The Ravel shoes store is one of those High Street UK shops that always looks inviting, and in which it is nigh on impossible not to find a reasonably priced pair of shoes for virtually every occasion.
Ravel is owned by Clarks, the long-established and well respected chain of shoe shops. Clarks has been around as a shoe manufacturer since 1830, which is when Cyrus Clark, who had been making sheepskin rugs since 1825, began collaborating with his brother, James, who fashioned sheepskin slippers. The Industrial Revolution worked wonders for the Clark brothers’ shoe production, and the company’s name was made. Nowadays, it is the top shoe retailer in the United Kingdom.
Where Clarks is known for supplying traditional, inexpensive shoes mainly to children and older adults, Ravel is the company’s fashion offshoot, aiming its products at young women and men. There is also a good range of children's shoes, but the emphasis is very much on young, fashionable professionals.
The Ravel style is chic but uncomplicated. For women, there is an impressive range of casual shoes and boots as well as smart shoes and boots. The shelves are lined with a variety of mainly black or brown leather boots – in knee-high and ankle-high versions – with all manner of different heels, from stilettos to more chunky ones. On the shoe front, you have everything from leather pumps and mules to strappy sandals, formal footwear and more casual streetwear.
For men, the range is smart and really quite cool. Black, brown and tan leather lace-ups and moccasins are available, as are smart-casual leisure shoes. The work shoes are very well made, with good-quality leather uppers and hard-wearing soles.
Because so many of the shoes sold by Ravel are made of leather, most stores also stock a range of shoecare products, such as leather polish and waterproofing sprays. It is a good idea to take advantage of these products, as they will make your shoes last longer and also revitalise them after a rainy day. As far as possible, avoid wearing leather or suede shoes in extreme weather or for long walks, since they can crease easily and become worn-looking.
Ravel does not have its own website, but if you use a decent internet search engine you should be able to buy Ravel shoes online, through one of the many department stores that has a Ravel concession, as well as from online auction houses. Clarks shoes themselves are available in 1900 stockists, of which around a quarter are independent Clarks shops.