HISTORY

1758

1758

The Keith family of shoe makers traces its ancestry back to the Reverend James Keith, first Minister of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, who came from Scotland in 1662. Bridgewater was the first interior settlement founded by families from the Plymouth Colony who moved inland. It was here, in 1758, that Reverend James' great grandson, Levi, became the first of the family to make shoes, in a small ell attached to his house where he conducted a tannery. Both Levi's son Benjamin and his grandson, Ziba, learned the art of shoe making at early ages and followed the family trade in the cold winter months. Ziba's son Franklin received his training in the "Old Red Shop" as the ell of the house was known. It was Franklin who was the first of the family to depend solely on shoe making for his livelihood.

1874

1874

Keeping with the family tradition, Franklin passed his knowledge on to his own son, George Eldon, who began making shoes at the age of ten. Years later, in 1874, with $1,000, George Eldon set up his own enterprise. He hired 10 employees, and thus began the business that was to become Walk-Over, and would soon be a respected household name the world over.

1883

  • 1883
  • 1883
  • 1883

The Northern Pacific Railway was completed, an important milestone in the development of the American west. This time of expansion and discovery marked the beginning of an era that would bring forth some of the most hardworking, rugged styles in Walk-Over’s history, from engineer to tanker boots.

Today, the iconic styles of the Walk-Over Vintage Collection reflect the authentic detail and character of these archival 19th and early 20th century designs.

1899

1899

The thriving business was gaining a reputation for its value and integrity, and Mr. Keith wanted to brand the company with a name that would reflect its growing prominence. Discussing it with his wife one evening while she was reading the newspaper, the headline caught his eye: "America's Cup defender 'Columbia' wins in a Walk Over Sir Thomas Lipton's 'Shamrock'". Strength, straight-forward simplicity, and clear-cut victory - "Walk-Over" said it all, and thus was born the first brand name in men's footwear in the country.

1920

1920

Over the next few decades, through the 1920s, Walk-Over shoes were sold in 102 countries and 46 exclusive Walk-Over stores worldwide. Mr. Keith's vision, energy, and innovation were unprecedented in the shoemaking industry. Surrounding himself with dedicated employees, he built a company based on respect for all with whom he dealt. As he said, "No person ever attained success by creating enemies."

1950

1950

The seeds of success that were planted in the 19th century and sewn in the first part of the 20th continued to flourish. By mid-century Walk-Over was still a prominent presence worldwide, a veritable household name from Boston to Belgium, San Diego to Switzerland. The source of this success transcended the quality, comfort and durability of the shoes. The spirit was writ large, literally, in the magazine published by the company, Walk-Over Shoe Print, which covered issues relating to the company, the shoemaking industry, and general social concerns, and embodied the way Mr. Keith’s vision went beyond the immediate needs of his personal business.

1970

1970

As the 1950s came to a close, shoe manufacturing standards began to fall. Mass marketing demands on volume and low price lured manufacturers into forfeiting production quality. The George E. Keith Company, however, resisted the temptation to follow suit and continued to produce the highest quality footwear for many of the world’s finest brand names and retailers to the same standards of excellence on which Mr. Keith had built the Walk-Over business.

1980

1980

After nearly a century of shoemaking excellence, Walk-Over was a premier brand of men’s footwear, the epitome of which were the tailored business shoe and the classic buck. These iconic styles represented the direction the company would take as it stepped into the future with an emphasis on the dress side of casual and the casual side of dress.

1990

1990

With the introduction of a complete line of women’s shoes, Walk-Over continued its commitment to producing the highest quality footwear, and it continued its tradition of innovation, developing high performance and waterproof performance shoes to meet modern technological demands.

today

Today

Although rich in history and steeped in tradition, Walk-Over Shoes are manufactured to meet the demands of the 21st century, and the slogan, "Made to a Standard. Not a Price," that has been the guiding principle of this American tradition since its humble beginnings in the "Old Red Shop" persists today, and the company is setting new standards in style, durability, and comfort for today and beyond. 250 years and counting, Walk-Over shoes are still manufactured in the United States and they're emblematic of America's creative, entrepreneurial, and can-do spirit.