One of the best-loved footwear brands in America, G.H. Bass & Co. has arrived here at Nashville Shoe Warehouse. We delve into the history of this heritage brand.
G.H. Bass & Co. is named for George Henry Bass, who founded the company in Wilton, Maine, way back in 1876. His mission? “To make the best possible shoe for the purpose in which it will be used.”
In practice, this meant “hard service” shoes such as The National Plow Shoe, a boot that farmers could wear in summer, and the brand’s first moccasin, introduced in 1906, that was designed for woodsmen. In 1918, the company’s Aviation Boot was officially adopted by the US Army.
A century and a half after its founding, modern-day adventurers can step out and explore the world with durable, comfortable sneakers, oxfords and lace-up boots bearing the G.H. Bass & Co. label, as well as the iconic loafers.
This enduring style first made its appearance in 1936. Based on the slip-on shoes worn by Norwegian fishermen (hence the Norwegian-sounding name), the original penny loafers by G.H. Bass & Co. featured a signature penny keeper — a penny-sized slot in a strip of leather — at the front of the shoe.
Adopted by everyone from preppy college kids to British mods, and American Presidents (JFK was a fan), Weejuns have been continually updated over the decades but the classic elements remain intact.
Today’s Weejuns are still sewn by hand and feature the classic moccasin and a genuine leather outsole with rubber heel tap for added traction.