• 50 Years of SOLETRADER
    SOLETRADER is celebrating 50 years of selling branded footwear on the UK high street. Join us on a journey through our history, as we highlight the styles and trends that have inspired us over half a century!
  • Peter Mercer in the first store. St Albans, 1962
    In September 1962, Peter Mercer, the manager of the shoe department of Gamages department store in Holborn, replied to an advertisement in the paper for the Manager position in a shoe shop in the nearby city of St Albans. Located at 18 London Road, "Top Footwear for Men" was one of the first Men's only shoe shops to come to the high street, supplying high quality and fashionable shoes to men of all ages. It was when this first store opened on the 10th October that the SOLETRADER journey began.
    The Start of Something Special
  • Service with a Smile
    Top Footwear for Men's reputation was built on honest advice and personal service delivered with a smile. Even "The Big Freeze" of 1963 couldn't hinder Peter Mercer's dedication to his store and customers. After waking up to roads covered with snow 1 foot deep one bitter day in January, Peter Mercer walked 8 miles from his home in Borehamwood to St Albans to open the store to provide customers with boots and wellingtons.
    "Our customers are the most important people in the world"
  • Mods & Rockers
    & the Beatle Boot
    In the early 60's, "Mods" clashed with Rockers. Mods wore sharp suits, rode Italian scooters and were driven by a desire to demonstrate good taste and style. Top Footwear for Men specialised in the iconic Beatle Boot during this time, with its sharp tailoring and high quality finish appealing to the minimalistic Mod style.
  • 1970
    Top Footwear for Men's reputation continued to grow in the 1970's, as did the range of fashionable shoes and boots and the number of shops. A total of six Top Footwear for Men shops had opened by 1973, visitors to which included stars like Luton Town's football team, "Haslam's Wonders"!
    "There is simply no other place for shoes!"
    Strength to Strength
  • '70s
    "The 1970's added rebelliousness to fashion and Top Footwear was with the rebels."
    The early 1970's were the Skinhead years. Levi Jeans and button-down checked Ben Sherman shirts were the central fashion trend. No skinhead look was complete without a pair of Dr Martens boots, and Top Footwear for Men offered all the DM styles thanks to an enduring relationship with Dr Martens that began in the 1960's. Top Footwear for Men became the 'go-to place' for 1970's fashion junkies, a reputation that has continued through the decades.
  • 1975
    1975 saw the release of British musical film, 'Tommy', based on The Who's 1969 Rock Opera. Elton John played the part of the Pinball Wizard, famously dressing in several foot high Dr Marten boots. These exact boots made an appearance in the Luton, Harlow and Hounslow shops some years later!
    "Elton's platforms are wizard!"
  • Survival of the Fittest
    The early 1980's recession couldn't stop the growth of Top Footwear for Men. With a total of 23 stores opened by the end of the 1980's (including several celebrity openings), Top Footwear for Men grew from strength to strength.
    Wimbledon Striker, John Fashanu opening Top Footwear for Men in Stevenage, 1986
  • Time for a Change...
    The late 80's was a time of bright new shop designs and concepts on the British High Street. Top Footwear for Men became 'Top Shoes', with a revolutionary new design way ahead of other shoe shops on the High Street.
  • Vintage 'Falcon' and 'Melcro' Deck Shoes
    Deck Shoes
    Men wanted casual shoes, and the trainer boom was on. Top Shoes had Deck Shoes in every colour. Back then deck shoes sold for £4.99! These styles were the forerunners of the modern canvas Vans trainers that SOLETRADER sells today.
  • 1990
    The Decade of Crazes
    From acid house rave to R'n'B, the 90's were all about culture crazes, leading to wave after wave of cult brands. Multi-coloured Kickers were key to pulling off the 90's rave look, followed by pink and purple Wallabees, and Fila fitness trainers. Sports influenced styles such as British Knights were made famous by the legendary rapper, MC Hammer.
    Original teal limited edition Kickers
    "U can't touch this!"
  • '91
    Top Shoes was by now a leader in must-have branded casual shoes and trainers. Branded fashionable 90's shoes were unisex and Top Shoes evolved again, extending it's appeal to girls.
  • '92
    SOLETRADER represents
    In 1992 Top Shoes for Men began to rebrand as 'SOLETRADER', and by the end of the millennium there were 40 SOLETRADER shops.

    Product development became a massive focus, inspired by Derrick Hoyle who joined the business at 22 years of age in 1994. By the end of the 90's, Derrick was responsible for the creation of incredible shoes such as the Converse Dax and the Merrell Jungle Moc (which has sold more than 10 million pairs worldwide!).
  • '97
    SOLETRADER joined the London fashion scene in 1997, opening a shop in the capital of shoes, Neal Street, Covent Garden.
  • 2000
    A decade that was driven by celebrity culture, obsession and cult fashion followings. In the early 00's, sports brands crossed over into leisure, exemplified by low profile Puma and Diesel sneakers. The still popular UGG boot - made famous by Sienna Miller - exploded from a cult following in 2003 to what it is today and SOLETRADER has been there from the beginning.
  • The Online
    The 'dot com boom' revolutionised the way we shop and SOLETRADER has had an online presence since 1999. www.soletrader.co.uk
  • 2003
    Inspired by the aspirational noughties, SOLE was launched in Covent Garden in 2003, later followed by several other heritage towns including Westfield London. Through collaborations with designer brands such as Patrick Cox, Thomas Burberry and Katherine Hamnett, SOLE led the way in making luxury footwear accessible.
    SOLE stores showcase a fusion of leading designers,
    exclusive styles and innovative labels from around the world.
  • '10
    Here and Now
    Fashion with no limits!
    The power of the internet has given a voice to bedroom-bloggers and under-the-radar fashion junkies, turning niche styles into viral trends. SOLETRADER has adopted quirky design from brands such as T.U.K and Jeffrey Campbell and you can find a rapidly changing array at SOLETRADER stores everywhere.
  • 2011
    Current fashion trends pay homage to those that have passed, with many styles echoing the rebellious culture of the 70's and 80's. Who would have guessed that 50 years later, SOLETRADER would still be selling Dr Martens?
    50 Years, 50 Stores
  • 2012
    Since 1962, we have hand selected the best and most sought-after shoes, boots and trainers. SOLETRADER has one of the widest and most complete collections of footwear brands in the UK, including designer luxury brands, cutting edge street labels, and all major and niche sports, skate and outdoor brands.


In March, Carly was the lucky winner of 50 pairs of shoes, helping us to celebrate our 50th anniversary!
Her prize was to choose 50 pairs of any Soletrader shoes, any time she likes - it's true, there's no such thing as having too many shoes!
"Surreal, Lucky, Amazing!"
— Carly Dunne, 50th anniversary competition winner

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Thank you for entering, you have received 2 entries to the competition to win 50 pairs of shoes!
Terms and Conditions

1. All required fields must be completed to enter.

2. One entry per email address.

3. You will be entered into a random draw to win 50 pairs of shoes from SOLETRADER, with a maximum retail value of £100 per shoe. The winner will have 12 months after being contacted to redeem their prize. Shoes may be claimed in stages.

4. Entrants will be subscribed to SOLETRADER email alerts and may unsubscribe at any time.

5. The competition is open to all UK residents ages 18 or over, excluding employees of the Promoters' all of their associated companies and their families or any other persons connected with such employees or with this competition.

6. The winner will be selected at random by the promoters for all completed and submitted entry forms and will be advised by email. If the competition winner does not communicate his/her acceptance by email or phone within 48hrs of the Promoters' notice that he/she is a winner, the Promoters reserve the right to pick another winner and the person not responding will waive his/her rights to the prize.

7. Selection of the winner is final and binding on all entrants and no correspondence will be entered into.

8. The prize cannot be redeemed for cash and no alternative prizes are available. The prize is non transferable. If the winner cannot make use of the prize for any reason, another winner will be selected at random.

9. The winner agrees not to sell, offer to sell or use the prize for any commercial or promotional purpose (including placing the prize on an internet auction site).

10. The promoters have the right to change, alter or withdraw the promotion at any time.

11. The promoters will use personal information which you provide, or which we obtain through our dealings with you, to administer the competition.

12. Acceptance of the rules is a condition of entry and the entry instructions form part of the rules.

13. To the maximum extent permitted by the law, the winner by acceptance of the prize, agrees to release the Promoters from any and all liability, claims or actions of any kind whatsoever for damages or losses to persons and property which may be sustained in connection with the receipt, ownership and/or use of the prize.