Footwear Americana: Inside An American Footwear Factory
Amara Nicole and Munro & Co., Inc.’s CFO takes you into the Munro footwear factory in Arkansas.
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Hi Everyone! If you can’t already tell, I’m a bit of a shoe fanatic. Not only am I obsessed with the latest footwear trends and technology advancements, I’ve also grown more curious as to how shoes are made. And let me tell you, what I’ve found is a lot of hard work goes into so many of our shoes from design to shelf. If you’re anything like me, interested in the footwear industry (design, production, technology, etc.), then you definitely know how secretive this industry can be. Manufacturing practices and proprietary development tools are near sacred. It’s like a secret sorority that few are dubbed into. Well today, I’m helping you break down industry walls to show you a little more of this footwear world through the lens of an actual footwear factory.
During this past Labor Day holiday, I decided to drive on over to Munro & Co.’s footwear manufacturing facility located in Clarksville, Arkansas. What I found in this tiny American town is the home to hundreds of footwear lasts (a designer’s dream), an incredibly talented team of loyal footwear craftsmen (and women), and lots of shoes. This would be an absolute dream for the hard-to-fit people out there like myself. Btw, you can learn more about my shoe history here. What stood out to me the most was the remarkable history of how one American family from New England has maintained their private label brand, which has become one of the last great American women’s footwear manufacturers in the very heart of the South.
While shoe lovers typically associate footwear manufacturing families with those in Italy, China, or Brazil, Munro’s footwear factory embodies the very essence of the American family story that we as dreamers continue to strive toward. The founder of the Munro brand, Don Munro, came to Arkansas from the North East to establish his place in the U.S. footwear manufacturing scene during the late 1950s. Today, 3 of his 9 children have fully committed to the continuation of his Southern footwear empire. His son, Bruce, currently serves as the CEO, while his daughters Mollie and Christine manage the Production and Sales/Marketing respectively. This family business has survived the very worst of retail’s past horrors—the American move to overseas manufacturing, the Internet boom, and the current fast fashion trend through its own niche of specialty lengths and widths.
With function and comfort at the forefront of their designs, Munro stands a part from the rest as they offer 14 various lengths with 5 different widths for women. Honestly, I could’ve gone to shoe heaven that day when I saw the row of lasts in my own size, 11 AAAA Narrow. With thousands of pairs made each year, Munro’s team of about 150 continues to provide quality footwear for hard-to-fit women, all while supporting an entire community in the town of Clarksville.
Shoe Lovers, today’s the day that I finally get to show you an exclusive BTS look inside Munro’s shoe factory. Enjoy!
If you’re interested in shopping Munro shoes, be sure to check out their shoes at retailers like Nordstrom or you can visit their own website. You can find the link to the Munro shoes I’m wearing below.