first surfaced more than 50 years ago in Los Angeles, California, as part
of a new organization known as the West Coast Shoe Travelers Association.
This group incorporated two years later in California as the Western Shoe
Associates with the purpose of "promoting a higher standard of ethics"
and "encouraging a spirit of cooperation" within the growing
flourished as a regional market during the ensuing years and boasted
a membership of 500. As the shoe industry grew and America's appetite
for fashion increased, the need for a larger trade show came with it.
By the 1980's WSA was turning into a national presence as one of the
premier markets for the trade, and it was fast outgrowing its Long Beach,
show moved to the Los Angeles Convention Center in 1987 and then hit
the big time in 1989 when it moved its still expanding show to the convention
capital of the world, Las Vegas. Now known simply as 'The WSA Show',
this market takes over 1 million square feet of exhibit space at the
Sands Expo, Mandalay Bay Convention Center and The Venetian Hotel.
Show grew further in 1999 when the Sands Expo Convention Center expanded
its facilities an additional 105,000 square feet. With a waiting list
for entry into the country's top market, the timing could not have been
there are over 4500 members in WSA and the list keeps growing. Membership
comes from around the world.
membership is comprised of industry
sales representatives with a Board of Directors that is elected every
two years. Members are welcome to attend meetings, which take place
every other month.
is without question one of the strongest industry trade organizations
offering support for its members. For a nominal cost ($70
to join, and $20 annual renewal), members enjoy such benefits
as: participation in two international markets, insurance, financial
assistance, group legal services, and listings of job opportunities.
Because WSA is a not-for-profit
the costs for exhibit space and related services
are lowest in the industry. WSA also makes significant donations
to a number of designated charities.