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History

For nearly a century, KIWI has been passionate about shoe care. Find out how KIWI became the number one shoe care brand in the world, from the early days in 1906 until today.

1900-1910

In 1906, William Ramsay had developed an unusually fine boot polish to which he gave the name ‘KIWI’. The choice of the name KIWI as a trademark was a tribute to William’s wife who was a native of New Zealand, home of the KIWI bird and New Zealand's national emblem. During Ramsay's visit to New Zealand he had noticed the quaint, wingless birds with their crisp, glossy plumage. The kiwi bird design looked good on the small round tin, and the name was easy to see and attractive to look at.

 

1920-1930

By 1924, KIWI polish was being sold in more than 50 countries.

Shoe facts:
Shoe styles in this post-war decade reflected the jazz age and were influenced by many trends and dances. 

1930-1950

Also during the Second World War, KIWI Polish brought the millions of pairs of leather boots of the Allied Forces the best shine and protection. 

Shoe facts:

Men's shoes kept the sporty feel of the 20’s, whilst shoe fashion for women became more varied and experimental. However, for much of the 1940s, shoe fashion was sober and dominated by the poverty of the Second World War.

1950-1970

By 1967, the KIWI brand become so big and its product range so diverse, that is was time to bring the KIWI companies under one worldwide banner: KIWI International.

Shoe facts:
The post-war look was diverse; the Italian stiletto heel came in for women. The elastic-sided Chelsea boots became extremely popular again in the early 60’s thanks to the Beatles.

1970-1990

KIWI became part of the multi-national Sara Lee Corporation in 1984.

Shoe facts:
Men and women enjoyed the flamboyant shoe styles of the 70's, inspired by the 'Glam Rock' pop stars of the day. In the 80’s, 'leisure' became fashionable. Shoes originally designed for sport were now worn for casual occasions.

1990-2005

Today KIWI is sold and marketed in almost 200 countries around the world. With several state-of-the-art new product innovations, KIWI remains the world’s number one shoe care brand.

Shoe facts:
In the 90’s, Doc Martins and athletic shoes gained popularity. Shoes no longer confined to a few styles and are made for many occasions.