Payless ShoeSource Inc. is an American discount footwear retailer headquartered in Topeka, Kansas, whose U.S. and Canadian locations are soon to be defunct. Established in 1956 by cousins Louis and Shaol Pozez, Payless is a privately held company owned by Blum Capital, and Golden Gate Capital. In 1961, it became a public company as the Volume Shoe Corporation which merged with The May Department Stores Company in 1979. In the 1980s, Payless was widely known in the U.S.
for its Pro Wings line of discount sneakers, which often had Velcro straps instead of laces. In 1996, Payless ShoeSource became an independent publicly held company. In 2004, Payless ShoeSource announced it would exit the Parade chain and would close 100 Payless Shoe outlets.It was announced on May 1, 2012, that the company would be purchased by Wolverine World Wide, Blum Capital, and Golden Gate Capital for US$1.32 billion. On December 13, 2016 it was reported that all Payless shoe stores were to be closed in Australia with the loss of 730 jobs.
On July 14, 2014, Authentic Brands Group acquired some assets from Payless ShoeSource’s division Collective Licensing International, LLC, which included brands such as Airwalk, Hind sports clothing, Vision Street Wear, and Above The Rim. In April 2017, Payless Shoesource filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and announced the closing of 400 stores in the United States.
Circa 1962–63, Volume Shoe company purchased the original Hill Brothers Shoe Company based in Kansas City, Missouri and converted all 25 of their stores to the “Payless” name. In 1971, Volume Shoe obtained the second Hill Brothers Shoe Store chain that was started in St. Louis, Mo in 1956 by Al Melnick and Sol Nathanson with the assistance and aid of the original Hill Brothers in Kansas City. The St. Louis version of “‘Hill Brothers Self Service Shoe Store'” went from 3 to 103 stores in the Midwest and South between 1956 and 1971. Volume Shoe originally operated the 103 stores under the “Hill Brothers Self Service” name.