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Freeman shoes: anyone know anything?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I found a nice pair of Freeman 3-eyelet derbys (split toe, black). Made in the USA.
I've never heard of them, but Google pulled up some World War II-era ads: anyone know when they stopped making them? These look well-made, with nice leather.

Any comments appreciated.
post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 
One bump and then it dies.

post #3 of 12
I know nothing, although I've seen them on ebay. My guess is that the company has more or less passed into history....
post #4 of 12
If you google for "freeman shoe" (use the quotation marks) you can find a bit of info. Seemed to have been headquartered in Beloit, Wisc. Out of business around 1990.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks (I googled before I posted, but only found a circa-WWII advert).

Finally found some info: very sad. Company hung on via some Gulf War I contracts, then folded.
The thing is, the shoes are quite nice, very well made and stylish too. I guess there wasn't a Style FOrum then.
post #6 of 12
I bought a very nice pair of Freeman loafers today at a Goodwill for $3.99. They look like they have been hardly worn. I knew nothing about the brand until I searched this forum a few minutes ago (Also tried to search elsewhere but I found nothing). These shoes look like they are made pretty well.
post #7 of 12

It's really too bad they folded-there used to be a shop in my hometown, but the sign was old and rusty by the time I grew up.  Here is a picture of it ca. 1950s-



Del Rio 1950s.jpg 110k .jpg file



post #8 of 12

"Freeman Shoes ~ The Footwear of Successful Men".


A popular mid-price line of shoes well-known in the 50's & 60's.  (Think "Bass" today)  Sold from $10-20 a pair.  Solid, Middle-America footwear.  Not particularly stylish, but well-made American leatherwear..  Sold a lot in small-town independent shoe stores like the one my parents owned ~ back when such operations still existed....

post #9 of 12

I recently bought a pair of Freeman shoes at Meijer Stores.  I am having an issue with them that Meijer says they can't do anything about b/c it has been over 30 days since I purchased the shoes.  The heel on one shoe is rubbing badly.  I have tried wearing them several times to stretch them out and I just got another blister today.  That is why I was looking up Freeman to see if they would do anything about them.



post #10 of 12

Freeman followed the typical trajectory for American shoemakers. they made some beautiful shoes until about the 50s/60s when they started to decline. If you post some pictures of your shoes, I can take a crack at giving you a date, I handle a lot of vintage shoes.

post #11 of 12

From 1990 to 1993, I was a sales manager for Big & Tall Shops (Jerry Leonard's) in Colorado.  Before I left in June of 1993, I used my 50% employees discount to buy 3 pair of Freeman shoes.  One was a wing-tip kilt-tassel loafer which I have worn to this day (22 years).  I bought 2 pair of their tuxedo shoes because I had frequent need for them and I couldn't pass them up for the price.  I figured that I would need a replacement when the first wore out.  I could not find a way to wear that first pair out.  They still show very little wear.  I still have the second pair.  They have never been worn and are still it the original box.  I don't remember how much the loafers were, but the retail tag of $92.00 is still on the box of the unused pair.  The company failed to renew their trade name and the original business was closed in 1995.  There have been other companies that have legally registered and used the name, but none of them have come even close to the quality of the original.  I am 74 years old now and thanks to Freeman Shoes I will not have to purchase another black dress shoe.  I hope this helps to answer some of the questions.

post #12 of 12

Freeman Shoes had big factories in a couple locations in Beloit Wisconsin and began manufacturing shoes there in 1921, I believe they closed their final local factory in or about 1990 in the Beloit area.  My dad wore Freeman Shoes exclusively, and I owned more than my fair share of Freeman Shoes during my lifetime as well. Many people had spent their entire lives working at Freeman, and it was really sad to see them go.  Seems we had a lot of major companies in this area decide to all close down at the same time with Freeman Shoes, Beloit Corporation, Fairbanks Morse, putting thousands of people out of work.  

The quality of their shoes were second to none, and my personal favorites were their wingtip shoes.

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