The Apex Story
We know that humans have been wearing closed-toe shoes for over 5,500 years because in 2010, this remarkably well-preserved shoe was discovered in Armenia and dates to 3,500 BC. Back then, there was only one reason to own a pair of shoes – protection.
Fast forward a few thousand years to 1946
In 1946, protection was, and still is, the most important reason to own a pair of shoes. Unfortunately, by the modern, most of us had migrated away from the concept of 'shoes for protection' to a style-first mentality. Not that style is unimportant or shallow - at Apex we thrive on style! - but when style supersedes concepts like protection, support, fit, and manufacturing expertise, feet begin to hurt. And worse.
Which brings us back to 1946 and two gentlemen named Paul and Charles Schwartz. The Schwartz brothers founded Apex in the backroom of a Manhattan shoe store where they manufactured leather and stainless-steel arch supports (such supports evolved to become known as 'foot orthotics'), components for shoe repair as well as certain shoe-related raw materials.
The torch was eventually passed to Paul's son, Richard Schwartz, who expanded the line to include 'therapeutic' shoes. That's where the story gets really interesting. Why? Because for shoes to qualify as therapeutic, they have to check certain boxes that make them ideal not just for people with serious foot conditions like those typically associated with diabetes and arthritis, but for anyone with feet. More on that later. In the meantime...
Apex introduced its first shoe in 1971. Nearing its 50th anniversary, the model 1201 was known as 'the healing shoe' and for good reason. The 1201 upper is made of stretchable Spandex® and was designed to accommodate a variety of injuries and other foot conditions where pain and swelling can make a foot's life extremely difficult and uncomfortable.
By the late 1990s, having firmly established itself as the most respected and successful therapeutic footwear company in America, Apex developed and launched its first athletic shoe. With the X521, the company was well on its way to revolutionizing the 'medical' shoe industry.
With the new millennium came a growing awareness and appreciation for health as lifestyle. The cost of healthcare had been sky-rocketing for decades and Americans of all ages and socio-economic groups were feeling the effect. Insurance was more and more expensive, plans increasingly complicated and restrictive and appointments harder to get. It made sense, then, that Health and Wellness was on the minds of many. An apple a day was no longer enough to keep the doctor away.
Of course, Health and Wellness had been the driving force behind Apex Foot Health products for over half a century. The rest of the world was finally catching up!
Suddenly, healthy shoes weren't just for doctors' patients, but for the docs themselves. And their spouses and children and friends and neighbors. Anyone with two feet who chose to wear shoes that not only looked great, but fit great and felt great too!
In March of 2015, a company whose products and services were helping many millions of people live healthier, happier lives added Apex to its family of brands. The leadership at OHI had long respected the Schwartz family and how they'd developed and modernized Apex over the years. They felt certain that Apex was superbly positioned to become the footwear brand of choice in the cross-generational 'Health and Wellness' environment now in full bloom across North America and beyond.
And what fuel would carry the strategy forward? High-octane style.
Welcome to the 'new' Apex!
The 'new' Apex delivers the same industry-leading construction, finest materials and exceptional comfort & support that our customers have come to expect, plus a fresh and exhilarating focus on style that they absolutely love. Here's a great example. Released in 2016, the Apex FitLite Collection leverages 70 years of shoemaking expertise, layers on innovative, state-of-the-art materials & manufacturing and closes the loop with stunning design.
In 2016 and 2017 Apex introduced a variety of new styles including the super-comfortable Men's Athletic Bungee, Men's and Women's Sierra Trail Runners, the Ariya Hiking Boot and the Women's Sydney Boat Shoe.
2018 will be a banner year for Apex with the newly released Hudson Chukka Boot and several new Women's styles designed and manufactured for Health & Wellness but with a canny ability to turn heads.
In 2019, Apex released the brother to our Hudson Chukka Boot, the Logan Chelsea style boot with an inner zipper. We also released a brand new casual style to our footwear line, the Apex Ballet Flat!
In 2021, Apex released a new Hiker inspired Balance Shoe for men and women, specifically designed to help balance, but also accommodating to those who wear AFO’s. We also released our very first Slipper! The Apex Moccasin Slipper was introduced as an option for at-home footwear that is comfy, cozy and still able to accommodate orthotic supports.
We released a new line of athletic mesh styles shoes including our Performance Athletic Sneaker for Men and Women, as well as our Mesh Mary Jane for Women.
Shhhhh... We are excited to be expanding upon our performance Athletic Sneaker line, wait and see what new colors we release in Spring 2023!