It all started with a German immigrant named Albert Weinbrenner. His father was a cobbler who toiled in the repair of shoes and boots. At the age of 13 Albert became an apprentice and 14 years later he opened his own business by partnering with Joseph Pfeifer. Their cobblery became known as Weinbrenner and Pfeifer.
After 8 years of only repairing shoes, the partners purchased the Knoll Shoe Company for $1,500 - taking their first venture into the industry of manufacturing their own shoes. The new company became known as the Albert H. Weinbrenner Company. The new company started out making roughly 60 pairs of boots per day. As their reputation for quality spread, and national distribution resources grew, the company began producing more than 2,000 pairs per day.
Weinbrenner’s primary focus was trade-specific functionality, what he called ′Job-fitted′ design, an idea they still aim for today. He saw an opportunity to create shoes customized for the diverse, differentiated needs of tradesmen, from miners and linemen to steelworkers and more. In 1917, the company had become a major contractor to the U.S. Army providing customized boots that served the infantry. By the following year, the company introduced its Thorogood line of boots which is still used widely by many trades to this very day.
Today, the Weinbrenner Shoe Company is employee-owned and still headquartered in Merrill, Wisconsin, where they stay true to their origins and dedication to quality and craftsmanship. Over 65% of their products are proudly Made in the USA which accounts for 72% of their sales. We encourage our supporters to (click here) to find a dealer near you to purchase your very own pair of Thorogood shoes! Watch the video below to see how they are made.