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If there's ever been a perfect example of the American Dream, it is that story of the owners of Saucony, Hyde Athletic Industries, Inc. From humble beginnings at the start of the 20th century to the multi-national company it is today, Hyde and its sporty brand Saucony are a proud example of style and performance.
Cobbler Abraham Hyde emigrated to the United States from Russia in 1890. Hyde established a reputation as a shoemaker and, in 1910, opened his own store. His first products were carpet slippers, so called because they were crafted from carpet remnants. Two years later, Hyde was successful enough to purchase a wood frame house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In that year, Hyde established A.R. Hyde and Sons. Joined by son Maxwell C. Hyde, the small company's product line grew to include women's and children's shoes. By the 1930s, however, ice skates, ladies' figure skates, and roller skate boots figured strongly in the company's sales. When Maxwell Hyde took over operations, Hyde added more products to its athletic line, including baseball and bowling shoes.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Hyde ceased production of civilian shoes, turning instead to manufacturing boots for the U.S. Army. For its wartime efforts, Hyde was the only shoe company to be awarded the Army-Navy E Award for excellence in manufacturing. The company returned to civilian production in 1946, now concentrated on athletic footwear. In 1952, Hyde made its first acquisition, purchasing the Athletic Shoe Company and adding that company's Spot-Bilt line of team sports shoes. With the acquisition completed, Hyde changed its name to Hyde Athletic Industries, Inc.
Hyde renewed its government contract work in the early 1960s, when NASA awarded the company the contract to supply footwear for the first astronauts. When the first astronaut walked in space, he wore boots made by Hyde.
The next phase in Hyde's development was again fueled by an acquisition. In October 1968, the purchase of Saucony Manufacturing Company added that company's branded line of athletic footwear. A second acquisition, of K&B Shoe Co., Inc., was merged with Saucony to form Hyde's new Saucony Shoe Manufacturing Co., Inc. division.
By the 1970s, the company's product line had expanded to include footwear for ice skating and roller skating, bowling, soccer, football, track, tennis, jogging, and other sports. The company also manufactured a line of figure skating and ice hockey outfits. Products were sold under the Hyde, Spot-Bilt, and Saucony trademarks. In 1977, Maxwell Hyde retired, turning over the company to son-in-law Leonard R. Fisher.
Hyde's Saucony line helped fuel the company's sales. In 1977, a leading consumer magazine gave Saucony running shoes its top rating. Saucony became a favorite shoe among the small but growing population of professional runners. Yet Hyde's refusal to seek endorsements limited its acceptance by the broader public.
Sales of the Saucony line, which by then enjoyed a strong reputation among serious and professional runners, helped to raise total revenues to a new high in 1983. The company also turned to professional endorsements and sponsorships, hiring O.J. Simpson as its vice-president of promotions. The company added several new products, including basketball and tennis shoes, as well as a line of performance running shirts and shorts, rain suits, and warmup suits under the Saucony Magic brand name.
In a 1992 review of running shoes, Consumer Reports awarded Saucony's Jazz 3000 shoe its top rating, as well as its "best buy rating." The magazine, with a subscriber base of five million and an estimated readership of 15 million, had long been acknowledged as a powerful force in consumer spending. Hyde, led by John Fisher since his father's death in 1990, saw a surge in orders.
Today, Saucony offers cutting edge design and performance that fits everyone's budget!
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