Hush Puppies

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hush Puppies
Hush Puppies logo.png
Product typeFootwear
OwnerWolverine World Wide
CountryUnited States
Markets120 countries

Hush Puppies is an American brand of casual footwear. A division of Wolverine World Wide, Hush Puppies is headquartered in Rockford, Michigan. Wolverine also licenses the Hush Puppies name for apparel, toys and accessories.[1]

Hush Puppies uses a basset hound named Jason[2] as its logo; basset hounds are occasionally referred to as "hush puppies" for this reason.[3]


Hush Puppies casual leather shoe

The Hush Puppies brand was founded in 1958 following extensive work by Wolverine to develop a practical method of pigskin tanning for the US military to use in gloves and other protective materials. Pigskin was soft and flexible, but not tough enough to be used in Wolverine's work boots; the company developed a pair of casual shoes from the pigskin to market as a comfort brand.[1] The casual lifestyle positioning appealed to the growing post-war suburbia in the United States; by mid-1959 the company had produced its first million pairs and by 1963 one in ten adults in the United States owned a pair of Hush Puppies.[4]

1990s resurgence[edit]

In 1994, when sales were down to 30,000 pairs a year, Hush Puppies suddenly became hip in the clubs and bars of downtown Manhattan where young people were buying them at small shoe stores.[5] Fashion designers John Bartlett, Anna Sui, and Joel Fitzpatrick began featuring them in their collections; the shoes were soon worn by celebrities such as Kenneth Clarke, Princess Diana, Jim Carrey, Sharon Stone, David Bowie, Tom Hanks, Ellen DeGeneres and Sylvester Stallone.[1][6]

A Hush Puppies storefront

Hush Puppies also benefited from the trend toward dressing-down at work, filling the fashion gap between sneakers and dress shoes. Depending on word of mouth, Wolverine sold 430,000 pairs of the shoes in 1995, and four times that the following year. Hush Puppies won the prize for best accessory at the Council of Fashion Designers awards dinner in 1995.[5][7][8]

Hush Puppies' rapid rise in popularity was used as an example of a tipping point by journalist Malcolm Gladwell.[5]

In popular culture[edit]

Hush Puppies claimed their rubber soles saved the life of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards when he accidentally touched his guitar against an ungrounded microphone at a 1965 concert in Sacramento, California. Richards was knocked unconscious, but medics believed that the crepe-soled Hush Puppies shoes he was wearing insulated him and saved his life.[9]

Hush Puppy shoes are referenced in a number of songs, including Jimmy Buffett's "Come Monday", Oran "Juice" Jones's "The Rain", and Pete Townshend's "Rough Boys".[4]

Mikhail Gorbachev invited the brand to be the first American company to do business in the Soviet Union.[4]

The shoes were worn by Forrest Gump in the movie Forrest Gump.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "History of Wolverine World Wide, Inc". FundingUniverse.
  2. ^ "Jason's Hush Puppies Scrapbook". Archived from the original on 2006-02-19. Retrieved 2006-03-05.
  3. ^ "The Basset Hound". Dogster. 2020-08-14. Archived from the original on May 10, 2021. Retrieved 2022-06-02.
  4. ^ a b c d "Hush Puppies shoes mark 50 star-studded years". The Grand Rapids Press. March 9, 2008. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  5. ^ a b c Gladwell, Malcolm (2000). The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-7595-7473-1. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
    "How to start an epidemic". The Guardian. 2000-04-22. Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  6. ^ Associated Press (1996-05-12). "Trendy Feet Find Themselves Beating a Path to Hush Puppies". Deseret News. Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  7. ^ "Wolverine World Wide Reports Higher Earnings and Sales for Year and Fourth Quarter". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2011-12-05.
  8. ^ Stafford, Rod (December 3, 1995). "If Di Can't Come, Forget the Cameras". Sun Sentinel. Archived from the original on July 2, 2021. Retrieved June 11, 2022.
  9. ^ "Bee History: Shocking night for Keith Richards". The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on July 21, 2017. Retrieved June 2, 2020.

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