The early beginnings of Saucony can be traced back to the late 1800s, when Abraham Hyde, a Russion immigrant began making slippers from old carpets. He was a cobbler, and continued his work of ‘carpet slippers’ to include street shoes until 1932, when he began manufacturing ice skates which he labeled Pleasure Skates.
Abraham began producing a line of athletic footwear until the outbreak of World War II, including bowling shoes, roller boots and baseball footwear. Once the war started he focused on manufacturing soldier’s boots, which earned him the Army/Navy E Award for Manufacturing Excellence. This award was given to only one shoe manufacturing company in America – Abraham’s.
He returned to producing athletic shoes after the war ended and the company purchased Illinois Athletic Shoe Company in 1952.
The Saucony Shoe Manufacturing Company was purchased by Hyde and Sons in 1968, and a year later the family owned company went public.
By 1976 Hyde had sales of $20 million, but when a magazine in the US gave Saucony an award for ‘Best Quality’ runners began to recognize the brand.
Due to limited funds for advertising, the 80s were not a period of growth, but the company’s slower pace allowed them to continue manufacturing shoes with the same quality and this helped their reputation. In 1985 Hyde purchased a company that manufactured in-line skates, ice skates and roller skates – Brookfield Athletic Shoe Company.
A potential merger between Hyde and Silvershoe failed due to Silvershoes’ inability to gain the financing they needed.
By the early 90s, the Saucony division accounted for almost ¾ of total sales. Another magazine rating doubled the sales of Saucony shoes in a period of only a few months, and Hyde decided to double its advertising budget.
In 1998 Hyde split Saucony into Saucony North America and Saucony International, and also renamed Hyde to Saucony Inc. In just over one year, the price of their stock tripled, due to the Saucony Original’s line. Teen People featured the new line in their magazine and as a result this line accounted for 37 percent of their net sales in 1999.
Despite lackluster performance for the athletic shoe industry as a whole, This once cold manufacturer in 1999 sales increased 47 percent over 1998. As the millennium turned, Saucony increased its public profile by sponsoring events such as Super Bowl XXXIV and the Los Angeles Marathon, where the company donated 1,900 pairs of its shoes to local students.
Where is the Company Headed?
Saucony Shoes was sold to the Stride Rite Corporation in 2005, and then to Payless in 2007. Only Payless knows where the company will go from there.
- The first space boots worn by astronauts were made by Abraham Hyde’s company
- The Brand is available in over 5,500 stores in the U.S and over 23 countries around the world (in 2000)
- they sponsored the Los Angeles Marathon and the Super Bowl XXXIV
- They donated 1900 pairs of shoes to local students at the Los Angeles Marathon
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