PF Flyers: Honoring American Style Since 1937

11/04/2012 § Leave a comment

If you follow me on Twitter (@MariahKunkel) you might have noticed that I recently had a guest editorship on Flavorpill Los Angeles, where I put together a shortlist of interesting events in the LA area, which also happens to be my hometown.  I was especially pleased to find out that the guest editor series was sponsored by PF Flyers, the iconic American sneaker brand that was founded in 1937 and immortalized in one of my favorite movies, The Sandlot (see Benny put on his magic pair here, at 9.00 minute mark).

Was also featured on Flavorwire!

First produced by BF Goodrich in 1937, PF Flyers featured a patented insole — the PF stands for “Posture Foundation” — that was marketed as a magic wedge designed to help wearers “run faster and jump higher,” endearing them to generations of children (see: The Sandlot) who believed in their special powers.

PF Flyers was also the first sneaker company to collaborate with a pro athlete, developing classic basketball shoes with Boston Celtics legend Bob Cousy in the 1950s, that are still available today;

and in the 60s, the adventurer Jonny Quest also relied upon the “action shoes”:

“He ran like the wind! Lucky he was wearing his PF Flyers!”
In a genius bit of cross-marketing, kids could get a free PF Magic Ring just like Jonny’s with the purchase of a pair of PF Flyers.

Starting in the 1970s, PF Flyers lost much of the popularity they enjoyed in the 50s and 60s, but after the recent purchase and revival of the brand by New Balance, PF Flyers is staging a comeback with its “Authentic American Style Campaign” that simultaneously honors the brand’s past, looks toward the future and searches out contemporary icons for truly American style inspiration:

“Everyone has a story. Ours began 75 years ago and is based on the tradition of crafting authentic American style. While we are passionate about what we do, we aren’t the only ones. The contemporary cultural landscape is flooded with purveyors of authentic American style.

To help us tell this ever-evolving story, we’ve enlisted a select group of today’s style-makers who we feel embody the same sensibilities as we do. Over the coming months we will be unveiling their perspectives in a series of video-based interviews where they share their thoughts on inspiration, authenticity, and individual style. Stay tuned.

The campaign recently kicked off with one of my favorite people, New Yorker Ouigi Theodore, Creative Director and Founder of the Brooklyn Circus. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing who else is included.  You can find all the interviews here.

For wearable sneaker nostalgia check out the Archival Reissue Collection.

I’ve been loving the Bob Cousy Los, with their “Gullwing Closure” at the ankle.

Girls! Run faster, jump higher…and wait for the subway!

Lastly, many thanks to PF Flyers and Gabby and Christopher at Flavorpill
for including me in such a fun project.

Archive photos via PF Flyers. Life photos by Yale Joel, via the Life Archive.
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