World Shoe Association (WSA) is currently the largest
footwear trade market in North America. Its twice-yearly show
at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and Sands Expo in Las
Vegas, Nevada, pulls in more than 26,000 retail buyers and the
cream of the footwear manufacturing industry. In short, WSA
is the ultimate, must-do trade show for the multi-billion dollar
association 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 footwear industry.
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, California, home.
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 Mandalay Bay Convention
Center, Sands Expo and The Venetian Hotel.