The business was founded in British Columbia, Canada in 1946 by Charlie Wohlford, who was doing such a good job repairing loggers’ boots that people said they were literally ‘better than new’. Soon the reputation for the boots’ incredible durability spread and Daytons became the footwear of choice for all outdoorsman, construction workers, and police and fire departments. The boots were so strong that certain bars in logger territory banned them because they were considered a weapon if a brawl should break out, which was not uncommon in those days. There still exists an image of a “No Daytons Allowed” sign.
Over time, Dayton has developed its footwear, now offering over forty styles, which it separates into heritage boots, work boots, biker boots and shoes, with designs for men and women. These styles have a wonderful array of names including Low Rider, Black Beauty, Hard Toe Toughie, Bourbon Confederate and Dog Master. The shoe range is more limited, but includes Oxfords, Rancheros and Romeos.
To this day, Dayton still uses the same hand-crafted manufacturing methods as it did 70 years ago; a process containing over 200 steps. And the quality is as good as ever, with some people claiming to have owned and used a single pair of Daytons for over 30 years. All they needed was the occasional re-sole, which the staff at Dayton are more than happy to carry out because the boots are built in such a way that they can be re-soled and are even sold with a limited lifetime guarantee. Longevity is a rare selling point for any product these days. In addition, Dayton has created its own tailoring process so that the boots are actually fitted to the buyer’s feet.
Dayton has only one store, in Vancouver, and walking into it evokes a lovely sense of history and of a family-run business. However, Dayton sells boots all round the world through its online store and it is easy to become passionate about the brand as have many celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Sarah McLachlan and Harry Connick Jr., who have happily signed photographs of themselves wearing their treasured Daytons.
With such a high quality, fitted product at a reasonable price, ranging from $479 to $995 (£259 to £540), buying a pair of Daytons is absolutely worth the investment.