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About Lind Shoe Company

The Lind Shoe Company has been owned and managed by the Lind family since 1919. Today we combine modern technology with the personal touch of a small business while continuing to offer our customers quality products.

Linds, a household name in bowling.

Linds has provided high quality, performance shoes for bowlers for more than 85 years. Linds experience goes back to the early part of the 20th century, when Swedish-born Erick Lind began working for the United Shoe Machinery Company, traveling from town to town setting up mechanized shoe factories and working as a superintendent. In 1919, Erick opened a shop making hand-crafted, custom-made street shoes.

In 1936, Leslie, Erick’s son, bought the company after having learned some of the trade from his father and honing his skills on his own. 1936 is the year the legendary Linds bowling shoes were born. It started with a request from a customer who played on a team sponsored by Hamm’s Brewery. He wanted something added to the bottom of his shoe that would help him slide more easily, so Leslie put a buckskin sole on the shoe. Soon after that the entire bowling team had their shoes resoled. After using the resoled shoes, one of the customers summed up his enthusiasm and appreciation of Leslie’s inventive concept by saying, "You don’t know what you’ve got there!"

That same customer came back and asked Leslie to create an entire bowling shoe. Leslie, feeling more creative than usual that day, decided he wanted to make something different and that he did. He constructed a shoe using shiny red leather left over from recently produced dancing shoes. After the Hamm’s team wore those bright red shoes in a tournament, the Stroh’s bowling team approached Leslie looking for some brand new shoes.

Linds continued to make colorful bowling shoes for various teams until World War II, when Leslie entered the military and the plant closed down. After the war, Linds started producing orthopedic shoes for the Veteran’s Administration. Then, in 1951, Leslie Lind decided to set up a booth to display his shoes at the ABC Tournament in St. Paul, MN. Requests and orders started to pour in, many from top professional bowlers such as Paul Krumske, Junie McMahon, Chuck O’Donnel, and Andy Varipapa.

By 1970, the production of Linds shoes could not keep up with the demand. Leslie’s son, Jeff, saw this and moved the company to a larger facility in Stillwater, Minnesota. In 1976, with the demand for bowling shoes continuing to increase, Jeff asked Lind’s twelve largest distributors if they would stock "non-custom" shoes. With all the distributors agreeing to this request, Linds expanded into mass production of "stock" shoes sold at bowling centers and pro shops, while continuing to offer custom shoes.

In 1978, the company torch (which had been passed from Erick to Leslie) went to Jeff, who purchased the company from his father. Eight years later, the company had outgrown its Stillwater location and moved to the small town of Somerset, Wisconsin, near the famous Apple River. Linds continues to uphold its traditional standard of quality by using the finest materials and craftsmanship in all Lind’s shoes.

On February 1, 1999 the Lind Shoe Company purchased World Impex Bowling, to become Linds World Impex. Today, the business specializes in the importation, selling, and distribution of a variety of quality bowling products including rental shoes, resale shoes, house balls, resale balls, bowling bags, bowling pins, steel bowling lockers, and a variety of pro shop accessories.