Step into any vintage shop today and you’ll find the surviving traces of a once-great American footwear-manufacturing sector. To sure, good shoes are still being produced in the US, but the industry isn’t what it used to be. Its last heave was in the 1940s and ‘50s, when companies were bolstered one last time through a boom in sales – first from the US government, who needed to supply troops abroad with quality shoes, and then from the growing domestic workforce in the immediate postwar period.
Since the ‘60s, however, things have gone into steep decline. The introduction of affordable synthetics and increased competition from abroad have forced many companies into producing cheap crap. Just compare anything made nowadays by firms such as Stacy Adams and Bass, to what they produced seventy-five years ago, and your mind will be blown.