Hytest Safety Footwear
Wolverine Boots and Shoes
Stride Rite Corporation
Wolverine World Wide, Inc. or Wolverine Worldwide is an American footwear manufacturer based in Rockford, Michigan, known for its own brand, Wolverine Boots and Shoes, as well as its subsidiaries such as Hush Puppies and Merrell. The company also manufactures footwear for other companies, such as Caterpillar and Harley-Davidson, as well as shoes and boots for the military. In 2012, Wolverine World Wide added Saucony, Keds, Stride Rite and Sperry Top-Sider to its list of subsidiaries after a joint agreement with Blum Capital Partners and Golden Gate Capital acquired the Performance Lifestyle Group of Collective Brands for US$1.23 billion.
G. A. Krause and Fredrick Hirth founded the company in 1883. Fredrick Hirth and Mr. Krause bought a small leather shop in Grand Rapids, Michigan starting with a capital investment of $2,900. In 1901, they decided to build a plant in Rockford Michigan, just north of Grand Rapids. They purchased and expanded the Rogue River Electric Light and Power Company to power their new plant and the city of Rockford. In 1903, operations began and in 1908 a tannery followed. The company now processed its own raw materials, and manufactured its own shoes sold through the Hirth-Krause Company. In 1921 the company changed its name to Wolverine Shoe and Tanning Corporation.From 1916-1923 its earnings increased 700%. [Wolverine World Wide booklet 11/1/1983 "A Tradition of Success"]
In 1941 during World War II, the Wolverine Shoe and Tanning Company began to work for the U.S. Navy, developing pigskin gloves and inventing what later became known as pigskin suede.
In 1964, the company changed its name to Wolverine Worldwide, Inc. and in 1965 became a publicly traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Hush Puppies, a casual footwear brand founded by the company, quickly rose to popularity in the 1960s.
In 1994 Wolverine Worldwide introduced Cat Footwear, a licensed brand of shoes using the Caterpillar Inc. name. In 1995, the Council of Fashion Designers of America voted Hush Puppies as Fashion Accessory of the Year. In continued expansion, the company in 1997 purchased the Merrell brand and acquired the global license for footwear from the Harley-Davidson Motor Company and followed with the purchase of Sebago in 2003 and Chaco in 2009 and UK-based brand Cushe.
The company has offices in Waltham, Massachusetts, Rockford, Michigan, London, Hong Kong and Ontario.
Wolverine Worldwide portfolio of owned and licensed brands include Chaco, Hush Puppies, Merrell, Sebago, Wolverine, Keds, Sperry Top-Sider, Stride Rite, and Saucony.
The company sources a majority of its footwear from numerous third-party manufacturers in Asia Pacific and South America.
As of 2016, the company operated 294 retail stores globally.