PF Flyers

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PF Flyers
Founded1937; 86 years ago (1937) in Akron, Ohio, United States
FounderB.F. Goodrich
Area served
ProductsApparel, clothing, and shoes
ParentKassia Designs, LLC
A pair of PF Flyer "All American" high tops

PF Flyers is an American brand of lifestyle shoes owned by Kassia Designs, LLC. Founded in 1937 by B.F. Goodrich,[1] it is one of the original American sneaker brands.


In 1933, inventor Hyman L. Witman and rubber manufacturing company B.F. Goodrich patented the "Posture Foundation" arch support insole, and began adding the new technology to its shoes. B.F. Goodrich shoes with Posture Foundation became known simply as "PF" in 1937. In 1935, Canadian badminton player Jack Purcell designed a low, white-bleached badminton shoe made of canvas and rubber for B.F. Goodrich. Named after Purcell, it featured a blue "smile" across the toe of the shoe and provided more protection for the court. By 1944, PF Flyers released their first kids' collection, and created the slogan, "Run Faster, Jump Higher".[1] Fashion trends in the 1940s and 1950s saw PF Flyers expand from gyms and ball fields to become fashionable active footwear; its main competitors were Converse and Keds. "Everything you do is more fun with PF" read one 1947 magazine ad. PF styles ranged from high- and low-top sport shoes to oxfords and moccasins "for work, relaxation and play". PF Flyers' women's line was released in 1948.[1] In 1950, PF Flyers became standard issue for certain military outfits. 1958 saw the first athlete to be endorsed by a shoe brand: All-star basketball player Bob Cousy of the Boston Celtics was chosen to market PF Flyers. PF Flyers also sponsored Jonny Quest when it ran from 1964 to 1965. By the 1960s, PF was one of the most popular shoes in America, with a 20% hold on all canvas sneakers sold, but struggled with industry changes in the early 1970s.[1]


In 1972, Eltra Corporation, the former parent of Converse, purchased the PF Flyers brand from B.F. Goodrich, due to B.F. Goodrich leaving the shoe industry. However, this created a monopoly in the shoe market and the two brands were split due to an anti-trust lawsuit. Both companies were eventually sold in 1975.[2] PF Flyers then fell into obscurity, dormant from 1975 to 2000. The brand was first sold to P&F Industries, Inc, then to the Brookfield Athletic Shoe Company.[3] In 1988, Hyde Athletic Industries Inc. (now known as Saucony), planned to relaunch the PF Flyers brand through the acquisition of the Brookfield Athletic Shoe Company Inc., by first marketing the brand for kids before producing adult models.[4] In 1991, LJO Inc. acquired the brand. Despite the split and selling of both companies, Converse kept the rights of the Jack Purcell line of shoes from the PF Flyers acquisition. Rebranded with the Converse name, Jack Purcell sneakers are still produced today.

In 2001, New Balance purchased PF Flyers and re-launched the brand in 2003.[1] On 23 December 2014, New Balance filed a lawsuit against Nike-owned Converse for its federal trademark registration for the toe bumper, toe cap and striped midsole and had ruled out that, "Converse does not have the exclusive right to use a toe bumper, toe cap and striped midsole in connection with athletic footwear."[3] On 15 July 2016, the United States International Trade Commission ruled in favor of New Balance, saying it could continue to produce PF Flyers footwear using the toe caps, toe bumpers, and stripes design.[5] On 12 January 2021, New Balance confirmed that the PF Flyers brand had been discontinued.[6]

On 21 July 2021, Kassia Davis, the founder of clothing brand KADA, acquired PF Flyers from New Balance, and will be operating under Kassia Designs, LLC.[7]


Current Models[edit]


Introduced in the 1960s, the "Center" line is one of PF Flyer's most popular and well-known models. The "Center Hi" was also the same model featured in 1993's The Sandlot.[8] In 2018, a baseball cleat model was introduced in collaboration with New Balance.

All American

In 1958, PF Flyers created the first athletic endorsement, of which was Bob Cousy of the Boston Celtics, to market PF Flyers with the "All American" model, which was a basketball shoe similar in design to the Converse Chuck Taylor basketball shoe. A reissue was released in 2009, of the "Bob Cousy Lo" that featured a Gullwing Closure of the top lace grommet.[9] In 2017, New Balance re-released the "All American" model, featuring Fresh Foam used in New Balance's active line of shoes. On June 27, 2022, PF Flyers released a limited edition "Bob Cousy Hi Top" to celebrate the 2022 season of the Boston Celtics.[10]

Previous Models[edit]

Jack Purcell

Originally designed in 1935 by Jack Purcell as a badminton shoe, the "Jack Purcell" was one of PF Flyers' first models.[11] In 1972, the "RaceAround" and "Indy 500" shoes were released by B.F. Goodrich and were inspired by fast cars, such as the Corvette. That same year, Converse took ownership of PF Flyers until 1975, and kept the rights of the "Jack Purcell" line.[12]

Made in USA

In 2015, PF Flyers launched their "Made in USA" collection; handmade in Boston, Massachusetts, to commemorate the 20th-century American-Made PF Flyers. Made in USA models include the "Center" and "Windjammer".[13] On December 4, 2020, New Balance stated it will close its Boston plant in February 2021; thus leading to the discontinuation of the PF Flyers "Made in USA" collection.[14]


In 1968, PF Flyers released the "Windjammer". A CVO-styled sneaker, but with the classic PF Flyer design. In 2018, New Balance re-released the "Windjammer" for its "Made in USA" line of footwear.[15]


In the 1940s, PF Flyers created a consumer version of their US military boot with the release of the "Grounder". The "Grounder" is similar in design to the "All American" model, but with a more durable out-sole and thicker tread.[16] In 2013, the "Foundation Collection" was released with 'Van Buren' brogue, 'Beeson' chukka and 'Brewster' moc-toe models inspired by the Grounder.[17]


Released in 1943, "Rambler" featured high-visibility hash mark foxing, two-tone stitching, striated toecap, inner webbing stripe, and a pronounced diamond toe bumper. 'Hi' and 'Lo' top versions were available. In 2010, an archival reissue was released.[18]


Originally released in 1947, the "Sumfum" featured an espadrille-styled upper and refined foxing details. An archival reissue was released in 2010.[19]


In 1979, the "Glide" model was released. It was a basketball high top that featured era-specific markings, padded tongue, and heel ribs. In 2009, an archival reissue of the sneaker was released.[20]

Number 5

Released in 2010, the "Number 5" featured a variety of material make-ups, full-grain leather and woven nylon builds. The signature chevron in the saddle separated this design from other PF Flyers models.[21]

In Media[edit]

PF Flyers featured in the 1993 film The Sandlot;[1] for the film's 20th anniversary, a limited edition shoe was made. In 2018, PF Flyers created another limited run reissue. PF Flyers appeared in the animated television series Jonny Quest (1964–1965) as the main sponsor of the show. Commercials for Jonny Quest would be centered around advertising PF Flyers shoes. One notable highlight of these commercials was the "PF Magic Ring", which featured "decoder dials", "magnifying glass", and a "secret compartment" inside the ring and would be included in the purchase of a pair of PF Flyers.[22]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Our Story". PF Flyers. Archived from the original on 27 October 2018. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  2. ^ Schneider, Jason (1 July 2015). "12 Glorious Moments in the American History of PF Flyers". Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b Brettman, Allan (24 December 2014). "PF Flyers Strike Back at Nike". Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  4. ^ White, George (15 September 1988). "Sneaking Back:P.F. Flyers Live". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  5. ^ Feitelberg, Rosemary (15 July 2016). "ITC Rules Against Converse in Trademark Infringement Lawsuit". WWD. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  6. ^ @newbalance (12 January 2021). "Hey! These unfortunately have been phased out" (Tweet). Retrieved 12 October 2021 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ Ciment, Shoshy (21 July 2021). "Exclusive: Looking to Empower Women in Footwear, Kassia Davis Buys PF Flyers From New Balance, Her Family Business". Footwear News. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  8. ^ "Center Hi". PF Flyers. Archived from the original on 16 August 2018. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  9. ^ "PF Flyers Bob Cousy All American Low Top Reissue". 13 May 2009. Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  10. ^ "PF Flyers All American Cousy". Kicks On Fire. Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  11. ^ "Jack Purcell". Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  12. ^ "Jack Purcell RaceAround". 22 January 2018. Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  13. ^ "Introducing Ball and Buck's Newest Offering [Photo]". BostInno. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  14. ^ "New Balance plans to close its Boston factory for good, trimming 60-plus jobs in the city". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  15. ^ "Made in USA Windjammer". PF Flyers. Archived from the original on 16 August 2018. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  16. ^ "Grounder Hi". PF Flyers. Archived from the original on 16 August 2018. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  17. ^ "PF Flyers Introduces the Foundation". Sole Collector. Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  18. ^ "PF Flyers 2010 Spring Rambler Hi & Lo". 26 February 2010. Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  19. ^ "PF Flyers Fourth of July Pack". 28 June 2011. Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  20. ^ "PF Flyers Glide". 29 December 2009. Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  21. ^ "PF Flyers Number 5". 30 July 2010. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
  22. ^ Blosser, Lyle. "Jonny Quest Memorabilia". Classic Jonny Retrieved 22 June 2021.

External links[edit]