Bates Floaters

| 3 Oct ’11 | 3 Comments

A kind of American version of the Original Playboys, Bates Floaters from the Wolverine Shoe Corp had a similar profile to the playboy but with a man made cushion sole. Often featuring a shearling or mock shearling inner, they were featured as comfort shoes or more commonly bad weather or apres-ski boots.
The brand still exists but like most other vintage American products is now but a pale imitation of the original concept. Quite nasty, in fact.

UPDATE: Just had a great email in from Joe B with this background info on Bates Floaters:

Hi, your information on Bates Floaters is a bit off. The company that made them, Bates Shoes, was based in Webster, Mass. They made the original floaters, which competed with Hush Puppies. the styles you liked (me, too) were when bates was an independent. They peaked in the mid-1960s, I think. My father was a shoe retailer in New York and he carried several dozens styles and colors then. They had cushion crepe soles. They also had a line of chukka boots that competed with the original Clarks Desert Boot. They also sold winter, fur-lined boots, including a quite popular zip-up boot with flags icons from Innsbruck and Zermatt. They were sold sometime in the mid-1970s to Wolverine, which owned Hush Puppies. That’s when the decline of the Floaters started.
Got plenty of other shoe info if you need!

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Category: Americana, Ivy League, Ivy Look, Ivy Style, Shoes, vintage advertisements

Comments (3)

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  1. Hello,
    I am looking for suede bates floater 67s-68s.
    It can’nt be found in Japan in which I live.
    Please let me know what one or the information to purchase.
    I would appreciate your favor.

  2. Vince Dees says:

    Bates Floaters were quite the rage in Mt. Vernon NY around 1961-3. They were sold at Florsheim Shoes on Fourth Avenue in Mt. Vernon and all the teen boys in town jockied to get them. They were a combo of suede and leather with the high profile gum soles. They came in loden green, choc. brown or black. I have sought them out over the years but have never come across them.

  3. Fred Morenberg says:

    I recall purchasing a pair of Corfam loafers at London shoes in the Bronx, way back in the 60’s. They were great. If anybody still makes them I would like to know who.

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