A few months ago, I started compiling a list of Cold War era (1945-1990s), American men’s dress shoe manufacturers and brands. This was a period of consolidation, contraction and eventually collapse for the US shoe industry. I was hoping to add a paragraph about each with a logo or two. It was intended to help myself and the many readers who send me emails asking me, “Have you heard of this brand?”.
Well, this project was a bit too ambitious given the huge number of companies and brands. So here is the list as it stands now. I will add content to it as I learn more. I am sure I missed a number of brands and manufacturers. There are probably mistakes too.
Please leave a comment to augment or correct any of the information below.
Airfilm – Crosby Square brand
Alden – Middleborough, Massachusetts in 1884. Continues to produce high end shoes in New England
Allen Edmonds – Belgium, Wisconsin in 1922. Still making shoes in USA. Sold to Caleres in 2016.
American Gentleman – Premium Craddock Terry Shoe brand
Banister– Premium shoe brand founded in 1845 in South Weymouth Mass. Purchased by Stetson in 1953 or 1954. Later purchased by Freeman.
Barclay– Nettleton brand started 1929
Bates – Founded in Webster Mass 1885. Purchased by Wolverine Worldwide in 1969. Prominent military footwear producer. Big user of porometic/corfam leather. Company website claims Bates invented the long wing in 1919.
Bostonian – Founded in 1899 as Commonwealth Shoe Co, Whitman MA. Purchased by Kayser Roth Corporation. (date unknown). Purchased by Clarks in 1979. Shoes made at Hanover factory after purchase. Shoes no longer produced in USA.
Boyd’s – St Louis MO based retailer. Out of business in 1995. Produced a premium line of shoes branded Threadneedle Street.
British Walkers – J.P. Smith Shoe Co Brand. Later owned by E.E. Taylor
Bronson Shoe Company – Minneapolis Minn. Direct shoe sales company
Brown Shoe Co – Founded in 1878 in St Louis. Ended US Shoe production in 1995. Company changed name to Caleres in 2015.
Charles Chester Shoe Company – Brockton, Mass. Direct shoe sales company
City Club – International Shoe Co Brand
Coburne Square – JC Penney brand. Hanover produced many of the shoes
Cole Haan – Founded in Chicago in 1927. Purchased by E.E. Taylor in 1957. Sold to George Denney in 1975. Purchased by Nike in 1988. Purchased by Apax Partners in 2012
Cordwainer Wright – ET Wright premium line of shoes. See photo above.
Coward Shoe – Founded by James S Coward in New York in the 1800s. Sold to the Limited in 1983
Craddock Terry Shoe Co – founded in Lynchburg VA in 1888. Bankrupt in 1987
Crosby Square – Premium brand of Mid-States Shoe Co
Dexter – founded in Dexter Maine in 1958. Sold to Berkshire Hathaway in 1993. Ended US Production in 2001. Part of HH Brown Co.
Douglas Shoes– Brockton Mass. Founded in 1876, closed in 1950.
Dr. Scholl’s– founded in Chicago in 1906. Focused on orthotics. Brand sold to Schering-Plough in 1968. Name owned by Caleres.
E.E. Taylor Corp – Freeport Maine. Closed in 1975.
E.T. Wright – Rockland Mass. Founded in 1876 by Elwin Temple Wright. Name purchased by Mason in 1998.
Eastland – Freeport, Maine. Founded in 1955. Still producing some shoes in USA.
Edgerton – Youth focused Nunn Bush brand
Edwin Clapp – East Weymouth Mass in 1853. Premium shoe manufacturer
Endicott Johnson – founded in Endicott, New York, USA 1899. Peaked in 1950s and declined in subsequent years. Went through a series of owners in 1990s. Now owned by Rocky Shoes & Boots
Etonic – Charles A Eaton Co, Brockton Mass. Founded in 1876. Primarily a premium golf shoe producer after 1945. USA production ended in 1999.
Executive Imperial – Higher end shoe brand for Mason Shoes
Flagg Bros – Genesco brands. Founded?
Florsheim – Founded in Chicago in 1892. International Shoe Co purchase in 1952. Apollo Group purchased brand in 1991 and spun out as a separate company in 1992. Purchase by Weyco out of bankruptcy in 2002. USA production ended in early 2000s.
Foot Pals – Wall Streeter Shoe Company, North Adams Mass
Foot-So-Port – Founded in 1927 Oconomowoc, Wis as Musebeck shoe Co. Owned by QF&C after 1991. Fire destroyed factory on Sep 18, 1994. Continued for a few more years until closing.
FootJoy – Founded 1857 in Brockton, Massachusetts. Primarily a premium golf shoe maker after 1945. Closed last US factory in 2009
Frank Brothers – New York shoe retailer. Contracted with a number of firms including Johnston and Murphy to produce premium shoes with the Frank Brothers brand
Freeman Shoe Co – Founded in Beloit Wisconsin in 1921. Purchased by H. O. Toor Company in 1963. Merged with United States Shoe. Bankrupt in early 1990s. Name purchased by Weyco 1992
French Shriner (& Urner) – Founded in Boston in 1881. Purchased by United States Shoe Co in 1960s. Named purchased by Weyco 1992. Name currently owned by Weyco Group
G.H. Bass & Co. – Active. Wilton, Maine Founded: 1876 . Still producing shoes in the USA
G.R. Kinney Company – Founded in New York City in 1894. Sold to Brown Shoe Co and then later Woolworth.
Genesco – Formerly the General Shoe Corporation. Name changed in 1959
H.H. Brown Shoe Co – Found 1883. Purchased by Berkshire Hathaway in 1991
Hack Shoe Co – Founded in Detroit in 1917 by Nathan Hack. Invented and manufactured the Ripple Sole shoe
Hanan & Sons Shoes – Founded in Chicago or New York?. Purchased by EE Taylor Corp
Hanover – Founded in Hanover Pennsylvania in 1899. Purchased by Clarks in 1978. USA production ended in 1996.
Hawthorne Classics – Mainline shoes made by Musebeck Shoe Co. of Oconomowoc, WI
Howard & Foster – Brockton, Mass
International Shoe Co. – Founded in St. Louis as Roberts, Johnson & Rand Shoe Company in 1898. Renamed to Interco in 1966. Bankrupt in 1991
J.F. McElwain Co – Founded Nashua. Produced shoes for Melville’s Thom McAn brand. Merged with Melville in 1939
Jarman Shoe Co – Founded Nashville in 1924. Later renamed to General Shoe Corporation, then Genesco
John Ward – Melville Shoe brand
Johnnie Walker – Modern Shoe Co brand
Johnsonian – Endicott Johnson brand
Johnston & Murphy – Founded in Newark NJ in 1850. Purchased by General Shoe Corporation in 1951. Outsourced most shoe production by 2002 but still produces a line of shoes in USA.
Keith Highlanders – Premium Walk-Over Brand
Kempton – Macy’s brand
Knapp – Founded in 1921 in Brockton Mass. Bankrupt in 2007
L.L. Bean – Freeport, Maine Founded: 1912
Lefcourt – New York retailer at 400 Madison Ave, New York. The company primarily sourced their shoes from English shoe makers but also had Alden produce some of their stock. Company was the first to introduce the tassel loafer. The retailer ceased operations in the 1990s
Lloyd & Haig – New York retailer. Founded in 1929 and Closed in the 1990s. Contracted with a number of firms including Bostonian and Hanover to produce premium shoes with the Lloyd & Haig brand
London Character – New York based chain. Closed in the 1970s?
Mason – Chippewa Falls Wisconsin. Ended USA production in 2003.
Mansfield – Bostonian shoes brand
Mid-States Shoe Co – Milwaukee Wisconsin. Later Shoe Co of America.
Modern Shoe Co – St Louis Missouri.
Musebeck Shoe Co. – Founded by George Musebeck in 1927 in Oconomowoc, WI. Sold to Thomas Stoll in 1979. Out of business in 1991.
Nettleton – Founded in Syracuse NY in 1878 as a premium shoe manufacturer. Sold to Endicott Johnson in 1968. Purchased by Ed Tognoni in Dec 1981. Closed Syracuse factory in 1984. Purchased by United States Shoe Co in Dec 1984 and production moved to Freeman factory in Beloit Wisconsin. Ed Tognoni purchased name in 1990 out of Freeman bankruptcy.
Nunn-Bush – Founded in 1912 in Milwaukee WI. Purchased by Weyenberg in August 1967
Oakwoods – Meville Corp brand
Ortho-Vent Shoe Co – Salem Virginia. Founded in 1904. Changed name to Stuart McGuire in 1962
Pedwin – Brown Shoe Co brand
Plymouth Shoe Co – Middleborough Mass. Closed in 1970
Porto-Ped – Portage Shoe Co. Division of Weyenberg
Quoddy – Perry, Maine Founded: 1909
Randcraft – International Shoe Co brand
Red Wing – Red Wing, Minnesota. Began in 1905. Still going strong. I think
Robert Kirk – San Francisco retailer founded in 1939 and sold to Cable Car Clothiers in 1972. Had a line of Alden made shoes under the Robert Kirk brand.
Roblee – Premium brand for Brown Shoe Co
Sebago – founded in Westbrook Maine in 1946. Name owned by Wolverine Worldwide
Selby Shoe Co – founded in Portsmouth, Ohio in 1879. Closed in 1957. Used the Arch Preserver tag before Wright.
Shaw Shoes – Coldwater Michigan. 1929 Shoe Company bought by M.T. Shaw. Closed 1982
Sibley’s Shoes – Detroit based footwear chain. Out of business in 2003. Produced a line of shoes with the store name.
Sperry Top Sider – Lexington, Mass. Founded: 1935. Brand has passed through a number of companies. Name owned by Wolverine Worldwide
Stacy Adams – Founded in 1875 in Brockton. Name owned by Weyco
Stafford – JC Penney brand
Stetson Shoe – Founded in 1885 in South Weymouth Mass. Stopped production in 1969 and licensed the name to Bostonian. Production ended in 1973. Name sold to Kayser-Roth.
Stuart McGuire – Founded in 1962 as direct shoe sales company. Previously the Ortho-Vent Shoe Co. Name now owned by Mason
Stuart Holmes – 1960s dress shoe brand for Kinney Shoe Co
Sundial – Manchester New Hampshire. Purchased at some point by International Shoe Co Brand
Taylor Made – EE Taylor Corp brand. Unrelated to the current Taylor Made golf company (not 100%).
Timberland Boot Company – Stratham, N.H. Founded: 1973
Thom McAn – Meville Corp brand. Founded in 1922 as a budget shoe brand. Name now owned by Sears Holdings
Towncraft – JC Penney brand. Primarily made by Hanover
United States Shoe Co – Founded in 1931 in Cincinnati. Bankrupt in the early 1990s.
Velvet-eez – Premium brand for Mason
Wesboro – International Shoe Co Brand
Walk-Over – Founded in 1899 in Brockton, Mass. Part of H.H. Brown shoe company. Still making made in USA shoes
William Hahn Shoe – In house shoe line for Hahn’s Shoes, a Washington DC based shoe retailer. Retailer started in 1876 and purchased by US Shoe Corp in 1962. Sold to a private partnership in 1992 and and bankrupt in 1995.
Williams Shoe – Portsmouth, Ohio. Economy shoe maker. Closed in 1976.
Winthrop – Brand created by St Louis based International Shoe Co in 1934. Ended production in 1970s
Worthmore – Interco value brand. Established in 1930
Weyenberg – Founded in Milwaukee Wisconsin in 1905. Later renamed Weyco Group in 1964
Yorktown Shoes – Made by Gardiner Shoes Gardiner Maine