Nordstrom got its start as a shoe store when our founder, John W. Nordstrom, set up shop in Seattle in 1901—and to this day, our shoe department remains the cornerstone of our family-run company’s reputation for quality and service. So when our Men’s Shoe Buyers tell us they have something special in the works, we know they mean it.
Keep reading for a closer look at six small-batch brands that our shoe team felt deserve a larger spotlight. They range from American icons with 100-year histories to a future legend founded by a cobbler’s son. The common thread? All six make impeccable shoes and boots right here in the USA.
Oak Street Bootmakers. The son of a cobbler, Oak Street Bootmakers’ founder and designer George Vlagos apprenticed at his father’s shop, where he learned the craft of shoemaking from an early age. Today, Vlagos seeks to preserve the heritage of fine shoemaking through thoughtfully designed and attentively crafted shoes. All Oak Street shoes and boots are handcrafted in the USA, using Horween Chromexcel leather from Chicago.
[Shop Oak Street Bootmakers online and at selected Nordstrom stores*.]
Broken Homme. Designed in Long Beach, California, Broken Homme is the youngest brand of the group. Founded by two friends who share a passion for skating, surfing, and motorcycles, Broken Homme reflects the personality of their lifestyle. Broken Homme is less concerned with nostalgia, and more focused on providing their own unique perspective on American-made boots.
[Shop Broken Homme at selected Nordstrom stores.*]
Quoddy. The hand-sewn moccasin dates back hundreds of years to the native Passamaquoddy people of Down East, Maine. In 1909, Harry Smith Shorey started a business making footwear with hand-sewn moccasin construction, inspired by the native craft. His customers were local shoe purveyors such as L.L. Bean, and hunting and fishing guides who appreciated the comfort and durability of a true moccasin-construction shoe. Today, the Quoddy workshop is located in Lewiston, the historical home of Maine shoe manufacturing, while the headquarters and heart of the company remain in Perry, Maine, on the shores of Passamaquoddy Bay.
[Shop Quoddy online and at selected Nordstrom stores.*]
Chippewa. The Chippewa name comes from the large Native American tribe, consisting of 120+ individual groups or ‘bands,’ that inhabits the northern Midwest United States and Canada—including the Wisconsin area, where the company was founded back in 1901. Their rugged boots were built for the local logging community, and they have continued making high-quality boots in the US ever since.
[Shop Chippewa at selected Nordstrom stores.*]
Ace Boot Co. After years spent in the vintage market, Californian Robert Medellin and Masa Ono, who hails from Okayama, Japan, formed Ace Boot Co. to reproduce some of their favorite, classic, American-made footwear. Ace Boot Co. has built a strong following in Japan, and is now available stateside for the first time.
[Shop Ace Boot Co. at selected Nordstrom stores.*]
Danner. This brand got its start in 1932 and relocated to Portland, Oregon, in 1936, where Charles Danner built a name by making high-quality boots that could handle the ruggedness of the Pacific Northwest. They quickly gained a reputation with the tradespeople and outdoorsmen who wore them. To this day, Danner standards remain incredibly high, and they continue to make some of the most durable boots available.”
[Shop Danner at selected Nordstrom stores.*]
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Oak Street Bootmakers and Quoddy available online.
*Danner, Chippewa, Ace Boot Co. and Broken Homme available at the following Nordstrom stores:
Downtown Seattle • Michigan Avenue (Chicago) • The Grove (L.A.)
San Francisco Centre • Barton Creek Square (Austin)