we build brand and business.

We are feet experts

Trust in our expertise. Leonardo da Vinci described the human foot as "a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art." And to make sure we can look after it better than anyone else, we've studied it. From the cradle to old age. We've looked at the way it develops. We've scrutinised its biomechanics, the way it moves at work, rest and play. What we know is what makes us experts. What we know is what will always use to get things right.

Use our expertise.

We learn from how you live

Knowledge is power. And what we've learned from observing the world about us is what gives us the power to interpret the lives, loves and lifestyles of others into answers to their needs. Practical as well as emotional. And we will keep on learning, sometimes adapting but always staying true to our craft and our responsibilities.

Be relevant.

Everybody should wear good shoes

Spread the word. The right shoes may not help you conquer the world, as someone once suggested, but they can help you take life's ups and downs in your stride. So, stylish or comfortable or an effortless combination of both; fashionable or functional or a seamless blend of the two, we will always make the right shoes, good shoes, available. To as many people as possible in as many places as possible.

Make shoes make a difference.

The shoe is the star

Do what we do best. Times change. Today's headline story is tomorrow's old news. Fashions come and go. In the blink of a cursor, technology transforms what we do and how we think. But Clarks will always be about the shoes. They're in our DNA. They're the bedrock of what sets us apart; a symbol of who we are and what we do best.

Get the shoes right. The rest will follow.

Create without compromise

Do the right thing. Our craft is at the heart of what we do and what we deliver. Our skills and our specialisms may move with the times. Our creativity and our vision may evolve. But they will always be underpinned by a commitment to doing things properly. No quick fixes. No cutting corners. We will always do what's right, not what's easiest, fastest or cheapest.

Make your vision matter.

Find the beauty in simplicity

Simple is best. We're a big, global company. But complex doesn't have to be complicated. Process shouldn't impede progress. We will embrace simplicity, encourage accountability and trust in the expertise of our decision makers. Finding the beauty in simplicity isn't always easy. But it is always possible.

Keep things simple.

We will innovate

Think ahead. Stand still and the world moves on without you. That's why we will always innovate. That's why we will continually seek out new ways to be better and to do better. We will never just keep pace, we will set the pace. The benchmarks will be ours and while we lead where others may follow, our ambition must be that they will always be one step behind.

Find a better way.

Create lasting value

Share our worth. We've been established for almost 200 years. And we're still going strong, evolving as a brand and as a business. To our customers in all four corners of the globe, to our employees and to our shareholders we will deliver lasting value as an essential ingredient of sustainable, responsible growth, always handing on brand and business in a better place.

Grow sustainably and responsibly.

Founded on a partnership

Value our partnerships. Our story began with two brothers - Cyrus and James Clark - working together. And partnerships remain central to our success. There are the partnerships between us and our colleagues around the world; between us and our suppliers and collaborators. But perhaps above all, are the partnerships we forge with our consumers. Enabling us to make a unique contribution to the quality of their lives, they're the partnerships we must value most.

Work together.

Our founders were pioneers

Challenge the everyday. We always think as pioneers. We never rest on what we know, nor accept the status quo. We think differently and do things differently. We learn from our mistakes as well as our successes. This is our industry and we will always define it.

Lead don't follow.

Clarks is a family company

Build our future on our past. Established in 1825 by Cyrus and James, Clarks has been in the same family's safe hands ever since and family values like responsibility, respect and integrity are an enduring part of our success. They're not only a link to the past, they will also be a bridge to the future as Clarks continues to be a special place to work.

Be welcoming and helpful.

The future is authentic

Celebrate who we are. Our home is in Street, Somerset. Our story has unfolded with the passage of time but our origins and our sense of place are a constant. We are still owned by the family that founded us and proudly known throughout the world by the family name, the principles and traditions that it stands for.

Be real.

Read about our Behaving Responsibly Programme
Find out more