Florsheim Shoes

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Florsheim, Inc.
TypeShoe brand
Founded1892; 131 years ago (1892)
FounderMilton S. Florsheim
HeadquartersGlendale, Wisconsin, United States
ParentWeyco Group
WebsiteFlorsheim Shoes

Florsheim Shoes is a shoe brand in the United States.


Florsheim & Co. was founded in 1892 by Milton S. Florsheim. He and his father Sigmund Florsheim made the first shoes in Chicago.

Florsheim store in Aventura, Florida in 2021

Eventually, some stores were owned by and selling only Florsheim. By 1930, Florsheim was making women's shoes and had five Chicago factories and 2,500 employees, with 71 stores partly or entirely company-owned and 9,000 stores around the US selling Florsheims.[1]

Milton Florsheim died and was succeeded by his son Irving in 1936. His younger son Harold became president in 1946 as the elder brother became chairman.

1922 newspaper ad for Florsheim shoes in Portland, Oregon.
Loafers from Florsheim Shoes.

In 1953, International Shoe Company, the world's largest shoe maker, bought Florsheim for $21 million. Three years later, Florsheim became a division, operating as a separate entity. During its first ten years, Florsheim was International Shoe's most important unit, doubling its sales, and responsible for a quarter of the parent's sales and more than twice that fraction of earnings. Florsheim had 70% of high-quality men's shoes and succeeded when its parent company was struggling.

A Florsheim Shoes store in The Bronx in 1952.

Florsheim eventually sold women's shoes through Thayer-McNeil stores, also owned by International Shoe (by this time called Interco).

In the 1980s Florsheim began selling athletic shoes, and Interco's shoe division became part of Florsheim.

In 1991, Interco declared bankruptcy but kept Florsheim until the company exited the shoe business in 1994. Florsheim became a separate company. In 1996 it changed its name to Florsheim Shoe Group.[2]

Until the mid-1990s, almost every mall in the US had a Florsheim store. With the rise of such shoe stores as Journeys and Finish Line, Inc., and the de-emphasis of shoe stores in American malls, most Florsheim stores closed by the early 2000s. This followed the fate of other companies such as Kinney Shoes, Thom McAn and Butler Shoes. Butler Shoes became Butler Group owned by Zale Corporation. Butler Group closed in 1990.[3]

In 2002, the company was repurchased by members of the founding family. Thomas W. Florsheim, Jr. and John W. Florsheim of Weyco Group, based in Glendale, Wisconsin, repurchased the brand for $47 million from rival Florsheim Group, according to the Wall Street Journal.[full citation needed]

Notable people[edit]

Michael Jackson would wear Florsheim Shoes for dancing. He wore the models Como and Como Imperial and had leather heels installed.[4][5]

Jack Nicholson mentions the shoe brand in the 1974 hit film Chinatown after his character, J.J. Gittes, nearly gets swept under by a runoff.

Ben Florsheim, the mayor of Middletown, Connecticut, is a direct descendant of Milton S. Florsheim.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stodhill, Ron (2007-06-24). "The Florsheims, Back in Their Own Shoes". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-06-16.
  2. ^ "Florsheim Shoe Group Inc. -- Company History". fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  3. ^ "Butler shoe store". digital.lib.ecu.edu.
  4. ^ "Jewels, pearls, and plain Florsheim shoes for Michael Jackson". Reuters. 12 October 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Michael Jackson Signed Loafers". Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  6. ^ McWilliams, Kathleen (28 October 2019). "Ben Florsheim, the 27-year-old Democrat running for mayor in Middletown, hopes people buy into his optimism, vision for the city". courant.com. Retrieved 2020-04-06.

External links[edit]