Are you familiar with Rockport? The New England-founded shoe company is known for its practical yet stylish designs that prioritize comfort above all else.
Rockport is a family-owned business founded by Saul L. Katz and his son Bruce R. Katz founded in Marlborough, Massachusetts in 1971
Rockport was founded when a father-and-son duo named Saul and Bruce Katz agreed to purchase 3,000 pairs of local shoemaker Walter Dryer’s specially-developed moccasins in the town of Rockport, Massachusetts.
The two were on a mission to sell their newly-purchased inventory in local leather shops and create a profitable business.
Little did they know how much these plain white boxes would end up taking the fashion world by storm. “Rockport-type” shoes, as locals quickly donned them, quickly soared to popularity. The Katz family quickly adopted the name and formed the Rockport Company in 1971.
The emerging footwear company had a simple vision: to produce casual shoes and dress shoes that had the comfort of a sneaker.
Rockport’s first shoe design & technology
The Rockport Company designed and produced its first shoe just a few years after its founding. The “Country Walker” design, which was released in 1973, was an instant success.
Katz was quick to claim credit in the monthly Footwear Plus Magazine for his innovative idea to create a “modern-day lightweight and technology-infused comfort shoes concept.”
The Rockport Company purchased 4,400 pairs of shoes before hiring Bob Infantino as Rockport’s President of Product and Marketing. The company was quick to market comfortable shoes to some of the world’s best sailors shortly after Bob’s hiring.
Rockport introduced their machine-washable shoes in 2005
However, the innovation did not stop there. Rockport introduced machine washable styles in 2005, followed shortly by “Total Motion technology” in 2013.
“Total Motion” was advertised to increased footwear stability, flexibility, and cushioning all while maintaining a lightweight construction.
Rockport offers lightweight comfort, stability, and flexibility with their Total Motion collection
The brand filed for bankruptcy in 2018, despite boasting itself as a global leader in “lightweight, technology-infused comfort footwear for all occasions.”
Separating from Adidas turned out to be “more complex,” “meaningfully longer” and “significantly more expensive than planned,” interim Chief Financial Officer Paul Kosturos said in a court filing asking for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
In August 2018, Charlesbank Capital Partners announced it had acquired the assets of The Rockport Group. Gregg Ribatt was appointed Rockport’s new CEO due to his previous footwear experience leading companies like Crocs and Collective Brands Performance.
Rockport had been previously acquired by Reebok in 1986 and by the German multinational corporation Adidas AG in 2006.
In 2015, Adidas sold Rockport to New Balance, but its supply chain was so deeply intertwined with the rest of the Adidas supply chain that it appears it was a massively complex undertaking to get it unraveled.
According to Reebok CEO Herbert Hainer, two-thirds of the 8 million pairs of Rockport shoes produced in 2013 were made in China. The remaining third were produced in factories in Vietnam, India, and Indonesia. Rockport doesn’t seem to sell any products manufactured in the United States.
The Most Popular Rockport Walking Shoes
1. ProWalker Walking Classic, $89.95 at Zappos
This is the original shoe that started the Rockport legacy. The Walking Classic has become a global symbol for introducing walking as a common, health-boosting activity.
The Prowalker boasts a patented Walking Platform for a wide base of support and stability
This simple design offers built-in support from the sole to the midsole, a true staple in every avid walker’s collection.
2. We’re Rockin Chranson Lace-Up, $59.98 – $163.99 at Amazon
The We’re Rockin Chranson is made of genuine unbuckle leather and has Rockport’s TruFlex technology on top of the EVA midsole
“We are rocking” is a careful mix of balance, breathability, and durability. This design is equal parts outdoorsy and office-appropriate and was created with every walking shoe-enthusiast in mind.
3. Randle Ubal Sneakers, $89.99 at Amazon
These sneakers, which feature an EVA and memory foam footbed, are another fantastic addition to Rockport’s walking shoes collection.
Stylish and comfy, the Randle Ubal has a removable EVA and memory foam footbed for the ultimate in comfort
These casual shoes are stylish and comfortable, making them great for wearing both at home and in the office.
4. DresSports 2 Fast Marathon Sneakers, $64.95 at Amazon
This sneaker may look fairly formal at first glance, but once you take another look, it seems to be a great fusion between dress and sport.
Creating fusion between sports and dress shoes, the DresSports 2 Fast Marathon is a modern take on the brand’s DresSports collection that can work from a Monday suit to Saturday jeans
Rockport’s DresSports collection features truTECH shock absorption and soft textiles.
5. Total Motion Sport Plain Toe Oxford, $130 at Nordstrom
The Total Motion Sport Plain Toe Oxford is a plain-toe leather derby set atop a lightweight sneaker sole
Rockport’s take on the athleisure shoe stays true to the brand’s original formal design and still seems to be great for casual walks, thanks to the shock absorption it offers.
6. Thurston Plain-Toe Casual Shoes
The Thurston design is yet another testament to Rockport’s main goal: to produce casual shoes and dress shoes with the comfort of a sneaker.
The Thurston Plain Toe is a casual dress shoe that provides the comfort of a sneaker
These casual sneakers also feature an EVA footbed and truTECH shock absorption.
7. Eureka Touring Shoes, $54.60 – $128.99 at Amazon
Rockport’s Eureka Touring shoes feature a full-grained leather upper, which makes them look incredibly casual and comfortable.
A casual pair of leather shoes that has a fatigue-fighting footbed, breathable lining, and an impact-absorbing midsole
The solid inner padding and the rubber sole promise the highest level of stability.
8. On Road Walking Shoes, $52.10 – $99.99 at Amazon
The On Road walking shoe wouldn’t look out of place either in an office or in the streets.
Whether on the road or in the office, the On Road shoes guarantee comfort and flexibility on any surface
The rubber sole provides flexibility on any walking surface, the leather upper maintains foot temperature, and a CMEVA midsole guarantees lightweight cushioning.