footwear friendsOn 17 May 1836, five gentlemen met in Gerrard Street, Soho, for the purpose of forming a ‘Benevolent Society of Master Boot & Shoe Makers’. King William IV was reigning, and it was another year before the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. Each of the five gentlemen who set up the fund deposited five shillings for the relief of aged members, widows and orphans related to the trade, and it still supports the same community.

Celebrating its 180th birthday this year, Footwear Friends is charity for people who work or have worked in the shoe trade and their families, with a focus on providing financial assistance to those who have fallen on hard times.

Unlike any other charity, Footwear Friends offers support and aid to those who have worked in ALL sectors of the footwear industry. This includes manufacturing, retail, repair, wholesale, design and component manufacture.

The charity could not have achieved such a continuing level of generosity over so many decades without the universal support that is has received from the trade. 100% of the income raised from its fundraising activities is paid directly to its beneficiaries. The running cost of the charity is met through investment income. Footwear Friends is wholly dependent on donations, legacies and fundraisers.


A decade of supporting young designers

Ten years ago, the then president, Richard Paice, established the Footwear Friends annual design award competition with the aim of encouraging and developing young talent in the footwear industry. The Footwear Friends Annual Awards event has become an important event within the footwear industry’s calendar and continues to raise much needed funds for the charity. The Awards are fully sponsored through the trade.

The Footwear Friends Executive Committee would very much like to see you on the night to help celebrate these two important milestones of the Footwear Industry’s own charity. For more information please visit