This bit of trivia comes from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: in 1928, two shoemakers, Trafton (Trafton?!) Cole and Eddie Haan, made cobbling history in Chicago with the first Cole Haan shoe. Today it offers much more than men’s shoes, including belts, handbags, and dresses – and neither the Coles nor the Haans own it! It’s now a fully-owned subsidiary of Nike.
Four more bits of trivia on shoes after the jump!
- Continuing on the subject of the swoosh, Nike sneakers were first made in 1964 under the brand Blue Ribbon Sports (they would be named after the goddess of victory in 1978) by Oregon track star Philip Knight and his coach Bill Bowerman, and continue to have their headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.
- Proof that the Oregon connection was fate: the earliest known shoes, sandals, were found in Oregon, and date back to around 8000 BCE.
- Chicago is the home to another great man in footwear: in 1906, at what is now Loyola University, William Mathias Scholl created his first foot care product, the Foot-Eazer. From that one arch support product, the Dr. Scholl’s brand was born.
- Arch support was also the forte of William J. Riley in Boston, Massachusetts. He sold his company to a salesman named Arthur Hall, who in turn sold it to his daughter and her husband. In 1960, they made their first sneaker. You may be wearing their products today: that company was, and is, New Balance.