The shoes are cemented or double-stitched, resoleable, and have an almost limitless lifespan when cared for correctly – boot manufacturer Hanwag wins its customers with these advantages. The premium quality outdoor shoes, which perfectly combine the latest technology with traditional craftsmanship, are made in Vierkirchen just outside Munich and in two other sites in Europe. In an age where products have increasingly short lifespans, the advantage for the customer is that they can actually get a pair of shoes that will last their whole life, one that will set standards with their comfort.
“We won’t give up our traditions at Hanwag just because of a certain fashion trend. All shoes here are cemented or double-stitched. Of course that’s a bit more expensive. But they are the correct techniques to make a sturdy and long-lasting shoe”, says Andreas Settele, Development Manager at Hanwag.
The advantage of these more complex and costly techniques is that customers can get their shoes resoled at any time if they wear out. The shoes can be returned via the retailer and if bought online, they can be sent directly to Hanwag. That’s how shoes can last a whole life long when cared for correctly. Cheaper competitors rely on more economical production methods – this means that the shoes have a shorter life because they cannot be resoled.
Hanwag is one of the few manufacturers in the world which produces its own low shoes using the cemented method. To do this, the shoemaker pulls the vamp over the shoe mold and fixes it to the insole so that it becomes one. Afterwards the mid- and outsoles are attached. The soles can therefore be changed later, and the same is true for Hanwag’s second production method.
Some robust mountain boot models and Haferl shoes have been produced using the same traditional double-stitched method that was used when the company was founded in 1921. This requires perfect craftsmanship. Hanwag is one of the few manufacturers that still completely masters this technique to this day. A shoe is only “truly double-stitched” when the upper leather is securely attached to the bottom of the boot with two seams. As a customer you should always ask whether these complex techniques have been used because they guarantee a long life and that the shoe can be resoled.
Everything is genuine at Hanwag: Therefore the head office looks more like a manufacturer than a shoe factory. A huge amount of manual work is still done here – whether it be sewing the vamps or cementing the protective outsole of the shoe. All of the shoe molds, which guarantee the shoe’s perfect fit, are also made by hand.
The shoe mold is a type of artificial foot made of wood or plastic, upon which the shoe can be cobbled. Hanwag’s trekking shoes are legendary among outdoor fans for their comfort. This is due to the fact that Hanwag has the perfect shoe for (nearly) every type of foot.
The premium shoe manufacturer offers special designs such as Wide (for people who need more room at the front of the shoe), Narrow (for thin feet) and Bunion (for people with hallux valgus). The StraightFit technology gives toes lots of space, which is especially beneficial for people with a wide forefoot. And for people who have very individual feet, Hanwag offers a made-to-measure service for its trekking boots and is the first German manufacturer to do so.
The perfect fit is of course linked to the perfect interaction between all the materials used. Everything is top quality at Hanwag – from the moisture protecting Gore-Tex, the insoles, the leather for the inner lining to the outer material, which is very often premium leather. The nearly 100 year old company also sets standards here. The leather comes exclusively from European cows and the tanneries such as the Heinen leather factory in Rhineland focus on ecologically optimized production.
Settele: “Sustainability at Hanwag is a main priority. That applies for the manufacturing, which happens exclusively in Europe, as well as for the traditional production methods and the long life of the shoes.”