With nearly a century of experience making exceptional shoes and boots in America, our history is a distinctly homegrown success story. As we get ready to celebrate our 100th anniversary, we couldn’t be prouder of the more than nine decades of expertise that go into every pair of our footwear
WHERE IT ALL STARTED
From the beginning, we’ve been focused on innovation. In 1922 Elbert W. Allen founded a company in Belgium, Wisconsin that made shoes with responsive cork insoles instead of the awkward metal nails and shanks used in footwear at the time. Due in part to his own abilities as a salesman, Allen’s groundbreaking designs quickly found a following with anyone who appreciated a lighter, more flexible dress shoe that was much more comfortable from the very first wear.
DEFINING AMERICAN STYLE
After supplying footwear to the US Army and Navy during WWII, we gained a life-long fanbase among returning GIs who discovered the remarkable quality of our shoes and boots while servings overseas. In the following decades as we introduced styles like our Park Avenue and Strand oxfords that remain best-sellers to this day, getting fitted for your first pair of our dress shoes became an important rite of passage for fathers to share with their sons.
The team in Port Washington with entertainer Ernest Borgnine behind the wheel of the Wingtripper, a giant, drivable shoe that was used for local parades and events in the Milwaukee area.
DID YOU KNOW?
Along with successive generations of leaders in the business, legal and cultural fields, we can count several US presidents among our dedicated customers.
THE NEXT 100 YEARS
Dress shoes will always be core to our DNA, but as a company that got its start by shaking up the footwear industry, we’re committed to adapting to meet the needs of today and anticipating the demands of tomorrow. That means branching into a brand-new line of versatile, casual designs and office-approved sneakers alongside the signature icons that built our reputation. As we evolve, there is one thing you can always count on remaining the same: all our footwear is made with the same quality, integrity and honesty that have set our shoes apart since day one.