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History

Wolky’s story goes back to 1982, when two brothers set up their own business. We take you through some of the milestones in our history.

A family-run business

Wolky is a family-run business with an eventful past. When brothers Kees and Jan Diks founded Wolky BV in 1982, they were no strangers to the footwear industry. The brothers were already working in their grandfather’s shoe business and had expanded his retail chain to six shops under the name Diks Modeschoenen.

Cork sandals

The brothers made well-fitting shoes the unique selling point of their stores and started to specialise in them. But the market for comfortable footwear was underdeveloped in the early eighties. Sandals with a cork footbed marked a footwear revolution. Although fabulous to walk in, they were regarded as unconventional at the time – too new and too quirky. Few people dared wear them in public.

New concept

Kees and Jan believed that the future belonged to shoes that were ‘good for the feet’. Following feedback from customers that the cork footbeds were too hard, they developed their own concept of comfort. Kees went in search of a model more in tune with their ideas.

Not much later, he launched Wolky’s first sandal. It was wide and flat, with a footbed that moulded itself to the foot thanks to an extra layer of memory foam. The Velcro closures made the sandal almost infinitely adjustable. Kees named it the Alto, and Wolky had its very first model.

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Breakthrough

Wolky’s real breakthrough came in 1989, when the company partnered with Dutch shoe designer Charles Bergmans. The outcome was the Model 600 Paris, a sandal from Wolky’s City line that came in several different colours. Elsevier magazine published an article praising the sandal’s innovative adjustability. That opened the floodgates, and for the first time ever, people were queueing up to buy our shoes. After these initial successes, Wolky focused on innovation, expansion and quality. Season after season, new models followed and existing ones were refined. Wolky and Charles Bergmans have now enjoyed a successful partnership dating back over 25 years.

The first Wolkyshop

Wolky opened its first Wolkyshop in 1995. Located right in the heart of Utrecht, it sold nothing but Wolky shoes. The formula turned out to be a success, and the Wolkyshop is still there today – and we haven’t stopped there.

From one generation to the next

By this time - we’re talking 1998 - it was clear that Kees’s son Anthony had also inherited the shoe gene. Kees and Anthony worked side-by-side for many years before Anthony took over the business from his father.

In the years that followed, Wolky received numerous awards for its designs, leading to even greater success. The company opened two new distribution centres, one in the USA and the other in Germany, and its reputation continued to grow.

A chain of Wolkyshops

At around the same time, retailer Tom van Geemen (on the right in the photograph) was keeping close tabs on Wolky. He had noted the brand’s popularity in his own shoe shop and made what later turned out to be a winning decision: he turned his shop into a Wolkyshop, the company’s second. Under Tom’s leadership, more and more Wolkyshops opened their doors, not only in the Netherlands but in Germany and the UK as well.

Wolkyshop gets a website

Tom was also a pioneer in online retail. Wolkyshop launched its web shop back in 1997, at a time when it was still highly unusual to order shoes on the internet. Tom proved to be a visionary in this area too, and Wolky’s head start in the digital world allowed Wolkyshop online to become the success story it is today.

Wolky white

Wolky has always been synonymous with innovation. Not least in 2017, when Wolky began collaborating with shoe designer Hans Boons. The following year saw the launch of Wolky White: a footwear label for women who love to look good and feel comfortable all day long. Wolky White represented a huge step towards fashionable footwear that doesn’t compromise on comfort.

New website

Fast-forward to 2020. We’re kicking off the new decade with a new website for Wolkyshop. Our sites wolkyshop.de, wolkyshop.fr, wolkyshop.co.uk and wolkyshoeshop.com are undergoing a makeover to bring them bang up to date. Our aim is to give you as much information as possible so that your online experience is every bit as satisfying as a visit to one of our brick-and-mortar Wolkyshops.

Want to know more about Wolky's All-time bestsellers?

Read it here

To be continued...

Over the years, many things have changed. Wolky has grown, opened shops, brought in new family members and launched new models. But what always remains the same is our love of shoes. Shoes that fit your feet well. Of comfort. Of quality. And that's one thing we know for sure: feet love our shoes.

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