Hush Puppies: Comfort and Style

Published: 17th July 2009
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Hush Puppies is an internationally successful brand of casual footwear based in Rockford, Michigan. The first Hush Puppies were created in 1958 when the Chairman of Wolverine Worldwide (the parent company of Hush Puppies) was investigating the process of tanning pigskin for the US military. What resulted was "the classic American brushed-suede shoes with the lightweight crepe sole". Hush Puppies were extremely popular in 1950s and 1960s America. They dwindled in the 70s and 80s before experiencing a resurgence in popularity during the 1990s when young people in Manhattan decided they were "hip" again. Hush Puppies sales went from 30,000 in 1994 to 430,000 in 1995 and were picked up by major designers.



The Hush Puppies were named after the fried cornballs popular in the South. When Hush Puppies sales manager asked why the food was given that name, he was told that they were thrown under the table to quiet barking dogs. At the time, "barking dogs" was an idiom for sore feet. Hush Puppies (the shoes!) it seems were meant to quiet "barking dogs" (i.e., sore feet!).



While Hush Puppies are a stylish shoe, they are in fact incredibly comfortable and are often recommended by podiatrists for people who suffer from sore arches, plantar fasciitis, heel pain or flat feet. Let's take a look at a specific example. The Hush Puppies "Power Walker II" is made with a full-grain leather upper with a padded tongue and collar. Shoes made of leather provide good air circulation and can help control foot perspiration. The padded tongue and collar is a nice feature because it prevents irritation of the sensitive skin on the top of the feet. The inner material is something called Dri-Lex® and it is designed to wick away moisture. Combined with the leather upper, this high-tech inner lining will keep your feet cool, dry and also odor free. The insole is removable, which makes it easier for to thoroughly dry the shoes after an exercise session and also means that the shoe can accommodate custom orthotics if necessary. The midsole is lightweight and the entire shoe clocks in at a very wearable 12 ounces. The shoe closes with a hook-and-loop instep strap, which provides a secure fit and also allows the shoe size to be easily adjusted to accommodate foot swelling, etc. All in all, this is a great shoe by orthopedic standards.

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