Product Type: Clarks Hunter Original
Newest Review: ... trainers which luckily fitted well and have now become the rain shoes Once back home I decided to email Clarks and explain the situati... more
Clarks Shoes & Sandals
Member Name: jo1976
Clarks Shoes & Sandals
Date: 23/01/11, updated on 10/10/13 (65 review reads)
Advantages: Good quality, long lasting, comfortable footwear
For many years, I have associated Clarks shoes with sensible, comfortable footwear that might not always be the most fashionable and up to date styles but are certainly a practical option. Clarks themselves seem to be trying to escape that image, judging by recent television adverts emphasising Clarks' fun side but I actually think they should embrace their practical image as sometimes that is precisely what you are looking for in footwear and I can always be confident that Clarks shoes will offer a practical, value for money product somewhere within their fairly extensive range.
As a mum of three young boys, I seem to be in and out of Clarks shops all too frequently, particularly buying children's footwear. I have always used Clarks for that initial pair of shoes once the boys have taken their first wobbly little steps. Clarks have quite a wide range of pre-walking shoes available too, including simple 'pram shoes' without any real support and soft leather shoes for both the crawling and cruising stages, to provide some protection for tiny little feet. Personally, I've always believed that it is best for little ones to be bare-footed for the cruising stage, so that they are able to literally 'find their feet' before making them adjust to the sensation of footwear. I have bought a couple of basic baby pram shoes from Clarks over the years, mainly for a bit of protection and extra warmth over Winter months, but find that they get incredibly grubby and tend to lose their shape very quickly as they are much softer than proper walking shoes.
Clarks First Shoes range offers a good choice for parents of newly tottering toddlers and comes in some fairly unisex designs, as well as some more feminine and boyish options to choose from. I particularly like the customer service that accompanies that all so important first pair of proper shoes. As well as the measuring and the look of pride on a little one's face as they point at their brightly coloured feet (and walk as though they are stepping out on to the moon!), Clarks will take a free Polaroid shot of the little one as a lovely momento to mark the occasion. By the time my youngest is ready for this first pair, I'm sure they will be using digital cameras as the old Polaroids do seem a bit archaic nowadays but I certainly hope they don't do away with the service all together.
Clarks staff will undertake a proper fitting of children's feet, measuring both length and width accurately, and will always ensure that specific designs do actually fit comfortably, rather than assuming that they will be okay based on the sizing alone. For this service, I do think the price of their children's shoes offers good value for money. The width fittings range from E-H but, unfortunately, not all styles are available in all fittings. With my sons having very slim E fitting feet we often find that we are very limited in the choice of styles available and often have to purchase a slightly wider F fitting shoe instead. It is possible to order a specific pair and size of shoes online but these have to be delivered to a Clarks store so that the fitting can be checked by a member of staff. I'm never quite organised enough to make use of that service though but it is useful to be aware of the option.
I really can't fault the actual quality of the children's shoes at all and I have never had cause to return any single pair of shoes to Clarks which is pretty impressive, given the number of pairs I've purchased over the years. I always find that the shoes last for as long as it takes for a child to grow out of the size, although sometimes that isn't very long at all! I've never needed to replace the shoes due to wear and tear or poor quality, regardless of what my boys have subjected them to! The shoes are not cheap in price though, with the smallest and cheapest designs starting from around £26-£28, going well over £30 per pair as the sizing increases. I wouldn't consider buying cheaper shoes for the boys though, other than for pairs to be worn maybe once or twice for a specific occasion when the potential longevity is less of an issue. For day to day shoes, it has to be Clarks!
As a child myself, I was always sporting Clarks on my feet and will always bear them in mind for my shoes even now as an adult. I only wear flat shoes - never heels- so I find quite a nice range of options to choose from at Clarks. Again, the quality and comfort of the range does come at a price. My husband's last pair of Clarks shoes actually cost over £80, for example, although those were fairly substantial lined and waterproof Winter shoes that he wears day in and day out. I do believe that, when it comes to decent footwear, it is worth paying the extra for a pair of shoes that are going to last and be comfortable to wear and Clarks shoes certainly fulfill that criteria, even if they are not the sexiest styles of shoes around!
For practical, long-lasting footwear and for decent quality children's shoes I would certainly recommend Clarks and expect to be buying them for many years to come.
Summary: A trusted brand of quality shoes