In 1962 the International Shoe Company was big business. They owned quite a few well-known shoe brands including Florsheim, Shelby, Red Goose, Queen Quality, and Poll-Parrot. In an effort to cash in on the sneaker market, they started a new brand, Fun-Shus.
A casual dressing America has created a 130 million pair demand for sneakers and fabric casuals, and International Shoe Company, in anything but a casual manner, is out to get its share of this growing market.
To a company like International Shoe that manufactured mainly dress shoes for all ages, the trend toward casual dressing must have been a bit alarming. Out to get their share of the 130 million pair market, it could not have been easy going with established competition like Keds, P.F. Flyers, Sears, and J.C. Penney. Until I found this company bulletin, I’d never heard of Fun-Shus, so I’m guess they didn’t do a lot of damage to Keds’ market share.
The booklet is interesting because it explains the process of making sneakers.
The fabric upper was fitted to the sole by the use of a nylon drawstring. The upper was constructed and the drawstring sewn around the bottom of it.
Here is the room where the uppers were constructed.
In a unique manufacturing process, the uppers, which may be canvas, flannels, combination or drill cloth – or most any “casual” material for that matter, are constructed pretty much as usual. Then, in the final operation in the plant’s modern conveyorized fitting room, a nylon cord is stitched around the bottom of the upper with an overthrow stitch.
On the right is an upper with the string drawn.
The upper is placed on a metal fitting form and the string pulled to fit.
Here we see the rubber sole before the upper is placed on it and vulcanized to attach the two parts.
From here, the uppers are sent to the molders – who with 20 machines in operation can vulcanize some 200 pairs an hour… A molding compound in put in the mold, the string lasted upper swung around and inserted in the mold, side walls are closed and in three minutes the shoe has a long-wearing, light and comfortable sole.
The completed shoe is pulled from the rubber mold.
There were several models of the Fun-Shu shown, including the square toed shoe seen above. I’ve seen ads for square toe Keds from the early 1960s.
I think I need those gingham saddle oxfords.
Italicized text quoted from “Both Feet in the Fun-Shus Sneaker Market,” International Shoe Company News Bulletin, March-April, 1962