We are a fourth-generation family-owned company committed to delivering world class footwear and accessories with value and fun.
Our goal is to create smiles every day for consumers, employees, partners, and community.
-Rob Moehring, Chairman
Family, Heritage, And Smiles
Founded in Seattle in 1891, Western Chief began making boots to hold up against tough weather conditions during the Alaska Gold Rush. Today, Western Chief continues to provide family footwear options for outdoor wear. Footwear offerings range from lovable character rain boots and play-friendly shoes for kids, whimsical and cozy boots for women, durable work boots for men, and more. Western Chief has you covered with affordable, functional boots to fit your lifestyle.
Where Fashion and Versatility Meet
Chooka is designed, developed and tested in the Pacific Northwest with fashion, utility, and comfort in mind. Contemporary styles that can be worn all-day with a variety of outfits allowing the wearer to get things done in style. From city strolling, to brunch, to grabbing coffee with friends, we adore following along in our Chooka women’s adventures and the places their shoes take them. Rain, shine, and everything in between.
Seek, Explore, Wander
Born in the heart of the north Cascades, Staheekum has been designing shoes with adventure in mind since 1998. Whether it’s tackling an alpine trail, cozying up in a remote cabin, or just on a trek to the mailbox, we believe comfort and function should go hand-in-hand. That’s why we’re proud to offer quality footwear crafted with care and sustainable elements. Outfitting the explorers, the pioneers, and the go-getters of the world with durability and comfort is our passion. Helping you enjoy life’s adventures—that’s our calling.
More Than Just History To Us
1891 - FOUNDED IN SEATTLE
Founded in Seattle on January 24 by T.J. Thorsen (vice president and general manager), L.B. Allain (president), and G.M. Barber (secretary).
It was Seattle's first shoe company, making boots and shoes for outdoor workers under the Western Chief name. Added demand came with the Alaska Gold Rush in 1898.
In 1911 Henry Moehring joined the company, buying out his remaining partners when T.J. Thorsen died.
1930 - MOVING TO WHOLESALE
Closed factories and moving into the wholesale business, selling domestically sourced footwear in the men's, women's and children's categories.
In 1957 brothers Norm and Robert H. Moehring took over the company from their father Henry.
(pictured: Henry Moehring gives a sales pitch to wholesale buyers at the Fall Shoe Fair in Seattle.
His sons Mel and Robert Moehring are standing on the left )
1974 - NEW HORIZONS
Rob (son of Robert H. Moehring) joined the family business alongside his father and uncle.
In the 70's and 80's Washington Shoe Company shifts to wholesaling juniors' fashion product sourced in Asia.
(pictured: Rob Moehring and his wife Val)
1990 - A FRESH FOCUS
Rob Moehring acquired the company from his father and uncle, refocusing on rubber boots under the Western Chief brand.
In 1991 Rob Moehring's son, Mark, joined the business.
(pictured: Mark and Rob Moehring)
1996 - CREATING FOOTWEAR ICONS
Company moved from Seattle to Renton, WA. Here, they introduced 3D character boots for kids. Sheepskin slippers were added under the Staheekum brand name in 1998.
In 2001, due to new technology, women's and kids rubber rain boots debuted a range of novelty printed boots. The company relocated from Seattle to Kent, Washington.
In 2002 Chooka sheepskin boots were launched, evolving into fashion-forward rubber boots. Rob Moehring's son Karl joined the business.
(pictured: Karl, Rob, and Mark Moehring)
2015 - CHANGING OF THE GUARD
Karl Moehring took over the company from his father, Rob and now serves as CEO. Rob assumed the role of Chairman.
In 2016 Washington Shoe Company launched the non-profit foundation Wear A Big Smile in celebration of our 125th year Anniversary.
In 2021 Washington Shoe Company will celebrate its 130th Anniversary.
(pictured: CEO Karl Moehring)
2021 - CELEBRATING 130 YEARS
In 2021 Washington Shoe Company Celebrates its 130th year in business. CEO Karl Moehring reflects on the legacy of his family's company:
My first memory of Washington Shoe Company was visiting my dad and grandfather for the day. The business was in an old building in downtown Seattle. I was probably five or six years old and I remember exploring the warehouse. I was fascinated by the old elevator that could hold a car. I got to go to lunch with my dad and grandpa which made me feel so grown up.
Through my life, I have seen the business shrink to a small office in a storage unit to where we are today, in a state-of-the-art 100k square foot facility. We have weathered our fair share over the decades. Today I am honored to have the opportunity to guide the business into the future, but even more proud of all our employees that make WSC the company it is today.
Our Mission & Vision
Wear A Big Smile Foundation
1101 SW 16th Street
Renton WA, 98057
© 2020 Washington Shoe Company