First introduced in 1937, “PF” branded sneakers (short for Posture Foundation, a division of BF Goodrich) would quickly go on to dominate the American athletic industry throughout the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. The most famous sneaker, the Center-Hi, was a canvas high-top with a vulcanized rubber sole soon adopted by every 11-year-old, from Brooklyn to the San Fernando Valley, with dreams of playing in the Big Leagues.
The 1993 coming-of-age film The Sandlot, centered around baseball culture of the era, summed it up best when the film’s Jay Gatsby correlate, known to the neighborhood as “Benny ‘The Jet’ Rodriguez,” adorns a fresh pair. According to the film’s narrator, Scotty Smalls, the kicks were considered a “secret weapon” on the diamond. “Shoes guaranteed to make a kid run faster and jump higher,” he says in the film. The logo was a mark of excellence, with a name so revered it was spoken in whispers: “PF Flyers.”
Though the shoe continued to sell throughout the ’70s, even making its way into the US Army’s standard issue infantry uniform, the brand was eventually abandoned after a track record of mismanagement and changes in ownership. Decades later, all but lost to history, the legendary name was purchased in 2001 by New Balance and relaunched in 2003, rooted in the same American aesthetic remembered by vintage hunters and former MLB hopefuls.
In tribute to a bygone era of American excellence, PF Flyers has introduced a “Made in USA” line, featuring Center Hi sneakers that discreetly divert from the original design. Each pair is constructed from 14-ounce heavyweight canvas with leather accents (in place of rubber) on the toe and eye row. The lining is made from 100 percent pigskin leather, and stamped with the the words “PF, Made in U.S.A., Boston, MA” — where each pair is finished by hand. Though these days there are other shoes helping kids run faster and jump higher, there’s another quote from The Sandlot that’s worth considering, one that rings truer about PF Flyers: “Legends never die.”
Made in USA
From Head to Toe
Cotton Twill Ball Cap by Fair Ends $48
Overdyed Oxford Shirt by Gitman Vintage $199
2 Pac Pocket Tee by Velva Sheen $105
Charlie Rigid 13.5-Ounce Selvage Denim by Imogene + Willie $235
James Traditional Mid-Weight Hiker by Farm to Feet $19
Made in USA Sandlot by PF Flyers $150