Seattle-based private equity firm Westward Partners has acquired Superfeet, an insole manufacturer founded in 1977 and based in Ferndale, Washington, about 160 km north of Seattle. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Westward will take over majority ownership of the company from its workers since it was owned by its employees through its Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP), and will change the structure to an LLC. The goal of the ESOP, established in 2005, was to ensure a secure future for the employee-owners based on success. Superfeet furthered this commitment by transitioning from partial to 100 percent employee ownership in 2015.
The plan for Superfeet in its partnership with Westward is to expand its distribution reach, according to a press release. Superfeet is known for its insoles. In the early days of the pandemic, it shifted some of its operations to personal protective equipment manufacturing, including the production of more than 40,000 masks. Superfeet’s European operation is headquartered in Belgium and has more than 15 distributors in the EU and the U.K. The brand also has a presence in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Thailand, Japan and Puerto Rico. “Superfeet has incredible product, a world-class team, a values-driven culture, and a solid vision for the future. Together we plan to grow the brand, product portfolio and geographic reach, ultimately getting Superfeet to more of the people who need them,” said Erik Tolzmann, founder and partner at Westward. His firm focuses on companies in the Pacific Northwest.