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About us

Our History

The Start

Edward J. Urban, fresh out of the military returned to his hometown Ware Massachusetts to begin, little to his knowledge, a long journey. He began working at J.T. Wood Boot Manufacturing Company. He worked in the shop on the supply line learning the ins and outs of making a quality boot. He began to develop a strong interest in how boots are made. After years of working at J.T Wood Boot Manufacturing Company, Eddy decided to open his own shoe manufacturing company and called it American Athletic Shoe Company Incorporated. 

JT Wood Boot Manufacturing

 

1959: American Athletic Shoe Company

The idea was to open a shoe manufacturing plant instead of just supplying boots. Eddy wanted to make sneakers, athletic shoes, cleats, ice skates, hockey skates, and even bowling shoes. Any type of athletic footwear was going to be his specialty. American Athletic opened its doors on October 31, 1959 located at 15 South St. Ware, MA. (Headquarters still resides there today.)

Like any new business, things started off slow. It was difficult to get started off the ground as we needed trustworthy suppliers for raw materials, laborers, machines and most importantly we needed sales. Ware was a Milltown so assembly line workers came by the hundreds, but it took a few years to build a strong supply chain with quality leathers, and source high tech assembly machines. Once manufacturing needs were met the American Athletic factory could produce thousands of pairs of athletic shoes and ice skates. However, to keep up with supply we needed to think big and sell to large retail shops in addition to the typical mom and pop stores.

Due to our large-scale manufacturing factory we were able to offer extensive product offerings, which gave retail buyers options to buy their entire footwear inventory needs from one source. This made it easier than dealing with separate suppliers for each type of shoe offered in the retail shops and also gave American Athletic a leg up on competition.

After relentless effort and strong supply of quality goods, American Athletic began to take over the market in athletic footwear. By 1971 we were in full swing producing and selling sneakers, athletic shoes, baseball/football/soccer cleats, ice skates, hockey skates, and bowling shoes around the nation. 

     American Athletic ice skate manufacturing                    

With much success in our production, one thing stood out. American Athletics’ top preforming product year after year was our ice skates. We produced a top-quality ice skate at lower price points which we couldn’t sell enough of. Slowly ice skates became American Athletics primary focus and continues to be today 48 years later. 

         American Athletic Ice skate production   American Athletic Ice Skate production  

Turn of the Century

The 2000’s came with a blast. Companies came and went through this era as the internet boom was making it difficult to keep up. If you were not continuously adapting and staying ahead of the market you were most likely to fail.

American Athletic took a stronghold in online retail shops. Paul Opalinski, Edward J. Urbans nephew had stepped up to run American Athletic after the sudden death of Edward Urban in 1999. Young adaptive blood is what it took to have a strong presence in the online retail market. A short eight years later American Athletic ice skates were on all of the major retail websites like Amazon.com, Dickssportinggoods.com, Walmart.com, Target.com, Shoes.com, JCPenny.com, etc.

During these changing times American Athletic had also started to source our skates abroad which would later lead to global ice skate sales and international distribution.

Storefronts moving online and production moving abroad was not enough change for American Athletic. Paul saw this as an opportune time to also expand the product offerings and offer renal ice skates to indoor ice rinks, outdoor town rinks and city ice rinks. Ice skate rentals started to become popular in the industry which American Athletic quickly became the leader of. American Athletic has developed game changing rental skates that continually sets the benchmark every year. Endlessly sourcing materials and technologies to improve the durability and comfort-ability of rental skates, this is a strong suit that has developed over their years of experience.

Over time of being in the rental skate market American Athletic truly sees the direct impact rental skates have in growing the overall love and support of ice skating. Today most people don’t own their own ice skates and their first impression of ice skating will be using rental skates; so American Athletic ensures rental skates that make your first time ice skating an unforgettable experience. Growing the sport of ice skating has always been and always will be American Athletics top priority.      

 

Global footprint

Today American Athletic strives to expand on a global basis meeting mass market demand. Our new adaption is to offer more custom fitting products for each customer around the world. Each year American Athletic comes out with new models to continually expand and offer an array of product options. Over recent years we have expanded our ice skate sales from the United States and Canada to Europe and Asia. As always, American Athletic continues to have a strong international presence in the rental skate market.  

American Athletic has been through every type of consumer market. After 60 years of experience we continue to stay adaptable and true to our core beliefs. On its third generation, the family owned company, American Athletic, stays eager for what’s next.

 

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