Barker Shoes: A True Quality English Shoemaker

Published: 15th February 2008
Views: N/A

Today Barker Shoes are regarded in the English shoe industry as one of the world's finest producers. They sell domestically and export a growing number of pairs internationally to cater for a growing foreign demand. Barker Shoes represent one of around twelve or so select niche English shoemakers that operate in Northamptonshire; other well-known manufacturers in the area include Church's, Loake and Grenson Shoes. To understand how and why Barker Shoes are such high quality, it is worth noting the history of the brand and the philosophy behind the company.

The beginnings of the Barker shoes brand dates back to 1880 when Arthur Barker, a skilled boot maker, started employing craftsmen from the surrounding villages to help expand production of his ever-popular peg-sole boots. At the turn of the century, Arthur Barker invested in a factory premises and was later rewarded with the contract to supply the British Army with boots for the First World War. The Barker Shoes brand increased in strength and popularity on an ongoing basis throughout the first half of the 20th Century and to an extent that a new factory was constructed in 1947 to expand production, including a new line of women's shoes.

The Barker Brand itself set up a dedicated sales company in 1950 to sell directly to retailers. The Philosophy of Arthur Barker was an insistence that the traditional shoe styles, such as brogue and oxford shoes, need not be old-fashioned. It is easy to see from the current collections that this philosophy has been and continues to remain at the heart of their shoe design team. Each of the Barker Shoe collections contains a superb mix of traditional designs and contemporary takes on traditional designs. Barker has also made a distinct effort in recent years to produce contemporary design shoes, but in a way that reflects the traditional English shoemaking methods and quality.

Currently, Barker Shoes craft over 200,000 pairs annually. They can only manage this by having one of the most sophisticated shoe production facilities worldwide. Their current site was constructed from local Northamptonshire brick and stone and is located near the village of Earl's Barton. The factory was designed with innovation in mind. Examples of these features include vast windows that enable large amounts of natural light to enter the craft area which is vital for leather colour grading.

Barker Shoes have maintained their position as one of the leading English shoe brands by staying true to the original philosophy on which the company was started well over a century ago. Today you can find their shoes in select shops and online retailers. has one of the best collections of Barker Shoes on the internet. is owned and managed by one of the most important component suppliers (Livingston & Doughty) to the Northamptonshire shoe industry and has operated for over 100 years.

Report this article Ask About This Article

More to Explore