In 1958, Hush Puppies redefined casual footwear - shoes with an individual style that made it cool to be comfortable. Today, Hush Puppies defines a generation of men, women and children who embrace the light-hearted spirit of the brand as well as the lovable basset hound who represents us!
See how the Hush Puppies story developed throughout the years below:
The origins of the Hush Puppies name are decidedly low-tech. A company sales manager sat with a friend for a dinner of catfish and deep fried corn fritters called "hush puppys." Intrigued by the name, the salesman discovered that farmers also used these hush puppys to quiet barking dogs. At the time, tired feet were known as "barking dogs" and the salesman reasoned that his soft, lightweight comfortable shoes could quiet them, too. The rest is history. The Hush Puppies trademark was registered on July 1, 1958 and soon after, the company purchased, for just $50, the photograph of a soft-eyed basset hound that would become its logo and grace millions of shoes, boxes, ads and displays.
Hush Puppies were introduced to the industry at the National Shoe Fair in Chicago in October 1957. Reaction was immediate and overwhelming. Retailers flocked to the booth, intrigued by the casual lifestyle positioning, innovative styling, brushed suede uppers and lightweight crepe soles. By mid-1959 the company had produced its first million pairs and by 1963 one-in-ten adults in the United States owned a pair of Hush Puppies.
It didn't take long for the rest of the world to discover Hush Puppies. Celebrities like Warren Beatty, Perry Como and the "Rat Pack" found them as early as 1959. Hush Puppies became the look for the swingin' set and were advertised on the Tonight Show with its new host, Johnny Carson.
Prince Phillip of Great Britain chose Hush Puppies to wear on a 1959 visit to the United States. (It would be another two years before Hush Puppies offered a women's line for Queen Elizabeth.) Future US president Gerald Ford presented a pair of Hush Puppies golf shoes to President Dwight Eisenhower.
In the 1960's "British Invasion" bands wore Hush Puppies on tour. It was Hush Puppies rubber soles that saved the life of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards when he accidentally touched his guitar against an ungrounded microphone at a 1965 concert in Sacramento, California. Knocked unconscious, medics believed that the crepe soled Hush Puppies shoes that Richards was wearing insulated him - and saved the future of rock 'n roll.
Rod Stewart has also previously worn Hush Puppies on tour, exclusively manufactured the variety of lace ups and slip ons were made on request in lilac, pink, yellow and of course leopard print.
Hush Puppies helped the world relax... but it took a bit of work to get there. The history of Hush Puppies is rooted in comfort innovation - from the first casual shoe with Worry-Free Suede® to the many patented technologies that make shoes more comfortable and lightweight. From the beginning, the revolutionary use of Scotchgard® leather protector, added during the tanning process, made Hush Puppies leather scuff, stain and water resistant and changed suede footwear forever. Water beaded up and rolled away, leaving feet dry and the suede soft, supple and looking like new.
Hush Puppies made "worryfree" a benchmark of its shoes and its brand attitude.
With dual-density soles and "memory foam" insoles, they "fit like your footprint in the sand." Hush Puppies again helped "make walking easier" in 1990 with the introduction of Bounce® technology. Working with the Michigan State University Biomechanics Evaluation Laboratory, the patented Bounce outsole "absorbed the shock of walking impact while gently moving you forward through your step." Bounce Technology remains a cornerstone of Hush Puppies product development.
Today, Hush Puppies continues to innovate through technological advancement. From lightweight Zero G® styles to reverse action WaveReflex® technology, Hush Puppies world-renowned comfort continually evolves.
The search for a new "spokesbasset" ended in the late -1980's when a plucky house pet became the new Hush Puppies mascot to reinforce the fun, irreverence and optimism of the Hush Puppies brand. Ads placed him in unusual situations for a basset hound but true to the Hush Puppies casual promise... like relaxing on a hammock or cooling in front of a fan. Paying homage to Marilyn Monroe, the Hush Puppies basset posed on a subway grate as air from the train below blew his ears over his head. The spot won the Golden Lion award at the 1989 Cannes Advertising Festival and was named one of the Top 50 TV Commercials of All Time.
Movies from Forrest Gump to Austin Powers featured Hush Puppies product cameos. As Hush Puppies became topical, articles ran above the mastheads of major world newspapers, in magazines and on television.
An original idea, born fifty years ago, continues to inspire the world today.