The brand of shoes called Hush puppies was founded in 1958 by American footwear brand Wolverine. They had worked extensively to research and develop a method of tanning pigskin for the U.S military for protective clothing applications such as gloves and other protective clothing. Pigskin is considered extremely durable and hardwearing and is an ideal material to make gloves and footwear of course.
The chairman of Hush Puppies, Victor Krause, began to develop and build the brand into the casual shoe brand we know today in a concerted effort to diversify the company and appeal to the non military market for shoes. The brand quickly became a success and became a staple feature of leisure wear during the late 1950â€™s and the 1960â€™s in The United States of America.
James Gaylord Muir was the brandâ€™s first sales manager and was also responsible for the famous Hush Puppies mascot and name. An advertising agency had recommended the brand nameâ€ Lasersâ€ but in true anecdotal fashion, James Gaylord Muir was inspired to choose the brand name Hush Puppies after going for a meal with the regional salesman. They were in one of the southern states of America and were served a meal that included fried balls of corn called hush puppies, a traditional dish in the southern states of America.
Muir was curious as to the origin of the name and was informed that it was probably because farmers would give the fried balls of corn to their hound dogs sometimes to stop them from barking. Muir perceived a connection to his footwear because,â€™ barking dogsâ€™ was also a euphemism for sore feet. Hush puppies were hence marketed as shoes that could quiet barking dogs.
A claim to fame for Hush Puppies in the Sixties was that they were the shoes that saved Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richardâ€™s life. He had almost been electrocuted in an accident on stage in California but was saved by the rubber soles of his shoes which had insulated him from a fatal shock.
Since then the brand has suffered highs and lows but has endured and frequently gone and come back into fashion. Regardless of what you may think about Hush Puppies, they do have a reputation as being extremely comfortable footwear.