As little as five years ago, men with bigger than average feet struggled to find shoes in sizes 12 and above. Specialist shops were perhaps not as fashion conscious as mainstream shops, and as a result shoe shopping was a chore. Nowadays however, more aspirational brands have realised that our shoe sizes are increasing and they want a share of that market.
Large Shoes from Big Brands
Brands such as Adidas, Base London, Birkenstock, DC – brands which are household names, are now producing bigger shoes, so we thought now would be a good chance to learn a little more about some of these prolific companies, as well as the larger shoes they supply.
We have all heard of Adidas right? But how many of you knew they are actually a German company founded in 1924 by two brothers in their mother’s kitchen? Surprising huh? Another interesting fact was that one of the brothers, Rudolph Dassler, left Adidas, or, as it was known then, Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik in 1948 to embark on his own company. The name of that company…..Puma. What a successful family! Adidas started to get noticed in 1936 when world renowned US sprinter Jesse Owens agreed to wear the Dassler brother’s shoes during the Olympics. A better endorsement would be hard to find. After Owens phenomenal success in the Olympics, leading athletes were desperate to wear these wonder shoes. Adidas stayed within the Dassler family until 1987 when the company was sold to French businessman Bernard Tapie. It was then sold again in 1993 to Robert Louis-Dreyfus , until, in 1997, it was acquired by the Salomon Group. Since then it has gone from strength to strength. It acquired Reebok in 2005, and has signed sports deals to become the official sportswear provider for some of the biggest sports teams in the world. Its shoe technology has hit new heights, and its future looks very strong indeed. As you would expect, Adidas supply large sports shoes, in sizes 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19. Categories include large basketball boots
, Indoor Court Shoes
, Astro Shoes
, Rugby Boots
and Large Trainers
Anyone who has ever owned a pair of Birkenstocks will tell you they are the ultimate sandals. Practical, comfortable, and on trend, Birkenstocks have become the must have footwear over the last 10 years. But where did it all begin? Believe it or not, Birkenstocks were founded in 1897 in Germany. The thing at this time which made the shoes uniquely different was the fact that they were made to work with the shape of your feet, rather than against them. They were the first shoes which followed the foot’s contours, as opposed to being flat, as was the traditional way at that time. By 1925 the name and the shoes had made their way around Europe, by 1967 they found their first American importers. Today, Birkenstocks are available in over 400 styles, although have always remained loyal to their contoured footbed. Never a company to miss out on an opportunity, Birkenstock now manufacture their famous sandals in sizes 12, 13, 14 and 15.
Founded in 1993 in California, DC shoes are synonymous with skaters and snowboarders and similar action sports. In 2004, having grown substantially, the company was acquired by Quicksilver for a staggering $87 million. Many leading stars of the skating world still wear DC shoes, which has meant that they have never gone out of fashion.
DC’s distinctive look is instantly recognisable. Thankfully for men with feet over a size 11, DC supply and manufacture a large range of their skate footwear in sizes 12, 13, 14 and 15.
Dunlop shoes actually started their life as tyres! In 1888 John Boyd Dunlop invented the very first pneumatic tyre. The rubber developed for the tyre was then used for a variety of products, including golf balls and tennis rackets. Dunlop shoes came about in 1927, and were made popular, as so many footwear brands are, by a major sporting star of the time. Fred Perry wore the now famous ‘Green Flash’ tennis shoes which are still selling today in huge numbers. This proves once again the classic designs never go out of fashion. As well as the ever popular tennis shoes, Dunlop now manufacture squash, badminton, golf and tennis shoes.
For those men who don’t want to miss out on a design classic, Dunlop Green Flash
are available in sizes 12, 13, 14 and 15.
Quite possibly the most iconic boot of all time, Dr Martens have been worn for generations by teenagers and adults alike. The boots were born from a collaboration of two existing companies – the Griggs family of Northampton, boot makers since 1901, and German inventors Dr Maertens and Dr Funck who had recently developed a revolutionary ‘air cushioned’ sole. On 1st April 1960, the collaboration led to the birth of the Dr Marten boot. Perhaps the most iconic era for Dr Martens was during the 60’s and 70’s where skinheads wore them almost as part of their working class uniform. Since then, they have always to some extent been associated with anti-establishment youth culture. Of course, they are also simply a design classic.
Whilst Dr Martens now make sandals, shoes, wellies and clothes, it is the original boot
which they will always be remembered for. Available up to size 15.
Hi-Tec are a British company (although the headquarters are now in Amsterdam), founded in 1974 by Frank van Wezel. Interestingly, their first shoe was designed specifically for squash, a sport which was hitting new heights in the 70’s. Following on from the success of the Hi-Tec Squash, the company went on to design a variety of sports shoes including running shoes and hiking boots. In fact, Hi-Tec now manufacture over 500 different products, which are sold to more than 80 countries worldwide.
Whilst Hunter have been an established and highly respected company for more than 150 years, they have really seen a massive increase in their profile over the last 10 years, with Hunter wellies being the must have wardrobe item. Hunter has always prided itself on its Britishness. In fact, it has Royal warrants as the suppliers of waterproof footwear to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Surprisingly, whilst Hunter wellies are uniquely British, the founder of the company was in fact an American, Henry Lee Norris, who founded the North British Rubber Company (later to be changed to Hunter) in 1856.
During both World Wars Hunter played a leading role in supplying their wellies to the troops, further earning their place in British history.
Whilst no longer based in Scotland, Hunter are perhaps more part of the British fashion scene than ever before. With their boots available in a huge range of colours and styles, they appeal to both the fashion conscious festival goers and the country gentry….including our very own Royals.
New Balance was founded in 1906 in Boston by British immigrant Jerlon M Byrd. Its primary aim was to provide footwear to workers which would enable them to stand for longer. In 1938 its first running shoe was developed…slowly it was becoming the company we are familiar with today. In 1972 the company was brought by Jim Davis. Since then New Balance have strived to create the best performing sports footwear whilst retaining their iconic styling. Unlike many of its competitors, New Balance have made the decision to retain manufacturing within the US and the UK, rather than outsource to Asia. They also pride themselves on providing the best fit, which means their footwear is available in wider and larger sizes.
The list of distinguished companies now recognising the need for larger shoes is growing and growing. This list really is the tip of the iceberg. It’s reassuring to know that as our feet continue to get bigger, so too does our choice in footwear.