Our Story: from Bart to Stephen

Stephen Keoseian, current owner

Hersey Custom Shoe Company was founded in 1982 when Bart and Jan Hersey began making custom running shoes in a converted Maine sheep barn. Bart had been director of manufacturing for some of the major shoe companies and was yearning to slow down. He loved making shoes himself and figuring out ways to blend new technologies with the forgotten wisdom and techniques of the old-timers. Jan, his wife, was great at managing details, so together they launched a tiny cottage industry that was to make a surprising impact on the shoe world.

World’s #1 shoe

Hersey’s shoes, hand-crafted for each foot one at a time, immediately received a good response from both runners and non-runners, and the business steadily grew. Things really took off in 1985 when Runners World Magazine ranked the Hersey DPS as the #1 running shoe on the planet. First-time orders shot through the roof, combining with a high rate of repeat business to shift the focus from generating demand to keeping up with it.

Bart hands off to Steve

After 25 years, Bart was ready to relax. He considered simply shutting the doors but didn’t want to leave his loyal customers high and dry. So, he began searching for the right person to buy the business and take over the task of custom-crafting the highest quality shoes available.

Enter Stephen Keoseian, who had grown up as the third generation in Keosa Brothers Shoe Repair in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. After seeing a documentary on the Herseys, Steve got in touch with Bart and traveled north to see for himself.  An apprenticeship and friendship followed, and in 2007 Steve bought the company and moved its headquarters to Fitchburg. He remains dedicated to carrying on the tradition of making shoes to fit the needs of each individual runner, walker and hiker.