The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

Business News: Saucony Running traces beginnings to Kutztown


By Jake Austin, For 21st Century Media

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Sacony Creek, a tributary of Maiden Creek, spans 17.5 miles of rural Berks County, intersecting Kutztown Borough in the process. Named after the “mouth of a creek or river” by Native Americans, the creek could easily be mistaken for any other small body of water, despite being a defining part of the local landscape. But it was on its banks that one of the town’s best-kept secrets initially took shape. It was here that Saucony Running Shoes & Running Apparel, www.saucony.com, was born.

Founded in 1898, the Saucony Shoe Manufacturing Company built its first factory- a two-story brick building- along the banks of the Sacony Creek in 1906. By 1910, the company was producing nearly 800 pairs of shoes daily, specializing mainly in children’s footwear.

In 1968, Saucony began to produce running shoes, and attracted the attention of local runners by word-of-mouth. Shortly after, the company was acquired by Russian immigrant, Abraham Hyde, the owner of a Cambridge, Mass., shoe store that specialized in “carpet slippers” made from rug remnants. Hyde relocated the company to Cambridge, where its shoes remained popular with a small group of dedicated runners.

The shoes were eventually recognized with a “best quality” award from U.S. Magazine in 1977, catapulting their popularity as a result of increased publicity. Saucony was ultimately able to establish its name and carve a niche in the world of high-quality athletic footwear. The company has since maintained its original logo, which represents the Sacony Creek’s continuous flow, depicting its boulder-strewn bed with three distinct dots.

Today, Saucony’s shoes continue to resonate well with local runners.

“I love the Saucony guide series,” said Josh Rinker, a sophomore cross country and track athlete for Kutztown University. “They have a balance of being not too heavy, but durable for their lifetime.”

“Saucony is by far my favorite shoe company,” said Anthony Prinzo, a Chester County Running Store employee and Douglassville native who recently competed in the Philadelphia Marathon. “I love their shoes. I have been running in them for over two years now. I can get plenty of miles out of them compared to other shoes I’ve worn in the past.”

Despite the company’s major success and growth over the years, many runners still consider it to be a step above other shoe manufacturers.

“I have personally worked with Saucony before,” said Prinzo. “I can tell you they still truly try harder [than other companies] to learn about the running community and to make changes to accommodate runners’ needs.”

*All historical information was found through Saucony’s website www.saucony.com and/or was contributed by Sharon Barbano, Vice President of Public Relations for Saucony Running Shoes & Running Apparel.

Jake Austin is an intern for Berks-Mont Newspapers.