Know Thy Roots – Roots Canada Celebrates 40 Years in the Making

29.08.2013 + Upper Canada Mall + No Comments

Every family has a history. Every history has a story. Every story has its roots and this one is about perseverance, dedication, the great white north and it’s iconic sense of style.

Back in 1973, Don Green and Michael Budman founded Roots, initially a natural footwear company that sold the Negative Heel Shoes – named so because the heel actually sat lower than the rest of the shoe. The Negative Shoe was a good shoe, but they needed something better – they needed a great shoe that would launch their business. The two men had the good fortune of meeting Jan Kowalewski who owned Boa Shoe Company on College Street. Upon meeting him, the team knew they had their man – an expert leather craftsman in which making shoes was in his blood and the art of making them part of his family tradition.

The first Roots store opened on August 15th, 1973 on Yonge Street in the heart of Toronto. As the story goes… the rest is history.

Today, every Roots leather product is made in the state-of-the-art factory in Toronto, which is still operated by the Kowalewski family. Leather is the pride of Roots and the heart and soul of the company.

This year marks a big milestone for Roots as the company celebrates 40 years of creating an iconic Canadian product. To celebrate the anniversary, Roots is bringing back some of the original leather styles from 1973.

We stand by our Roots

1973 – The Sport Root Negative Heel Shoe

2013 – The Sport Root Tribe Negative Heel Shoe

For a complete look at the history of Roots, visit

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