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Wellco Footwear
614 Mabry Hood Road, Suite 100
Knoxville, TN 37932

Telephone: 865-392-9333

Year Started: 1941

# American Employees: 100
  The company presently known as Wellco Enterprises, Inc. began operations in 1941 under its original name, Wellco Shoe Corporation. By way of background, the history of Wellco goes back to the nineteenth century when the grandfather of the founding partners started the family's first shoe factory in Germany. In the early 1930s, the German company developed the first practical method for molding and attaching a rubber sole to a shoe upper in a single vulcanizing operation. The German company had the foresight to patent this technology worldwide. Early on, the principals of Wellco founded another company, known as Ro-Search, Inc., which specialized in licensing the partners' (Wellco) patented technology to other manufacturers around the world and in manufacturing the specialized molds and presses required for the use of their processes. Ro-Search still survives today as a subsidiary of Wellco, which eventually changed its name to Wellco-Ro-Search Industries, Inc. A further name change took place in the early 1960s to present designation, Wellco Enterprises, Inc. When Wellco began manufacturing, it specialized in lightweight slippers and casual footwear with sponge rubber soles. Except for a brief time, during World War II when the use of rubber was restricted to defense purposes. Wellco continued to manufacture and market such footwear, trademarked Wellco Foamtreads, until approximately 1985. In 1965, as a result of unsatisfactory performance of previous Army combat footwear in the jungles of Vietnam, the Army adopted Wellco-Ro-Search technology for the manufacture of its hot weather boots, and this product thus became know as the "Vietnam Boot." Later the technology used to manufacture the Vietnam Boot was adopted for all Army combat footwear. Wellco became a prominent supplier of such footwear to the US Military in 1965, and the remainder of the Army's needs were supplied for a number of years by three other companies, all of them using Ro-Search supplied molds and presses, as well as technical advice. To this day, the technology is used to manufacture military combat boots. True to its heritage as a developer of footwear manufacturing technology, Wellco's subsidiary Ro-Search perfected and patented in 1957 a new technique for molding and attaching a rubber sole to a welted upper. This was known as "Process 82," to indicate that it was considered to be twenty-five years ahead of its time. Through the years, Wellco and Ro-Search have participated in numerous further developments of combat footwear of the US Military. For instance, a desert boot was developed in 1991 to include features and improvements specified by General Schwarzkopf for Operation Desert Storm. The present generation of combat boots, with a direct-molded rubber base sole, a polyurethane midsole and a rugged high-traction rubber tread sole can be traced to a development contract awarded to Ro-Search in 1995 by US Army Natick Laboratories. Similarly, the first military blast-protective boots and overboots were developed and produced by Wellco and Ro-Search. Today Wellco continues to be the innovative in footwear and continues its excellence in quality, comfort, and design. In the battle field, nowhere is performance more critical. When it comes to footwear, no company knows this better than Wellco. From the jungles of Vietnam to the mountains of Afghanistan, our boots have left their prints in the world's most hostile conditions. As our best and bravest return home, we are guided by one simple directive: THERE AND BACK. Translated this means delivering the same advanced footwear solutions our warriors have come to trust no matter where the fight takes them - be it a rocky bluff in the Hindu Kush or a dark alley in the inner city.  
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