About Sutton’s Safety Shoes

Celebrating 69 Years in the Shoe Industry

Sutton’s Shoes was founded in 1952 by Norwood and Ethel Sutton. Prior to opening the first store, Norwood Sutton was a farmer outside of the La Grange, NC community. After having respiratory problems from curing tobacco, Norwood decided to start a shoe business. Sutton’s Shoes began after Norwood borrowed all of the money he could from gentlemen within the La Grange community.

In the early days of Sutton’s Shoes, there was not enough financial backing to keep the shoe store fully stocked. In the 1950s, it was customary to keep your inventory at the front of the store where customers could see it. Since a full inventory could not be acquired without substantial financial backing, Norwood bought many empty shoe boxes to make it appear is if he had a huge inventory. No one knew that over half of his “inventory” was actually empty boxes. However, as time progressed, so did his inventory.

Norwood and Ethel Sutton Outside of Sutton’s Shoe Store in 1952
The Original Sutton’s Shoe Store in Downtown La Grange NC, 1952

In the late 1960s, Sutton’s Shoes began providing safety shoes to the surrounding community. At this time, there were only five styles available to customers. In 2020, Sutton’s Safety Shoes now stocks over 160 styles through 25 brands, with access to over 2500 styles.

In, 1996, Sutton’s Shoes moved from the small downtown community of La Grange to the HWY 70 bypass right outside of town. After this move, Sutton’s began expanding by operating mobile shoe stores, also known as Shoemobiles, to service manufacturers and cities that require employees to wear safety footwear.

The Inside of Sutton’s Shoes in the 1960-70s
Sutton’s Shoe Store Front, 1969