(GQ) : Started in a small factory in Chicago in 1892, the Florsheim Shoe Company is now in its 126th year and has since then established its rich heritage, classic workmanship and impeccable quality. Despite being a brand that was started over a century ago, Florsheim shoes have never gone out of style. They are actively a part of the newest trends, thanks to their new designs, collections and styles. However, the brand has still managed to maintain the original core values – quality workmanship and classic styling. Whether it’s material selection or stitching, you can rely on your Florsheim shoe to be of the best possible quality.
The glorious history of the Florsheim Shoe Company
After the first factory in 1892, the first Florsheim retail store was opened up by its founder, Milton Florsheim. He and his father Sigmund Florsheim started making their first shoes in Chicago, Illinois. Many people sold shoes at the time, but there was something unique about this company. They had a name on them – something that made them distinct and by default, special. Florsheim stores were opened up all over the country and as the brand gained popularity, it was featured in magazines such as The Cosmopolitan.
In 1896, the founders took a step to give Florsheim a unique identity. A hand-stitched label with Florsheim’s name was added onto the pull-strap and inside every shoe, in order to make the purchasers believe they were buying a genuine Florsheim. In 1900, Floresheim added the Flor-scope to its retail stores, which enabled x-ray visions to find the perfect fit for the purchaser.
In 1917, Florsheim started supplying shoes to the American soldiers fighting in the World War I. But this wasn’t the end of the brand’s tryst with war. When World War II hit, half of Florsheim’s manufactured shoes were being sent to war.
Florsheim was the first brand to introduce square-toed shoes in the market in 1926. Two decades later, the brand shifted their shoes from the back room to the front of the stores, where the customers could browse through them easily. By 1966, Florsheim had a record of selling a shoe every 4 seconds.
Florsheim has always been ahead of its time. A classic example of this is The Florsheim Express Shop, which was opened up in all the retail stores. Here, customers could order any shoe from the entire collection on a computer, without relying on what was in the store’s stock. Sounds a little bit like the e-commerce of today, doesn’t it?
The 2000s saw a shift in the ownership of the company. In 2010, Florsheim introduced a new line, Florsheim by Duckie Brown, which as the product of a unique partnership. The years to follow more such partnerships, including a special one with shoe-designer George Esquivel in 2015.