The History of the Saucony Shoe Manufacturing Company
- Author Jane Baron
- Published December 10, 2009
- Word count 411
Saucony shoes have been around for 111 years. Founded in 1898 by four businessmen from Kutztown, Pennsylvania, the shoe company’s fortunes and merchandise followed the course of American history. The name of the company is a Native American name, which means "mouth of a creek or river". The Saucony Creek runs through Kutztown, Pennsylvania, and the first Saucony brick shoe factory was built along its shores. The company has been loyal to its roots, maintaining the Saucony name (even though the company was bought out by a neighboring shoe manufacturer in 1968) and the Saucony logo, which subtly represents a river running over three boulders. Saucony began business by manufacturing children’s shoes, and by 1910, the company was producing approximately 800 shoes a day.
No discussion of the history of Saucony shoes would be complete without also discussing the history of a shoe store called A.R. Hyde & Sons, which bought the rights to Saucony in 1968. A.R. Hyde & Sons was based on the shores of another river – the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was run by Abraham Hyde who was a Russian immigrant and a cobbler by trade. Hyde began his business by manufacturing "carpet slippers", which were shoes made out of scraps from old or unused carpets. These shoes were extremely popular in the area. In 1932, A.R. Hyde & Sons first began manufacturing what the company dubbed "pleasure skates". These ice skates were the first "athletic shoes" ever produced by what would become the modern day Saucony. This line of athletic shoes expanded in 1938 to include baseball shoes, bowling shoes and roller skates.
The owners of A.R. Hyde & Sons changed their merchandise as history changed around them. In 1942, A.R. Hyde & Sons manufactured army boots for the soldiers in World War II, and in the 1960’s the footwear company made shoes for NASA. That’s right, the space boots worn by the first American astronaut to walk in space were A.R. Hyde & Sons originals.
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, the Saucony Shoe Manufacturing Company was dedicating itself to running shoes – a dedication that continues to exist today. Hyde eventually purchased the Saucony Company in 1968 and moved its headquarters to Cambridge. Saucony was largely a brand for a small but serious group of runners until 1977 when coverage in a national magazine brought the company national fame. The Saucony Company eventually moved again, this time to Lexington, Massachusetts, but it maintains its focus on high quality running shoes and meeting runners’ specific needs.
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