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Clarks shoes fell apart, what happened to quality?

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I have always bought Clarks shoes and 58 years after national service, I still stick to the "wear them - polish them" philosophy. I have quite a few pairs and wear them infrequently.  Recently however, the sole and heel has started coming away from a virtually unworn pair and the welt just peeled away altogether.

They offered me £10 which I refused...

The manager of a Clarks shoe shop told me that they had had problems with some of the materials on that type of shoe and after speaking to Customer services, they offered me £10 which I refused.

I returned the shoes to the Clarks shoe shop as requested and following complaints to the Chief Executive, they reluctantly increased the offer to £30.

A pair of shoes I am disinclined to accept this latest offer either as it would cost me at least £60 to get a new pair and that is virtually what they were.

They did initially have a moan about the age of the shoes, but they are only a few years old and as it happens totally unworn.  I have much older, cheaper, leather shoes which are still perfect condition. After all this fiasco I doubt seriously if I will ever wear Clarks shoes again.

I have since asked them to keep the shoes so that they can be returned to me, but I doubt if they will, in which case I will take this to Trading Standards or the small claims court.  I am as impressed with Clarks customer service as I am with the shoes.

Has anyone else had a similar experience Clarks shoes?

By: Bouncer


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Married to a flapper

Married to a flapper

My father in law was the male equivalent of "Almeda Marcos" and had a wardrobe full of Clarke shoes, some of which he had worn only once or twice. When he died, my husband 'inherited' about 15 pairs and his brother in law a few less. Little did they know that these shoes, still with unsoiled soles would drop to bits at the most inconvenient moments. My husband has thrown away about 6 pairs already and has checked the other pairs and discovered that there are more "on their way out". He has now lost all confidence with wearing them out and about as he doesn't want to "flap down the street" as has happened on more than one occasion. He was delighted therefore to see the section on BBC's Watchdog about being offered vouchers, however, to date he has been unable to find out how to send off the shoes to get the voucher. I guess this is just another empty promise, however, his experience has made him absolutely determined NEVER to set foot in a pair of Clarks shoes ever again.
Married to a flapper
6th Dec 18 08:58

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hutch

hutch

Took my shoes out of the wardrobe where they had been all the summer as I wear sandals during the rest of year, as I was removing the laces to clean the shoes for the coming winter I was amazed that the uppers came completely away from the soles. Will be returning the shoes to Clarks shoes in Street on Friday for their comments. Will keep you posted.
hutch
28th Nov 18 21:32

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Stillgame

Stillgame

My experiece mirrors yours exactly - well not quite - I have now thrown out about 6 pairs of Clarks shoes that have just fallen apart.

I used to work for TNT who deliver shoes to Clarks Stores. One of their assistants told me that there had been a major problem with many of the shoes made by one of their manufactureres as the "wrong" glue had been used. She told me that staff had been told not to offer refunds and that if I complained I would not get one.

Fortunately, the last pair of virtually unworn Clarks shoes that literally fell into two pieces I did not throw out and I will be posting them off to Watchdog. A perfect example.

Clarks need to be exposed for what they are - a retailer that sells shoes not fit for puposes and then tries to cover up the disgrace. Nothing short of a major retail scandal.

T
Stillgame
24th Nov 18 06:33

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Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.

Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.

...and still no mention on Watchdog website 3 days after the programme - bbc.co.uk/watchdog
Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.
23rd Nov 18 19:09

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Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.

Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.

This finally featured on Watchdog this week - after 6+ years of countless thousands of internet - blogs - and SUCCESS! - the reporter said that Clarks have agreed a "voucher" with no proof of purchase required no matter when the shoes were purchased. Great - OR IS IT? No details were given on how to claim this voucher, what it consisted of, how long it would be valid etc etc etc. There are still no details online, Clarks do not respond to emails, NOR DOES WATCHDOG !!! An empty gesture methinks, just to make Clarks appear to be taking notice at last. They are not.
Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.
23rd Nov 18 17:09

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grumpyoldwoman

grumpyoldwoman

I can't believe this is still going on. I don't really buy Clark's shoes now because I had a pair that fell apart years ago. They were obviously summer shoes, but I was told I should have been wearing them all year!

I would have thought they had either sorted the problem out or gone bankrupt by now.
grumpyoldwoman
23rd Nov 18 08:35

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Phil-S

Phil-S

Yes, I too have some crummy, or do I mean crumby, Clarks shoes.
Very expensive, nice leather, didn't use for about a year, stored them in the shoe rack, walk outside in them and the soles stuck to the driveway. They literally crumbled away. I could not believe that something like a Clarks shoe, a household name, could simply rot.
Just watched Watchdog (thank you 22nov2018) and Clarks admittance that their shoes rot and it's due to polyurethane hydrolysing. As a professional chemist and lately electrical engineer, I have never heard such rubbish. Polyurethane is one of the hardest-wearing polymers going. It is used in paints and varnishes (Floor paints, tough varnishes), rigid thermal insulation, but in particular, it is used to insulate electrical cables that have to stand up to wear and tear in industrial situations. No polyurethane cable would meet testing standards and approvals if it failed like that. So my view is that there is something radically wrong with Clark's polyurethane and the chances are that this is either some cheapskate formulation or it has been adulterated. I'm guessing, but possibly Clarks, like Dyson and many other British companies, have caved in to cheap imports and gone down the same route. Clarks England is not the same as Made in England by Clarks
Phil-S
22nd Nov 18 21:28

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William S

William S

Hello, I have had exactly the same problem, after no satisfaction from the local Clarks shop in Durham I threw 2 pairs of almost new shoes in the bin. The leather uppers and soles were in excellent condition but they had split apart on one shoe in each pair which I found extremely frustrating. I even took them to a local cobbler who couldn't do anything.
I retained another pair, again in great condition other that one shoe coming apart, as a matter of principle and anger.
I have written to Clarks but no response as yet.
William S
22nd Nov 18 19:11

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Philh

Philh

I have had two pairs of work boots I had bought as spares for use on my allotment. Neither pair ever got near my allotment. One pair, the soles started falling apart a few weeks after I bought them, with big chunks failing off. The second pair I bought new in the box a few years ago. I've stored them in a cool, airy place, not in the box. I've worn them a few times, a short walk to the pub. Last week the soles had turned sticky and again big chunks were falling off. My impression is these shoes' soles have been made using a dual-density PU material (not sure if hydrolysis is part of the name or an effect). It seems to me that after a period of time the material fails, and more so if the shoes are not regularly worn (would not most people store shoes they seldom wear?). It seems also there many shoes for sale on the net that have soles with this material.
Philh
5th Oct 18 17:09

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Notimpressed

Notimpressed

Yes, similar problem. I'd only worn them a few times (Granted they'd been bought several years ago but were fine when I put them on.) when they fell apart in the middle of London. When I took them back to the shop I was told "Oh yes, we know about this problem. It's called hydrolysis. You can have a £10 voucher towards a new pair." The manager seemed unimpressed by the argument that:-
1) Clarks may have known about the problem but they hadn't passed this on to me, their customer, when I bought them.
2) My house may not be perfect but my wardrobe definitely contains less water (Essential for hydrolysis.) than the exterior world so any water must have been included within the shoes.
When I contacted "Customer services" I was told "You can't expect shoes to last for ever." (I don't, but I expect them to wear out through use not fall apart due to a manufacturing fault!) and then claimed the equivalent of "Statute of Limitations" before repeating the offer of a £10 voucher.
I will not be claiming the voucher as I will not be buying Clarks shoes again.
Notimpressed
3rd Aug 18 14:39

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Sav

Sav

Yes I would like to sue them.. mine fell apart in 3 months and they continued to refund my purchases and now they have discontinued all of the shoes.
Sav
13th Jul 18 21:22

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Mac Mecker

Mac Mecker

Well known, well-established companies reducing quality behind the mask of their famous brands and logos have become epidemic in recent years. Clarks is just one of many. They still boast about their 200-year tradition. I suspect the old managers and owners who upheld the old company ethos are long dead or have been replaced by flighty young things who no longer uphold the Built-to-last value. As a consumer, one can no longer reach the members of companies who really have something to say and influence the company policies. Clarks's customer service is despicable.

I would be ashamed of these developments, but I guess the younger generation have been conditioned to accept short-lived products
Mac Mecker
5th Jan 18 05:14

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Mac Mecker

Mac Mecker

I have been wearing Clarks shoes for 50 years now, but I have become increasingly dissatisfied with the quality, which has been declining in recent years. I suspect that quality has been intentionally reduced to reduce manufacturing quality, so people will buy shoes more often.
The comfort has also declined because they no longer accommodate people with wide feet. They used to sell extra-wide versions. Nowadays, many Clarks models don't fit me - they seem to have become narrower. I recently purchased the model Natur Three - they were fine until the rainy season began and I got soggy feet within half an hour. I had an important meeting, and couldn't keep a straight face because my feet were squelching.
Mac Mecker
5th Jan 18 05:00

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Railwayman

Railwayman

My experience matches yours almost exactly except that my shoes hadn't been worn at all and besides offering a totally inadequate £10.00 compensation the woman I spoke to in the Oxford branch this morning said that they had now moved production overseas because the English made shoes like mine were faulty. On the subject of Trading Standards I was advised at the Oxford office that they only work on prosecutions there and I was given a number to ring for advice elsewhere.
Railwayman
14th Aug 17 15:16

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Awr

Awr

Sole and upper on one shoe parting

Sole and upper on one shoe parting. Emailed photos to Clarks showing this also photo of sole showing no wear whatsoever, unfortunately I didn't keep the receipt.

Poor response considering what had happened to the shoe. Only said take them back to the shop and they might give me a goodwill gesture.

Considering the shoe has virtually fell apart this is pretty poor.

Luckily I wasn't out somewhere and the shoe fell apart while I was wearing it.
Awr
29th May 17 16:45

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