Samuel Hubbard Shoe Company

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Samuel Hubbard Shoe Company
Founded2013; 6 years ago (2013)
FounderBruce R. Katz
HeadquartersMill Valley, California
ProductsShoes, belts, leather products
Number of employees

The Samuel Hubbard Shoe Company is an American footwear brand founded in 2013 by Bruce R. Katz.[1][2] A co-founder of the Rockport Shoe Company, Katz founded Samuel Hubbard in Mill Valley, CA to continue his family’s legacy designing and marketing premium footwear.


The origins of the Samuel Hubbard Shoe company date back to the 1930s when Samuel J. Katz established the Hubbard Shoe Company in Rochester, NH.[3] The company grew to more than 500 employees during the height of World War II, when it manufactured boots for the armed services.[3] By the end of the war, government orders had slowed significantly and Samuel’s son Saul Katz joined the company to help his father rebuild.[4]

The Hubbard Shoe Company prospered through the 1950s and 1960s, partly due to new government contracts to make ski and parachute boots during the Korean conflict.[3] However, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, overseas manufacturing became cheaper and more readily available. Unable to compete, New England shoe factories began to dwindle and by 1973, the Hubbard Shoe Company was forced to close its doors.[5]

In 1971, Saul Katz used $15,000 to start the Rockport Shoe Company with his son Bruce.[6][2] The company embraced the concept of overseas manufacturing and pioneered the idea of the comfort shoe. Revenue grew to almost $100 million in sales before acquisition by Reebok in 1986.[7][8][9]

When his stockpile of 24 pairs of Rockports[7][5] began to run out, Katz wondered where his next pairs of shoes would come from.[7] This, combined with the passing of his father Saul Katz in 2012 and concern that his eight year old daughter would never know the family’s shoemaking history, convinced Bruce to return to the shoe industry.[10][5] The Samuel Hubbard company was founded in July 2013,[4] the name commemorating the family legacy with the first part “Samuel” named after Bruce’s grandfather, and the second part “Hubbard” reflective of his grandfather’s company, Hubbard Shoe Co.[7][1]

Products & Manufacturing[edit]

Samuel Hubbard is best known for the “Unsneaker,” a casual and dress shoe hybrid that resembles a dress shoe on the outside, but feels like a sneaker on the inside.[11] The company produces several dozen styles including casual shoes, dress shoes and slip-ons. In 2018, golf shoes and boat shoes were introduced.

Uppers and insoles are made from European-sourced leathers, while most models use Vibram outsoles.[7] Manufacturing is performed in Portugal, a result of Katz’s industry connections and knowledge from his Rockport days. Shoes are sold through the company’s website, major retailers like Nordstrom and Dillards, and more than 500 independent shoe retailers across the United States.[7]

In Popular Culture[edit]

Samuel Hubbard shoes have been worn by Ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes[12] and were worn by Danny Glover in the film The Old Man & The Gun.[13] They’ve also been worn by singer Peter Gabriel,[6] celebrity chef Brian Malarkey[14] and former president Bill Clinton.[11]

Corporate Giving[edit]

The company has sponsored the Marin Humane Society and frequently features dogs in its catalogs.[6][15] For every shoe sold in the Freedom collection, $20 is donated to the News Literacy Project[16][17][18]


  1. ^ a b Chesto, Jon (July 19, 2016). "An old sole is new again". Boston Globe. Boston Globe. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Velasquez, Angela (June 28, 2018). "How Comfort Shoe Brands are Adjusting to the Casualization of Fashion". Camtrade Footwear. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Fowler, Martha (Mar 28, 2009). "Final part of a series: The history of shoemaking in Rochester The 20th century". Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "ENTREPRENEURS: Samuel Hubbard Shoe Company – The Extraordinary Story of How Bruce Katz Found His Way Back to Footwear". Tharawat Magazine. November 11, 2016. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Velasquez, Angela (June 16, 2016). "Chip Off the Old Rock: Bruce Katz Reintroduces Casual Footwear with Samuel Hubbard". Sourcing Journal. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Meagher, Bill (January 2018). "Going To The Dogs". North Bay Biz. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Dutter, Greg (August 1, 2017). "The Shoe Saviour". Footwear Plus Magazine. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  8. ^ McKenna, Kathleen (August 12, 2012). "Saul Katz, 95; shoe executive reinvented himself with Rockport brand". Boston Globe. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  9. ^ "Bruce R. Katz". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  10. ^ Dutter, Greg (August 1, 2017). "The Shoe Saviour". Footwear Plus Magazine. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Dustke, Constance (August 3, 2016). "The Hottest Start-Up Market? Baby Boomers". The New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  12. ^ Bullock, Christina (August 2017). "Meet Dean Karnazes: The UltraMarathon Man". Samuel Hubbard. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  13. ^ "The Old Man & the Gun". Samuel Hubbard. October 2018. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  14. ^ "9 Shoes Chefs Can't Live Without in the Kitchen". Food & Wine. December 9, 2016. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  15. ^ "We love our sponsors and in-kind donors!". Marin Humane. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  16. ^ Ishizuka, Kathy (November 29, 2018). "Samuel Hubbard's New "Freedom Shoe" to Benefit News Literacy in Schools". School Library Journal. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  17. ^ Miller, Alan (September 18, 2018). "New line of support for the News Literacy Project (and democracy)". News Literacy Project. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  18. ^ "The News Literacy Project and Samuel Hubbard stand for the First Amendment". Samuel Hubbard. October 2018. Retrieved April 10, 2019.

External links[edit]