Globe Footwear

Roland Landry, plant manager

Company’s origin story: Most Mainers know Globe Footwear as Falcon Shoe Manufacturing, which began in 1963 as a small, family-owned business in Lewiston. Our founder was Ted Johanson, a Massachusetts native and Harvard University graduate who decided to get into the family shoe manufacturing business. We started in children’s shoes, then men’s and women’s performance outdoor footwear, safety and military footwear, and now exclusively make protective footwear for first responders.

In 2014, Falcon was acquired by Globe Manufacturing Company, a fourth-generation family-owned and managed business headquartered in Pittsfield, N.H. Globe has been making firefighter protective clothing since 1887.

Number of employees/locations:

Auburn footwear manufacturing facility: 55

Pittsfield, N.H., turnout gear manufacturing facility and headquarters: 324

Ada, Ohio, turnout gear manufacturing facility: 43

Fairfax, Va., turnout gear cleaning and repair facility: 8

You’re at a dinner party. You’re asked, ‘What does your company make?’ And you say . . . Globe Footwear makes athletic footwear for firefighters. With our firefighter boots, we have become the No. 1 protective leather fire boot manufacturer in North America, in large part due to their innovative design on a running shoe platform versus a work shoe platform. The boots have remarkable flexibility and that “broken-in” feel right out of the box.

This innovation came from scientific studies that proved that lighter-weight and more flexible footwear isn’t just about comfort – it’s about safety. It’s about less physiological strain on firefighters and less likelihood of trips and falls on the fire ground.

I guess at a dinner party I’d say that we make awesome boots that make happy feet!

Who — and where — are your customers? Globe customers are large and small, urban and rural, and career and volunteer fire departments in 82 countries around the world. Some of our largest boot customers include Edmonton Fire Rescue Services in Alberta, Canada; Boston Fire Department; Atlanta Fire Rescue Department; Montgomery (Alabama) Fire/Rescue; Dallas Fire-Rescue Department; and Kuwait Fire Service Directorate. Just last week we rushed a large emergency order for the Fort McMurray Fire Department, who is battling to bring the devastating wildfires in Canada under control.

Hardest thing about doing business in Maine? We don’t think there’s anything hard about doing business in Maine, except that the harsh winters can sometimes make it difficult to get to work.

The best? More than 50 years ago, our founder chose Maine for its strong New England work ethic, large available labor pool and a healthy infrastructure. Today we still believe that was a wise choice, especially because of the people and their work ethic. Every employee takes great pride in their work. We protect firefighters while they protect others, and we take that responsibility seriously and very personally. It shows in the quality of our product.

That thing that sets you apart from the competition: What sets Globe apart from our competitors is innovation. We brought an entirely new boot to the fire market, but we didn’t stop there. Our innovation is often done with local Maine partnerships.

Not only are Globe boots made in the U.S.A., right here in Maine, but all the components are domestically sourced. The last two components we moved from offshore suppliers were developed through partnerships here in Maine. We developed the first non-metallic safety toe cap with the University of Maine Engineering Department. And we developed the first non-steel puncture resistant plate with Tex Tech, a company that manufactures in Monmouth.

Maine makes it

From awnings to espresso machines, to what one inventor hopes is the next great idea in gaming, manufacturing is slowly rebounding in Maine. Here are some examples:

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: