Kees opened the first Wolkyshop in Utrecht in 1995. Having a shop enabled him to keep his finger on the pulse of what women actually thought of Wolkys, what they would like to see changed and anything else they needed. After this first shop opened, selling only Wolky shoes, others followed with Tom van Geemen at the helm, and Hub Sillen opened a Wolkyshop in Leiden. Most of the Wolkyshops would be owned by Tom until 2019, and under his inspired leadership Wolkyshop also went online in 1998. This made Wolkyshop.com one of the first international webshops for footwear – something that was still very unusual at the time.
The Wolky factory in Mexico opened its doors in 1999. They called the factory “Holland”. After all, the Americans are crazy about everything that comes from the Netherlands, and Dutch design is seen as the crème-de-la-crème. Anthony: “By calling the factory ‘Holland’, we thought we could label the shoes ‘Made in Holland’.” But the US authorities had other ideas. The shoes may have been designed in the Netherlands and the factory may be Dutch owned, but the shoes are very definitely manufactured in Mexico. The first series of Roll-Clogs was intercepted at the border. The shoes were sent back and “Made in Mexico” stickers were printed.
In 2000, Wolky rocked all records with the Roll Moc boot. The slightly upturned toe gives the foot a natural roll-off, making walking easier than ever before. Thanks to the moccasin design, the shoe is also extremely flexible and there are no uncomfortable seams on the inside. What’s more, it gives the boot a unique profile – both literally and figuratively. To this day, the Roll Moc remains a favourite in our spring and autumn collections. The Roll Moc family has grown and grown. There are now many different options featuring the same sole and moccasin design in the Roll Moc line, from slip-on pumps and mules to lace-up boots and shoes. 2001 saw Wolky launch another top seller: the Tulip. This sandal, with its removable footbed – ideal for women who use arch supports – and three Velcro fasteners that make it easy to adjust the shoe to the foot, was a huge success. It is still our best-selling sandal worldwide today.
Wolky was receiving more and more requests to produce elegant yet comfortable shoes for flight attendants and women working in the hospitality industry. Anthony: “Flight attendants spend a lot of time walking in court shoes, and that’s not good for your feet. A high heel is by definition a lot less comfortable than a flatter shoe, of course: after all, you’re standing on your toes all day long, and that puts huge pressure on the ball of your foot and the big toe joint. So we took up the challenge of designing a line of court shoes that were comfortable to walk in. In our Fit2Feet line we have produced a series of court shoes and pumps that are much more comfortable because the shoes stretch where your foot needs them to. Besides these, we now also have other models in the Wolky@Work collection, and we can also customise shoes for company employees with a logo.”
slightly higher or different expectations of their shoes. Anthony: “We started off with shoes with more room across the instep, because women with a high instep or a full foot often have trouble finding shoes to fit.” This was followed by the Personal Pair Programme. This programme enabled women who have trouble finding boots that fit to have boots made that are a perfect fit round their calves. “We also have shoes for women with bunions. The shoes in our HV (hallux valgus) line are slightly wider at the pinch point where those annoying bumps at the onset of the big toe joint are. Besides our regular HV line, we also make shoes in our Fit2Feet line that stretch at those points. Take a look for yourself at what kinds of specials we offer. Another point to mention is that we also launched a range of shoes for women with diabetes last winter. Diabetics can suffer greatly from painful feet. The shoes in our DB line have no annoying seams on the inside of the shoe and are also lined with a soft layer of foam.”
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