The history of G.H. Bass & Co.
19th July 2017
Since 1876, G.H. Bass & Co. has been flying the flag for All-American style across the world. Hailing from Wilton, Maine, leather tanner George H. Bass set out to create a shoe that would last workers and outdoorsmen the year round. His mission was simply “to create the best possible shoe for the purpose it is intended”; this is the core value that we still hold to this very day.
By 1887, his shoes had grown in popularity and Bass had moved to Wilson Stream in order to utilise water power to make more shoes faster. By the early 20th century, he’d developed a range of practical, durable outdoor shoes and was becoming a firm favourite across America. The company soon established itself as an authority on a range of sports and outdoors footwear, from ski boots to golf shoes.
The first Bass moccasin was the next development for the company. Originally designed for woodsmen, the outbreak of World War I saw G.H. Bass & Co. moccasins become the official aviation boot for the Armed Forces’ pilots, due to their suitability for cold conditions.
By the 1930s, G.H. Bass & Co. had solidified its place as a provider of timelessly fashionable footwear, and the “Bass Weejun”, now our signature style, was born. This style owes its name to the Norwegian slipper-type moccasin used for “loafing in the field”. Discovered by an editor of US magazine ‘Esquire’, Bass Weejuns soon became a must-have item for the wealthy, holiday-making elite.
As the brand continued to grow in popularity, G.H. Bass & Co. shoes gained a number of notable fans, including Charles A. Lindbergh, Admiral Richard E. Byrd, First Lady Mrs Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Michael Jackson.
To this day, G.H. Bass & Co. remains the originator of the timeless, artisan penny loafer and is staying true to the original promise of quality, durability and style.