Famous Footwear is a wholly owned subsidiary of Calares, who changed its name from the Brown Shoe Company in 2015.
Famous Footwear was founded in 1960 as Neil’s Factory Shoe Outlet by Neil Moldenhauer. The first store was located in Madison, Wisconsin.
In 1963, the company hired Brian Cook to work in the stockroom. He would later become CEO.
In 1964, a second location was opened in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This location was called Famous Footwear.
By 1974, there were 15 stores all operating as Famous Footwear. A majority stake in the chain was purchased by Cook, Dave Orfan and a group of investors.
By 1980, there were 36 stores.
In 1990, a distribution center was built in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.
By 1993, there were 722 stores in 44 states.
In 2008, the company headquarters was shut down in Madison and all operations were moved to Brown Shoe Company headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri.
In 2018, the company reported record sales for the second quarter of 2018.
The parent company of Famous Footwear, Caleres, reported a rise in stock prices in early September 2020, most likely due to the reopening of stores after the coronavirus crisis and back-to-school shoe sales.
Today, the chain operates over 900 stores.