Dayton Legend – Dayton Boots Est. 1946
Dayton, we're proud to say that we're Canadian owned
and operated. We're proud of the fact that after 58
years our handcrafted boots are still being made in
our factory at 2250 East Hastings Street in Vancouver,
British Columbia. We're proud of our roots deep in the
heart of "East Van". And even as the Dayton Legend grows
and demand for Dayton Boots spreads around the world,
we will always remain the best boots that are "Made
Whether Dayton boots end up on the feet of a logger
or a lineman, a biker or a rock star, a soccer mom or
a super-model, every pair is made with the same attention
to detail as they have been for nearly six decades.
Every pair of Daytons is made with the same exacting
care and attention to detail that established Dayton
as the industry standard more than half a century ago.
uses two types of footwear construction -- Nailed Construction
is an old-style, hand-nailed, heavy boot and Goodyear
Welt Construction is a Stitch-Down/Leather Welt style
of manufacturing for lighter weight Boots. The difference
is in the details.
As the saying goes, once you’ve worn Daytons,
you can never go back. It’s Daytons or nothing.
No detail is overlooked, from selecting the best full-grained
premium grade hides available to using rust proof brass
nails and stainless steel fittings and the strongest
Irish linen stitching on the market. All Dayton Boots
have non-corrosive heavy steel shanks and full leather
insoles for superior foot support, comfort and durability.
Quality and Durability' are built into every pair of
hand-made Daytons. Each pair is made using the highest
quality materials, with careful inspection and quality
control at every stage of construction. That's why Daytons
have a reputation for being the best-built boots in
In the beginning, the Dayton Shoe Co. was nothing more
than a rather unusual 'hobby' to C.H. (Charlie) Wohlford.
Wohlford, a man-about-town and club manager at The Lumberrnan’s
Social Club at 64 East Hastings, was well known to BC
loggers because he had worked for years as a troubleshooter
for the Holt Caterpillar Tractor Company up and down
the logging camps of the Pacific Northwest.
During the Second World War loggers were having difficulty
getting their boots properly repaired, something they
often complained about while enjoying Charlie’s
hospitality at the Lumberman’s Social Club. At
a bull session with a few loggers, Charlie said he would
fix all of the loggers' boots. After that fateful evening,
when Charlie wasn't pouring whiskey, he was tinkered
with the logging boots of his patrons. The biggest complaints
were that the caulks were kicking out and that the boots
weren’t water-resistant enough. Charlie repaired
the boots himself, driving new caulks into the soles
and experimenting with a veritable witch’s brew
of oils and waxes in an effort to make the boots more
water-resistant. Later, when the loggers came back into
town, they claimed that the boots that Charlie repaired
were holding up much better than when the boots were
brand new! And in the process Charlie came up with the
proprietary recipe for OK Oil Watertight Compound that
Dayton still uses to this day.
started it. The loggers kept pestering Wohlford to make
them a better logging boot. “Make us some better
boots, Charlie!” One evening, in the back room
of the Lumberman’s Social Club, a group of loggers,
accompanied by a case of whiskey, finally persuaded
Charlie to make boots for them. But first the boots
had to have a name. They decided that they couldn't
call them 'Wohlford Boots' because the name was too
hard to pronounce, especially after a few drinks. But
everyone could say 'Day', as in ‘Good Day’,
and that fateful evening the "Dayton" brand name was
In the winter of 1946 the Dayton Shoe Co. started making
boots. Working at the club and trying to get the factory
started began to take its toll on Charlie’s health,
so his son Wayne Wohlford was asked to join the firm
in March 1947 as the General Manager. Young Wohlford
rolled up his sleeves and went to work. He had to learn
the footwear business from the ground up. Coming up
with a few ideas of his own that Wayne learned from
a stint with the Boeing Aircraft Company, the factory
was enlarged and production set up.
The first Dayton Logger Boots, the Dayton “64”
hit the market in May of 1947 and were an immediate
success. Charlie always claimed that 64 was his favorite
number, no doubt in part because of his fond memories
associated with fixing the logging boots of his old
patrons at 64 East Hastings. Within no time at all,
Daytons became known as “the Logger’s choice”.
Dayton soon became the brand name for boots and the
industry standard for loggers in the woods, men on tough
construction and utility jobs, rough-necks in the oil
patch, on the docks with longshoreman, as well as with
both fire and police forces - anywhere a rugged, durable,
comfortable boot was required.
was the policy of Dayton Boots and Charlie Wohlford
to use the best of everything. The best number one leathers
available, the best imported boot caulks, brass nails,
etc. "Buy the best materials, make it with skilled shoemakers
and you will have a first class product", said Charlie.
Wohlford insisted on the highest standards of quality.
And Charlie was never satisfied to rest on his laurels.
He continually searched for ways and innovations to
make Dayton boots better, regardless of the cost. Dayton
has carried through this philosophy to the present day.
The company continued to expand and moved into the present
factory in 1949. Additional styles were regularly added
to the Dayton line during the fifties and sixties, including
Daytons famous 'Western Boots'. In the seventies, Dayton
purchased the rights to manufacture the Pierre Paris
& Sons (established in 1907) and Leckie Boots (established
in 1852) lines, two former rival boot manufacturers.
In the early 1960's, Dayton added the Goodyear welt
method of boot construction to its already famous hand-nailed
line of products. This process allowed Dayton to diversify
into Western, Service and lighter footwear that still
demonstrated Dayton's high standard of quality and durability.
The first pairs of Dayton Western boots appeared in
1962. That year, Charles ‘Chunky’ Woodward,
scion to the Woodward’s store fortune and owner
of one of North America’s largest cattle ranches
asked Dayton to create a more comfortable and durable
boot for his cowboys. Dayton's Western boots were the
first to eliminate the inside seam and feature outside
seams only, to reduce chafing on the legs of the riders
and working cowhands who wore the boots. It didn't take
long for motorcyclists to recognize the wisdom of this
innovation. When Dayton customers started attaching
old tire treads to the bottoms of their boots to create
a great motorcycle boot, Dayton responded by manufacturing
the Black Beauty double-soled motorcycle boot.
Coinciding with the advent of better rubber soles, Dayton
designed and commenced production of the "Black Beauty"
double-soled motorcycle boot in 1965. This boot continues
to be one of Dayton's most popular boot lines. The "Black
Beauty" is now revered by bikers everywhere and is much
sought after in Japan and Europe, which is a testament
to the boot's international appeal. In 1978, Dayton
introduced "The Classic", a double-soled nailed-construction
engineer style boot which has since become a favorite
with motorcyclists all over the world.
the eighties and nineties, Dayton aggressively expanded
its "Motorcycle Boot" line and responded to the demands
of its customers by the addition of ladies sizes. The
tremendous response to Dayton's motorcycle boots led
the company to begin participating in motorcycle trade
shows and rallies throughout North America. Stops on
the tour included Daytona Bike Week, the Sturgis Rally
and Races (where Dayton has been a fixture since 1990),
The Laughlin River Run and Reno Street Vibrations, just
to name a few.
Dayton wearers are among the world’s most dedicated
customers, the boots inspiring a cult-like loyalty.
People have been married in their Daytons and buried
in their Daytons. Others have bequeathed their boots
back to the company in their wills. Fan mail sent from
every corner of the globe piles up at the factory, many
of them testimonials to the toughness and durability
of the owner’s Daytons. A biker from West Virginia
wrote “I wore my Daytons on a 12,000 mile ride
and they’re still in great shape. The other guys
were pouring water out of their boots while my feet
satyed dry.” An Alberta customer wrote to thank
the staff for rebuilding his 20 year-old Daytons, and
to say how sorry he was that he’d never get another
chance to buy a new pair; he’s in his sixties
and he expects to be buried in the pair he bought in
his forties. Other stories tell glowing reports of the
boots’ ability to withstand nearly unbelievable
punishment in all manner of accidents and emerge nearly
unscathed, their owner’s feet safe and sound inside.
the 1990's, the reputation of Vancouver's very own homegrown
boots had spread far and wide. They were showcased at
Vancouver’s hippest boutiques and seen on the
feet of club-goers and trendsetters throughout the city.
Dayton boots have been embraced by the fashion industry,
the music world and in BC's growing film and television
industry. On film sets around town, you can find Dayton's
adorning the feet of both movie crews and movie stars,
and Dayton Boots in front of and behind the camera.
2001 Dayton celebrated its 55th Anniversary by continuing
to produce timeless, classic, high quality boots for
men and women. Dayton currently manufactures some 50
different styles of shoes and boots for an ever-expanding
market divided among five sectors: motorcycle boots,
fashion styles, western boots, work boots and service
boots. Dayton plans to unveil several new styles of
shoes and boots in the coming year as well as an exciting
line of Dayton-branded apparel. When in Vancouver, you
can visit the Dayton showroom at 2250 East Hastings
Street and be fitted into a new pair of boots with the
sounds of hammers and machines only a few feet away.
It's nice to know that at Dayton, some things - like
Quality and Tradition - never change..
Boots are made today with the same attention to detail
as they were six decades ago. Every pair of Dayton Boots
is crafted by hand with exacting care and precision
through up to 220 individual production steps. Dayton's
team of skilled shoemakers includes men and women who
have been at the company for more than 30 years -- still
working on some of the same equipment that was in use
when the factory opened in 1950. The company continues
to carry on the tradition of making sure the company's
motto of 'Comfort, Quality and Durability' lives on
in every pair.
surprising people since 1946.
(Source: From the old Dayton's website)