Oldest Shoe Companies in the World

Oldest Shoe Companies in the World

Even though shoe choices change with the seasons, and fashion trends change every year, some shoe companies have lasted several decades. There are several shoe companies scattered across the globe that have been making shoes for a few generations now, such as Eduard Meier and The Frye Company. 

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look some of the oldest shoe companies in the world. Let’s dive right in! 

10. Eduard Meier

Year founded: 1536
Type of shoes sold: Sports
Founder: Hans Mayr
Headquarters: Munich, Germany

Eduard MeierImage source

The Eduard Meier company is the oldest shoe-making company in the entire world! Back when Hans Mayr founded the company, they sold shoes mainly to the rich and upper class members of German society. Some of their clients included the Saxon royal house, the Bavarian royal house, and even the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. 

Did you know? 

Hans Mayr made wooden replicas of all his clients’ feet! He did this so that his clients would be able to choose new designs from a catalog whenever they wanted to, without needing to visit the shop for a fitting. Mayr even stores those wooden replicas for 30 years.

9. John Lobb

Year founded: 1849
Type of shoes sold: Ready-to-wear and bespoke shoes
Founder: John Lobb
Headquarters: London, United Kingdom

John LobbImage source

John Lobb is another one of the oldest shoe companies in the entire world. The company was founded by a man named John Lobb. Even though the company is currently based in London, its first store was opened in Sydney, Australia. Lobb’s store was extremely successful, selling footwear for both men and women, though much of his success came from sellings shoes for women. As time went on, he became one of the most successful and reputed shoemakers in the area. 

Lobb then went on to open a store in London in 1866 and started to make shoes for many members of royal European families. 110 years later, the John Lobb brand became a part of the Hermès group in 1976, and its first collection debuted in 1982. 

Did you know?

Even though the company was started over 150 years ago and has seen lots of success, John Lobb remains a bespoke family brand. It operates independently and allows people to order bespoke shoes from an archive containing more than 100 different designs.

8. Carmina 

Year founded: 1866
Type of shoes sold: Leather shoes
Founder: Matías Pujadas
Headquarters: Mallorca

CarminaImage source

Carmina was started way back in 1866 by Matías Pujadas, who opened a small shop in Inca, Majorca. He raised a family of shoemakers that have continued for six generations! In the early 1950s, Matías Pujadas’s son opened a shoemaking factory in the Balearic Islands and ten years later, his Matias’s great grandson José Albaladejo Pujadas opened up one of the biggest shoe companies in Spain. 

Did you know? 

The Carmina brand was created only in 1997! While the family of shoemakers bought and sold shoes for six generations, the name and brand of Carmina was created much later because José Albaladejo wanted to start a company with his wife and sons. They opened their first store in Madrid in 1998, and have been selling shoes all over the world ever since.

7. The Frye Company

Year founded: 1863
Type of shoes sold: Leather shoes
Founder: John A. Frye
Headquarters: New York, USA

The Frye CompanyImage source

The Frye Company is one of the world’s oldest shoe companies, specifically in the United States. John Frye started the company in Massachusetts in 1863. By the time the 1890s rolled around, the company was selling more shoes than any other company in the United States, making it the most successful shoe company in America.

Did you know? 

In the 1960s, The Frye Company made custom shoes for several celebrities, including Barbra Streisand, Carole King, Liza Minelli, Jerry Lewis, and Bette Midler. The Frye Company permanently closed down in 2020.

6. Crockett and Jones

Year founded: 1879
Type of shoes sold: Goodyear-welt shoes
Founder: Charles Jones and Sir James Crockett
Headquarters: Northampton, England

Crockett and JonesImage source

Crockett and Jones was started in Northampton, a place that was and is well known for its skills in shoe making. When Charles Jones and James Crockett first started the company, they sold only men’s boots, but as time went on and they had more machinery, they were able to produce more modern designs much faster. In the early 1910s, the company began to sell their shoes to countries such as Australia, America, and South Africa. 

Did you know?

Crockett and Jones’ shoes were featured in the James Bond film Skyfall, when Daniel Craig wore a pair of their shoes.

5. Edward Green & Co. 

Year founded: 1890
Type of shoes sold: Leather and bespoke shoes
Founder: Edward Green
Headquarters: Northampton, England

Edward Green & Co.Image source

Just like Crockett and James, Edward Green and Co. was started in Northampon over 130 years ago! This luxury shoe brand prides itself on its craftsmanship, and only 350 pairs of shoes are produced each week. In the 1930s, the company made shoes for the British Army. Some of their other clients included Ernest Hemingway, the Duke of Windsor, and even Cole Porter. At present, Edward Green shoes are sold in various places around the world, including Paris, Hong Kong, Seoul, Melbourne, and Japan. 

Did you know?

Edward Green and Co. was sold in 1977 to a leather entrepreneur called Marley Hodgson. However, Hodgson ran into financial difficulties and sold the company for a single British pound to a shoemaker! 

4. Loake

Year founded: 1880
Type of shoes sold: Men’s shoes
Founder: John, Thomas, and William Loake
Headquarters: Kettering, Northamptonshire, England

LoakeImage source

Loake was founded by three brothers, John, William, and Thomas Loake in Northamptonshire, a place that is famous for its shoemaking industry in England. They first started the company at an outbuilding, but later went on to build a new factory on Wood Street; that factory still exists today. Just like several other old shoe companies, Loake also specializes in Goodyear-welted shoes. 

Did you know? 

Loake manufactured Despatch Riders boots, Terrain boots, and Convalescent boots for the British army during the first World War. It also manufactured Cossack boots for the Russian army.

3. Ludwig Reiter

Year founded: 1885
Type of shoes sold: Bespoke shoes
Founder: Ludwig Reiter I and Anna Reiter
Headquarters: Vienna, Austria

Ludwig ReiterImage source

 Ludwig Reiter is one of the oldest shoe companies in Europe! This company is best known for its bespoke shoes that were made using the Goodyear welting style of craftsmanship. Aside from their formal footwear, the company also makes more modern shoes like sneakers. 

Did you know? 

Ludwig Reiter has collaborated with designer brands like Helmut Lang!

2. J. M. Weston

Year founded: 1890
Type of shoes sold: Leather shoes
Founder: Édouard Blanchard
Headquarters: Limoges, France 

J. M. WestonImage source

J. M. Weston is a French luxury brand selling shoes and a wide range of leather goods and accessories. The company was started by Edouard Blanchard in the middle of Limousin, a place renowned for its leatherwork and tanning. A few years later, his son Eugene joined him to make shoes. His son was heavily inspired by the modern designs seen in American shoes. As time went on, the company expanded and Eugene learned new techniques to make better shoes.

Did you know?

One of J. M. Weston’s most popular shoe designs is the 180 Loafer, which is a type of a moccasin that the brand launched in 1946. Its classic pattern remains a favourite among patrons of the brand today!

1. Berluti

Year founded: 1895
Type of shoes sold: Leather shoes
Founder: Alessandro Berluti
Headquarters: Paris, France

BerlutiImage source

Berluti was founded by Alessandro Berluti, an Italian designer, though the company was later run by Olga Berluti. They first started selling bespoke shoes to wealthy clients, but since 2005, the company has branched out into selling ready-to-wear clothing and accessories. However, their bespoke shoes are their most commonly sold item. All of the shoes sold are handmade and manufactured in company’s Paris workshops. 

Did you know? 

Berluti is most well-known for the shoes that it sells. Each shoe is made from a single piece of leather and is so uniquely made that there are no visible stitches. The company’s shoes were widely loved by celebrities, including Jean Cocteau and Andy Warhol.


If there’s anything we learned when researching this article, it’s that most of these shoe brands have stood the test of time because of their devotion to producing high quality products! There are several other shoe companies throughout the world that have lasted for over 50 to 100 years because of their refusal to stop investing in good quality materials and their refusal to compromise on the time spent to make a single pair of shoes. 

We hope that this article inspired you to continue reading and learning more about how the shoemaking process goes!

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