Canadian Fashion Connection – Savage Shoes

Saddle shoes by Savage, c. 1955

Founded in 1922, the Parker-Steel Shoes Ltd. company of Preston, Ontario, was bought out in 1927 by Laurence Melville Savage, his father, and a business partner. In 1936 Savage also acquired Hurlbut Shoes, and the Wragge Shoe Company of Galt, Ontario. On March 3, 1937, all three companies were combined into a new firm: Savage Shoe Company Limited.

Advertisement, March 1954

In 1946, a new plant was added in Fergus, Ontario, and more shoe companies were acquired soon afterwards, including Charles A. Ahrens Ltd. of Kitchener, and Lashbrook Shoe Co., of Preston Ontario. By 1953, when the company’s official name was changed to Savage Shoes Ltd., they were known for making children’s, girl’s, and women’s cement (glued), and goodyear welted shoes. They were Canada’s leading manufacturer of saddle shoes. By 1963, Savage had been acquired by the International Shoe Company, which included interests in McHale-Florsheim, Medcalf, and the Scroggins Shoe Co., producing popular brands such as: Hi-Lo; Jack & Jill; Jumping Jacks; Melody; Pussyfoot; Queen Quality; Red Goose; Vitality; McHale; Florsheim; and more…

In 1970, the company’s name was officially altered to Interco Savage Ltd., but the shoe industry was quickly diminishing in Canada, and in 1979 Savage closed its doors.

Savage Shoe employees, Fergus, Ontario, June 1960

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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