Who are: The Society of Shoe Fitters?
The Society of Shoe Fitters was founded in 1959 as a not-for-profit making organisation to
assist both the trade and public in disseminating information appertaining to good shoe fitting
and foot health.
A body of eminent retailers backed by manufacturers, set out a Constitution of the Society.
There are usually between 250-400 members and students at any time throughout the U.K.
The Society employs a secretarial service and activities are overseen by a voluntary Council,
who attend three or four meetings a year to ensure the continuance of our objectives.
We actively lobby government to improve standards of footwear and fitting in the U.K.
Who are our members and where do they come from?
Society members are from all over the U.K. and now extend as far as Portugal, Turkey, and
Channel Islands etc. It is a personal membership and not a corporate membership.
We are delighted to include among our membership as well as those in retail at the ‘smelly
end’ on the fitting stool – supplier representatives, laboratory technicians, Podiatrists, Chiropodists,
manufacturer ‘trainers’ etc.
Those who have contributed greatly to furthering the aims of the Society may receive a Fellowship
and the initials F.S.S.F., but this honour is only bestowed upon those who have worked
hard to improve and assist in the running of the Society.
To become a member of the Society, one has to qualify via 5-month course. This is a ‘recognised’
qualification. The course is distance learning, punctuated with practical Workshops. A
personal Tutor is allocated to assist throughout. The Workshops are usually held in London
with a factory visit elsewhere. If students reach the required standard they gain letters after
their name – M.S.S.F. which can be used on letter-heading, cheque books etc.
Experienced shoe fitters with five or more years’ experience, can become a member via the
Entrance Examination or Entrance Application.
How are we funded?
As we are a ‘not-for-profit’ organisation with no government grants or outside funding, we
are reliant on membership subscriptions, filling our course places and our One Day Training
events to fund the society’s activities. We receive occasional donations from the public. We
offer Associate Membership to selective suppliers. Occasionally our quarterly newsletter is
sponsored by a supplier.
Like any professional organisation there is an annual subscription fee to retain ones’ qualification.
If a member does not pay their subscription fee, they lose their qualification. There is
a re-joining fee.
What do we do?
• The Society office promotes Members and Associate Members at every opportunity.
• The Society assists the public with their footwear enquiries and difficulties. We advise
where they can go for a professional fitting service as well as a multitude of other
shoe/foot health related queries.
• Any profit made during the year pays for foot health leaflets, keeping our ‘hot line’
open for members of the public, a website and any other way of promoting foot health
and shoe fitting.
• Our members benefit from the use of our logo and the assurance that they can promote
themselves as ‘professional’ of ‘expert’ shoe fitter and not merely ‘trained’ shoe
• If a member has any problem instore the Society help-line is there to assist.
• Members may promote themselves on the website Register of Members.
• Members receive annual window display, educational promotional material etc.
• There is also a quarterly Newsletter to keep in touch.
• We can be found at the N.E.C. Moda exhibition and at various events around the country.
• We assist with the Annual Footwear Awards event run by Datateam Publishing.
• We take part in media interviews and write Press Releases to bring shoe fitting to the
attention of the public.
• The Society also works with the Trading Standards Office advising on any legal wrangles
regarding shoe fitting or footwear complaints.
• NATIONAL SHOE FITTING WEEK is open to all. It is held the week prior to Easter. You
do not have to be a member to promote NSFW. Posters are sent out freely, although
we request a donation toward p&p from non-members. It is the only inclusive national
foot health initiative in the industry networking both health and footwear professionals
to the public.