The History Of Barker Shoes

Published: 23rd January 2008
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Barker Shoes was established in 1880 when Arthur Barker set up in Northamptonshire, the heart of shoe-manufacturing in the United Kingdom. As with most companies, Arthur started with a very narrow range of products. The shoe which was particularly popular was the waterproof peg sole boot. These were sought after because of the uniqueness of the waterproof mechanism. Basically, the peg on each boot would swell up as soon as they got wet. These swelled pegs would then protect the sole of the boot, making it completely waterproof!

This special product set the Barker brand up well into the next two centuries and Barker is now a highly reputable and successful company, still producing top quality mens shoes and boots and employing hundreds of skilled craftsmen from around the UK. As demand grew in the 1800s, so did the business and Arthur began to recruit local craftsmen to help satisfy demand for his shoes.

At the turn of the century, the first Barker factory was built, ready to supply all the soldiers of the First World War with boots and shoes. Inbetween the First and Second World Wars, Arthur's three sons decided to get involved with the family business. In 1947, they oversaw the creation of a factory in Earls Barton which further expanded the business into the area of womens shoes. Barker Shoes had become so popular by this time, and the company so successful, that a separate sales company was set up to sell directly to retailers to enable their shoes to penetrate the market further.

More and more factories were built throughout the UK during the 20th Century, including another one in Earls Barton in 1986 which has become one of the finest and largest footwear factories in Europe. Moreover, it is only a stone's throw from the site where Arthur Barker began it all back in 1880! The factory of 1986 is cleverly designed to enable the output of the finest quality mens shoes. For example, as you probably know, natural light is a key ingredient for natural leather grading. The windows in the factory are cleverly positioned to enable the most amount of light to be concentrated onto the shoes after they have been manufactured, so that the Goodyear welted leather shoes mature in the correct way.

Today, Barker shoes are widely recognised throughout the world for their superb quality, durability and comfort. Barker's craftsmen produce approximately 200,000 pairs of shoes every year. They use machines for certain stages in the manufacturing process but every shoe is hand lasted sewn by one of the craftsmen. The formula is so simple but effective: skilled craftsmen combined with fine materials!

Please take some time to visit ShoeNet at You will be able to see that Barker categorise their mens shoes and boots into four ranges: Heritage Range, Professional Range, International Range and Barker 125th Anniversary. The shoes we have on offer cover the bestselling Barker mens boots, oxford shoes, brogue shoes and a selection of dress shoes and fashion shoes.

To go straight through to the Barker Shoes part of our online shoe shop, please click on the following link:

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