Winthrop Shoes comes from a rich background of innovative craftsmanship within the American footwear industry. The cultivation of our history began in 1911 when Winthrop Shoes’ parent organization, International Shoe Company, was formed in St. Louis, Missouri. The International Shoe Company initially set out to deliver something ingenious to the marketplace - to simply offer a higher standard of quality without drastically increasing the price.
Throughout years of success, the company experienced wide-spread recognition for its adherence to its high standards, which continued to improve with each passing decade. At one point in time, the International Shoe Company was the largest shoe manufacturer in the country, producing over 200,000 pairs of shoes per day.
Furthering the intention of making innovative contributions to the footwear industry, International Shoe Company launched the brand of Winthrop Shoes in 1934. Just as the economy began making its way back to normalcy after the Great Depression, the first collection of Winthrop Shoes was born. With signs of good times ahead, demand for fashion swept the nation as people looked towards trend following as a way to define their growth.
Men and women of this time were especially inspired by the fashions of British style icons such as the Duke of Windsor and David Niven. Domestically, men envied the upper class, who could afford the luxury of traveling across the pond to retrieve custom-made shoes with unique blends of textures and colors.
Winthrop Shoes bridged this disconnect between the basic comfort shoes of the everyday man and the elaborately decorated and handcrafted fashions of the upper class. The brand set a precedent of a new standard of value in men’s fine shoes. Custom-designed patterns and the use of innovative technology allowed for Winthrop Shoes to meet the level of quality that had only previously been seen in custom-crafted footwear from overseas. This practice of innovation, unprecedented quality, and overall value allowed the brand to make immediate waves in the footwear industry.
For decades to come, Winthrop Shoes continued to thrive, consistently distinguishing itself and becoming a widely recognized leader within the industry, and expanding to become an international brand.
However, society of the 1960's witnessed a huge shift in consumer interest. The modern and traditional styles of the early 1930's were replaced with the more casual and bohemian fashions of the late 1960's and early 1970's. Due to this shift, the popularity of Winthrop Shoes, along with many other iconic brands of the time, slowly weakened and eventually the brand ceased to exist.
Until its modern day rediscovery, the rich heritage of Winthrop Shoes had nearly been forgotten. Luckily, today's consumers have begun to revisit the well-loved trends of the brand's golden years, giving Winthrop Shoes an opportunity to tell its story once more.