Dayton Boots, one of Canada’s oldest boot manufacturers, whose fading prominence was amplified by an employment scandal, is getting new ownership plus a fresh name that harkens back to its founder: Wohlford & Company.
Dayton Boots was started by C.H. “Charlie” Wohlford in 1946. Charlie’s previous profession was a mixture of boot repair and bartending—he would work on fixing loggers’ boots while tending the bar at the Lumberman’s Social Club in Vancouver, BC. His clientele at the Social Club supposedly inspired him to create his own line of high-quality work boots, and Dayton Boots was born.
Since then, Dayton built its reputation on not only making superb logging footwear and other work boots, but also motorcycle boots (like the ‘60s-era Black Beauty Western-style boots) and more-casual offerings like their service boots.
In recent years, the company has seen production dwindle while also becoming embroiled in some pretty messy controversy. In 2022, the British Columbia Employment Standards Tribunal ruled that Dayton Boots and its sole director, Eric Hutchingame, had violated the Employment Standards Act by illegally deducting wages and paying employees in non-Canadian currency—in this case, Dayton gift cards. Dozens of Dayton employees were affected by the company’s actions, up to and including Charlie Wohlford’s grandson, Ray Wohlford.
That very same Ray Wohlford is described as being an “integral” part of the boot company’s rebirth, according to a statement on their Instagram page, which has transitioned the old Dayton profile to @wohlford1946, while seemingly not touching all the existing Dayton-focused posts. Daytonboots.com is also still up and running, albeit seemingly without any in-stock boots.
“Ray represents three generations of legendary boot-making,” the statement reads, “and we are proud to have his help keeping one foot firmly planted in our heritage and the other stepping towards the future.” The post also mentions that the company is now under a new group of owners, including Wohlford, and that they’ve recruited a new group of designers and bootmakers.
These developments are still unfolding, and other than a new name and logo, we’re not quite sure what the former Dayton Boots will look like going forward. (Their website hasn’t been updated to reflect the new name, as of this writing.) We’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on this space.