Spears Specialty Shoe Company, Custom Made Clown & Theater Footwear Since 1983

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The Story of Spear Specialty Shoes

montage of members of the Spear Specialty Shoe extended family


"So, what do you do for a living?" The response to that question: "I make clown shoes", is usually met with a doubletake and the follow-up "How'd you get into that?" Since I expect that you, the visitor to this site, are wondering the same thing, here's a brief history.

Gary Spear (AKA Gilligan the Clown), son of John and Geri Spear, attended the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Clown College, graduating in 1982. He did a brief stint as a circus performer immediately after graduation, before realizing that he wasn't cut out for life on the road.

During his time with the circus, Gary discovered that there was a need for good, comfortable clown shoes, with reasonable delivery times. Previously John had made a few pair of oversized clown shoes for Geri's business, The Costume Closet. Gary's observations in the clown world intersected with John's previous work and Spear Specialty Shoes was born.

Starting out, it was a struggle. The world didn't beat a path to John's door. As you can imagine, the market is widespread and can be difficult and expensive to reach. But, John persevered and gradually built a reputation as someone you could count on to deliver on his promises and stand behind his products.

Over the last 25 years, John has built a dedicated following who testify to the quality of the man and the products he makes and sells at every opportunity. He has risen to the pinnacle of clown shoe manufacturing, making shoes for such renowned personalities as Dick Van Dyke, Johnny Carson, Harry Anderson and Jim Carrey. Through it all, he has remained loyal to the people who have supported him from the beginning- countless professional and volunteer clowns worldwide.

Over the years, we've branched out into the mascot and theater shoe business. We have created shoes for mascots such as the Baltimore Orioles, the "Umpire Bird". In 2000, Spear shoes were featured in the Universal Studios production of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas". More recently, we outfitted most of the cast of the Broadway hit production of "The Grinch". While the two productions share their name, they couldn't be more different.

We hope that you will find something among these pages that will intrigue and entertain you. We'd love to make a pair of shoes just for you. Use one of our designs or create your own- we love challenges!

Thanks for looking!

"Keep the kids happy for us!"

© Copyright 2007, all rights reserved
Spear Specialty Shoes  •  12 Orlando Street  •  Springfield, MA 01108-2412  •  (413) 732-7184  •  jspear12@comcast.net