PF Flyers gained popularity in the 1930s and early 1940s and whilst ‘Center Hi’s’ (pictured) never quite making out of the Converse shadow, the ‘P.F.’ (Posture Foundation) patented insole technology set new benchmarks in sneaker comfort. The insole technology was first used in BF Goodrich shoes. It involves a wedge-like insert (promoted as the “magic wedge”) that moves weight to the outside of the foot, evenly distributing weight, reducing leg strain. As the success of the sneakers with the Posture Foundation insole technology grew in 1937 it became the basis for the brand name, “PF Flyers.” Sport styles by PF were very popular in the 1950s, renowned for helping you “run faster and jump higher” courtesy of the “action wedge.” This ability would be a result of the improved fit of the foundation, but similar foundations were finding their way into competing brands, countering the PF advantage.
PF Flyers had the first collaboration between a sneaker company and pro athlete in the 1950s, when they teamed up with Bob Cousy, the famed Boston Celtics star to create a string of classic basketball designs. By the 1960s, PF Flyers was one of the largest sneaker brands in America. In 1964, Hanna-Barbera’s Jonny Quest was featured in a custom-animated 60-second commercial for the brand that ran during the Jonny Quest series, which featured a “magic ring” as a promotional offer. The ring featured a movable code wheel, magnifying lens, signal flasher and a secret compartment. The code was implemented by a rotating circular inner code dial marked “ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ” and a fixed outer code marked “WEARPFSLQMYBUHXVCZNDKIOTGJ”. The ring was available, free, from shoe stores which carried PF Flyers.
Shoe retailers also distributed free comic books, illustrating adventures centered on young heroes whose PF Flyers enabled them to overcome danger. These books were tied to the concurrent TV ad campaign, which ran on Saturday mornings. In the early 1970s, magician Harry Blackstone, Jr. promoted a “PF Magic Wedge Kit” giveaway offer with the purchase of PF Flyers on a television commercial. With the brand’s increasing popularity, women were able to buy dresses made to match their PFs, and PF was standard issue in the US Army.
The brand was purchased by Converse in 1972, but later had to be sold off when the US government filed an antitrust suit claiming that if both companies combined they would have a monopoly for sneakers. The company is now owned by New Balance. - (Source – Wiki).