Top 3 Footwear Franchises in the UK

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Footwear franchises in the UK

Thinking about opening your own footwear business? A franchise could be the ideal way to make your shoe business dream come true. Here’s a snapshot of the sector and three of the most exciting opportunities out there right now.

The UK footwear industry has an established and respected heritage. Today, well-known brands such as Skechers operate successful franchise models, giving prospective franchisees across the land the chance to run their own profitable footwear business. Despite significant changes to the clothing and footwear retail sector, as shoppers turn away from the high street in favour of online stores, the footwear sector has stayed strong. 

If you’re considering starting a footwear business, there are a number of brands out there that offer a franchise package. Here’s why you should think about starting a footwear franchise and three of the best franchise opportunities out there right now.

Reasons why a footwear franchise is a good idea

According to Statista, customers in the UK spend a whopping £10.6 million on footwear in 2019 alone. Even though fewer of us are pounding the high streets in search of our next pair of shoes, it’s clear fashionable footwear is still high on our list of priorities. In fact, according to Global Data, the footwear market is expected to grow by 13.7 percent between 2017 and 2022, to be worth £9.5 billion.

The women’s footwear sub-sector has been and continues to be the largest, but it is predicted that the men's footwear sub-sector will be the most rapidly expanding by 2022, triggering a rise in sales of 15 percent. 

Customers also prioritise comfort, with 90% listing it as the top priority, meaning an extra £80 million was invested in the ‘wide fit’ footwear sector between 2012 and 2017. Now, this sub-sector outperforms any other. 

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Footwear franchise opportunities

Like the sound of running your very own footwear franchise? Here are three of the most exciting franchise opportunities out there right now. 


Skechers is a leading shoe store franchise that was founded in 1992 by Robert and Michael Greenberg. It has grown significantly over the last 25 years, to sell sports footwear in more than 170 countries across the world. Now, it has more than 1,340 locations worldwide and is continuing to expand its franchise footprint. 

  • Becoming a Skechers franchisee: Skechers is exacting in what it wants from its ambitious and experienced franchisees, so you’ll need to have:

    • Previous experience owning and operating retail stores
    • Success in the footwear and clothing industries
    • Enough working capital to support the opening and operation of multiple locations
    • Access to prime real estate
    • Knowledge and merchandise experience to understand local customer preferences

  • How much you need to invest: You will be required to invest £13,000 in franchise fees and make a total investment of between £44,000 and £88,000 for each Skechers store. The final figure will depend on the size and location of the store(s) you choose to open. 

  • What you get for your investment: You’ll be assisted in every area of business, from financial management and forecasting to national advertising campaigns. You will also be enrolled onto an extensive in-store training programme to give you information on the Skechers product selection and the shopping habits of Skechers’ – and target – customers. You will also be taught sales techniques and other key skills.


Classic British brand Clarks has been making and selling its iconic shoes since 1825. Now, it has amassed a network of more than 450 franchised stores, run by 113 dedicated franchisees. If you’d like to become a franchisee, here’s what you need to know. 

  • Becoming a Clarks franchisee: If you’re interested in joining this bfa member franchise, you’ll need to have a passion for great shoes and the desire and drive to make your business a success. You can opt to become owner-operator of a single store or choose the multi-unit franchising option and appoint staff to oversee each location. 

  • How much you need to invest: You’ll need to invest a minimum of £50,000 to become a Clarks franchisee, though opening a store costs an average of £150,000. Funding is available for the right candidates to cover the rest of the cost. 

  • What you get for your investment: You’ll be enrolled onto the Clarks tailor-made programme to learn the ropes and master life as a franchisee. You’ll also receive ongoing support from this international brand in every area of the business. 

The Athlete’s Foot

Since it was founded in 1971 by brothers Robert and David Lando, The Athlete’s Foot has opened stores in more than 40 countries across the globe. While it’s yet to make contact with our shores, this is an exciting franchise opportunity if you’re based internationally and looking to open a footwear franchise. 

  • Becoming a The Athlete’s Foot franchisee: The Athlete’s Foot doesn’t specify criteria for its franchisees, but it’s likely you’ll need to have a keen interest in sportswear, excellent customer service skills and the passion and drive to build a business. Previous retail management experience is also likely to help, though it’s not listed as a requirement. 

  • How much you need to invest: Your total investment will depend on the size and location of your chosen store(s), but you’ll need to pay a franchise fee of $39,000 (£30,200) and invest a total of between $196,000 (£152,000) to $446,000 (£345,000). You’ll also have to pay a 5% sales fee and 1% marketing fee monthly. 

  • What you get for your investment: You’ll get the chance to run an exciting sports footwear franchise in some of the world’s most buoyant markets, including the US and Australia. 

Best foot forward

As you can see, there are a number of exciting footwear franchise opportunities all over the world. If you’re interested in becoming a franchisee in a different sector, explore our UK franchise directory. And if you need more advice about all things franchising, check out our articles for more top tips, insight and guidance.

>> Read more articles on the Fashion sector

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