Thursday, February 28, 2013

wolverine shoes, 1963

We live a few miles away from Wolverine World Wide, the corporate home of the sellers of Hush Puppies and other brands of shoes.  In 1963, they were apparently doing very well, at least, according to the company's annual report.  They had expanded beyond the crepe-soled Hush Puppies line to begin making work shoes, athletic shoes, leather-soled men's dress shoes, and women's dress shoes, as well as hats and bags.  (I love the red shoes with the little bow on the front cover of the report...and also the gal gazing in admiration at those two-tone men's oxfords.)

When I first moved here in 1998, they were still making shoes right here in Michigan.  They aren't any more.  Now everything is made overseas.  The new, costlier "heritage" Wolverine 1000 Mile Collection is, apparently, made in America, somewhere.  But not in Rockford (though their site kind of implies that they are, with a "Wolverine 1000 Mile Rockford, MI" leather logo stamp on the header).  I've seen some of the collection in person, and they are great looking shoes and boots.  I can't speak to how well made they are.  I do find it a bit depressing that the only way now to have a pair of Wolverine shoes made in the US, you need to have much more expendable income than someone in 1963 did.

Hush Puppies are the ideal shoe for the whole family--in Germany, too!  One reason the company was doing so well was overseas expansion.  They were opening new factories here in the US and abroad to keep up with demand.  (German word of the day: schmutzabweisend, meaning "stain resistant.")


Hush Puppies were (are?) made of pigskin leather.  The tannery in Rockford emitted a most distinctive scent when it was in operation.

The board of directors.  Unsurprisingly, mostly old white guys.  You can see that horn rimmed glasses were the style to wear in 1963.

The back cover of the report.  I love this image--a boot floating over its own shadow to emphasize its lightness!  Cool.



  1. I love Hush Puppies. I may have at first fallen in love with their adorable hounds but they are so comfy and stylish, not matter what decade they're from.

    That photo of the lady gazing at the guy's shoes is great!

    1. She's jealous that they did not make that style for women, and so am I. I LOVE those!

  2. I love stuff like this report, as they always hold so much information. I hope Wolverine has a big archive of reports and such.


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