CAT’S PAW RUBBER HEELS & SOLES

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It’s a pity that certain companies don’t have nine lives like cats, otherwise Cat’s Paw would still be in full swing. Nevertheless, the typical gimmicks of the American company – used for the first time in 1904 – are even now well-known and beloved especially by the heritage’s ‘fans and nostalgics’.

Pretty famous during the latest century, in an era when products necessarily had to last long (at the time an equal of leading brands such as Vibram, Biltrite, Panco, O’Sullivan, Holtite etc) Baltimora’s Cat’s Paw Rubber Company Inc. was drawing attention thanks to its very functional no-slip half heels (and soles too) that used to promote with spot-on press campaigns, still up-to-date given the ‘vintage-mania’ the adv sector also is living nowadays.

The main benefit of the Maryland label was that it didn’t only recover and resole shoes and boots, but it also improved them through its own ‘retro technologies’ (for example there are those who claim that the Bass Weejun loafers work at best with rubber soles). Not by chance Cat’s Paw half heels and cushion soles (in rubber the formers and microlite the latters) guaranteed new life to old shoes and boots, besides a ‘feline’ performance, or almost.

That’s because the products of the Baltimora brand boasted friction plug inserts and double no-slip pads for an ad hoc grip – the iconic twin-gripper – similar to cats’ fingertips indeed; a feature as much highlighted in the label’s name as in its logo, that has a father of excellence.

Infact it was created around 1936 by German graphic-designer and artist Lucian Bernhard, who we owe to both the homonymous font plus other types and, in part, the ‘design styles’ dubbed Plakatstil (poster style) and Sachplakat (object poster). But that’s not the only anecdote linking Cat’s Paw to history – if we’re talking about American one – then, you just need to know that its name was related to the presumed identification of aviatrix Amelia Earhart (disappeared in ’37 and ‘found’ in ’91 in Nikumaroro, an atoll in the Phoenix Isles, north of the Fiji) thanks to the soles of her bluchers, and it was even present among the evidence of crime scenes ‘popular’ in the USA (for better or for worse) like the Pasternack murder in ’74…

Nowadays, to the detriment of the fame that had made it a big player in its field, Cat’s Paw (acquired by Biltrite) doesn’t seem to be active anymore, but some of its products are – barely – available on the web and in a very few ‘old-school’ shoe-repair shops, American above all… if the Cat is gone, at least it left us the Paw – its best plus.