Product Design, Development and Innovation

Product Design, Development and Innovation

Ingenious design, intelligently developed, using the latest technological advancements. It’s what drives us and keeps us ahead. It’s a three-pronged approach too. With Product Design, Development and Innovation working together to create, develop and scope out the next big Clarks product to take the shelves by storm.

Intelligence made visible. That’s great design. And that’s the starting point for our talented Product Design team. These are the clever creative people who design the shoes that lead our collections, taking their inspiration from everywhere and anywhere.

Product Development acts as the link between Range Management, Design, Offshore Product Development, Quality Control, Supply Chain and the Materials team. We’re behind the building of a range, from design concept through to production, using onshore technical teams and offshore development sources and production. In short, we monitor developments, resolve any issues and keep ranges on track. Essentially, Product Development makes shoe designs a practical, working reality.

The most advanced technology to be found in a shoe? That’s the sort of challenge our Innovation team loves. For the team here, boundaries are there to be pushed, conventions to be broken, quos to be smashed. Recent in-house innovations include WaveWalk, a technology that allows you to walk for longer with less effort, and Tyon technology, which uses a uniquely adjustable strap that goes across the in-step, wrapping under the foot to offer unprecedented levels of arch support.

Altogether, we’re a high energy business function. We work with nearly all the areas of the business, including up to nine different country teams. Having your own design and development area is rare these days, and shows how committed we are to retaining expertise, delivering outstanding design and investing in innovation.

Typical roles include ...

  • Footwear Designer
  • Digital Engineer

Spotlight on a ... Footwear Designer

Like us, you love pushing the boundaries in footwear design, construction and manufacturing to give people all around the world what they want. Designers start the ball rolling by brainstorming the key silhouettes, footwear constructions and style trends that we want to lead our collections with. That’s why, on a day-to-day basis, you’ll be researching trends, markets and competitors’ products. It’s important to keep yourself up-to-the-minute with everything that’s happening.

Here at Clarks, we’re constantly designing our range, and making sure all the key looks are covered. So you’ll find yourself making decisions on colour palettes for the season, or leather types for specific categories. You’ll also work closely with our Product Development teams and factories to make sure our samples arrive for review meetings.

Seeing samples arrive from the factories exactly how you intended them is a huge buzz, and seeing people around the world actually wearing your designs is incredibly rewarding. You’ll have some outstanding resources and facilities at your fingertips too: last modelists, sole model facilities, and CAD areas for realising sole and unit designs. We even have the ability to make footwear in a shoe making workshop or to model it in 3D from a software package. What more could you ask for?

Spotlight on a ... Digital Engineer

What starts as a Footwear Designer’s 2D drawing is soon brought to life by our talented Digital Engineers. Using the latest 3D CAD technology, you’ll create incredibly realistic prototypes, allowing our designers to hold them in their hands and discuss the product’s strengths and weaknesses with range teams, without even having to contact a shoe factory. That’s quite a thing.

It also makes a huge difference to the business, saving time, money and workload for the factories. Our 3D models can also be used as a guide to create more accurate first samples when they’re sent to the factory.

So, you’ll get a brief from our designers. This will include a sketch that you’ll use to create a shoe model with realistic colour, thickness, proportions, padding and stitch detail. Then the model is built in layers using a 3D printer that glues layers of powder together, while adding colour to create a model that can be sent to assist the shoe factories. We’re got some great projects happening at the moment, and we’ve just finished creating the first prototypes of the Great British Olympic Sailing Teams’ boat shoes.