1883. That is the year that the company now known as Wolverine Worldwide, Inc. was founded on one man's belief that great things were possible. Today, more than 130 years later, we know great things are not only simply possible, they are achievable when dedication and determination lead the way.
Since then, our unprecedented journey has produced a diverse business model that spans approximately 200 countries and territories around the world and embraces 16 owned and licensed brands with millions of loyal customers. And as we continue to grow, we will hold true to the values that have guided us thus far: fairness, dedication, and the pursuit of opportunity.
To explore the many notable moments that have made Wolverine Worldwide the company it is today, please click on each decade below.
1883 - The company that would become Wolverine Worldwide, Inc. is founded by G.A. Krause, who believed in the possibility of opportunity.
1901 – Krause organizes the Rogue River Electric Light and Power Company and brings electricity to Rockford, Michigan from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily.
1903 – Now a family business, Krause and his sons build a shoe factory in Rockford, Michigan. It makes 300 pairs of shoes daily.
1908 – The Krauses build the Wolverine tannery and begin supplying their shoe factory with tough, durable horsehide.
1914 – The Wolverine brand name is chosen for shoes made of Wolverine horsehide leather. Because of their durability, they're called "1,000 Mile Shoes."
1919 – Wolverine begins national advertising: Wolverine work shoes are sold by one of the earliest national sales forces and become a household name.
1921 – Flush with success, the company changes its name to Wolverine Shoe and Tanning Corporation.
1928 – The company begins selling shares to its own employees, becoming one of the nation's first profit sharing plans.
1931 – The Great Depression arrives. Although sales are down, factory lines are kept running and shoes are warehoused for brighter times the owners know lie ahead.
1941 – During World War II, the Wolverine Shoe and Tanning Company begins to work for the U.S. Navy, developing pigskin gloves.
1946 – At war's end, company engineers build a factory to produce their new leather called "pigskin suede."
1952 – With horses disappearing from the American landscape, Wolverine Shoe and Tanning Corporation searches for new ways to use pigskin suede. G.A. Krause's son, Victor, leads the charge.
1957 – A breakthrough comes via the creation of soft, suede casual shoes. America would never be the same.
1958 – The casual brand shoe, Hush Puppies, is born, having gotten its name from the treats Southerners used to quiet barking dogs.
1959 – Wolverine launches the Hush Puppies brand with a heavy marketing and advertising campaign.
1959 – Hush Puppies signs its first licensee: Greb Shoes, Ltd. of Canada. Plans for international expansions ensue.
1963 – Sales of Hush Puppies shoes go through the roof with an average of one in ten American adults owning a pair of Hush Puppies.
1964 – The company chooses a more fitting name: Wolverine Worldwide, Inc. (WWW).
1965 – Company stock goes up on the "Big Board" and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange for the first time.
1976 – Wolverine Worldwide begins laying the foundations of its brand family and leading technologies.
1986 – The company funds the Biomechanical Engineering Laboratory at Michigan State University and forms the International Design Center in Montecatini, Italy.
1989 – The company's international business reaches record levels. The total value of the wholesale sales of international licensees surpasses the level of wholesale business in the states.
1990 – Wolverine Worldwide begins building its future, beginning with a dynamic new image for Hush Puppies: "We Invented Casual."
1992 – Hush Puppies introduces DuraShocks, the first true comfort system for work boots.
1994 – Wolverine Worldwide introduces the world to Cat Footwear. The new "Walking Machines" are quickly liked and a new fashion finds its way onto city streets.
1995 – Hush Puppies are voted Fashion Accessory of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
1997 – The company purchases the Merrell brand and begins the process of developing the leading global brand in performance outdoor footwear.
1998 – Wolverine Worldwide acquires the global license for footwear from the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, which becomes one of the company's top performing brands.
2001 – Wolverine Worldwide acquires European Caterpillar and Merrell businesses, creating the company's first owned wholesale businesses on the continent.
2003 – The company purchases Sebago, the authentic American brand featuring handsewn dress casual and performance marine footwear, including Docksides.
2005 – Company sales top one billion dollars for the first time.
2006 – WWW acquires the global license to design and market Patagonia Footwear.
2009 – Wolverine Worldwide receives the "Excellence in Lifestyle Branding" award from the American Apparel and Footwear Association
2012 – WWW acquires the PLG group from Collective Brands, Inc. This adds Sperry Top-Sider, Saucony, Stride Rite and keds to the existing brand family.
2012 — Wolverine Worldwide receives prestigious industry recognition and is named Company of the Year by Footwear News.
2013 — Wolverine Worldwide receives Company of the Year at the Footwear Plus Awards for Design Excellence.