The LOWA Story

For 90+ years, LOWA BOOTS have been acclaimed as the finest outdoor boots in the world by climbers, mountaineers, hikers, the media and certified quality testers. Our attention to every detail in design and European manufacturing has earned our reputation for building the world's most comfortable and durable boots since 1923.

Perfect footwear for any terrain

Anyone who is outdoors and travelling around the world is continuously confronted with constantly changing conditions and demands. Trekking, mountain and outdoor footwear is thus more than just a nice companion. Appropriate footwear is in first order a guarantee of optimum comfort and adds that certain extra measure of safety.

Absolute precision in development and construction as well as the use of high-quality materials are for us not only a requirement, but also a decisive factor. As too is a high degree of surefootedness, reliability and the best-possible performance. On any terrain and in any weather. For this reason, LOWA makes a variety of models that are specifically designed for the particular demands of each use – be that a long walk in the park or a masterly feat in extreme conditions.

Absolute precision in development and construction as well as the use of high-quality materials are for us not only a requirement, but also a decisive factor. As too is a high degree of surefootedness, reliability and the best-possible performance. On any terrain and in any weather. For this reason, LOWA makes a variety of models that are specifically designed for the particular demands of each use – be that a long walk in the park or a masterly feat in extreme conditions.

We aren't satisfied with second best. For that reason we offer our customers only the highest quality, from materials to finished footwear. The guiding values for the high-quality of our products are the high expectations we place on ourselves and our service.

The diligence of our talented employees and their never-wavering standards to construct the perfect footwear accompanies every phase of product development. Our service regarding every aspect of the footwear takes into account this standard.

The history of a company steeped in tradition

LOWA will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2023. Let’s look back at the many decisive phases and the history of the outdoor shoe specialist.

history image
history
1923 – 1931

THE ERA OF LORENZ WAGNER

Lorenz Wagner, a passionate shoemaker, established the LOWA company in 1923 in the Bavarian town of Jetzendorf, just north of Munich.

The company’s name comes from the first two letters of the name and surname, LOrenz WAgner.

The story began with the production of traditional Bavarian Haferl shoes, and has evolved over the years into a highly respected global brand.  

history
1923 – 1931

Passion leads to perfection

To Lorenz, a product was not finished until it fit and functioned perfectly. He used the very best leather that the region had to offer and constructed stable uppers and soles.

TThe result was durable and timeless high-quality shoes.

Operations expanded in 1930 and 1931 with purpose-built factory buildings, and LOWA expanded into Alpine boots for mountain infantry, as well as lace-up ski boots. 

history
1929 – 1953

Hard times

During the 30s and 40s, the Great Depression and World War II led to far-reaching global economic troubles.

Lorenz Wagner still managed to navigate his company through the difficult times, but the impact of the Korea crisis severely shook the business in 1949 and 1950.  

history
1929 – 1953

Hard times

As a result of the Korean war, the price of material jumped by up to 50 percent, while increasing product prices stifled consumer demand.

When prices suddenly fell as the company was still trying to pay off older bills, the company became insolvent virtually overnight.

When Lorenz Wagner died in 1953, LOWA hit the lowest point of its nearly 100 year history. 

history
1955 – 1968

The second generation

In 1955, Wagner’s daughter Berti and her husband, Josef “Sepp” Lederer, took over the company.

Sepp had joined the company in 1931 as an apprentice.

He expanded the product range step by step, in a reflection of his father-in-law’s very own philosophy. 

history
1955 – 1968

The second generation

LOWA provided equipment for the very first ascent of the 8,047m Broad Peak on 9 June 1957.

In the years that have passed, countless climbs in the Alps and expeditions to the most remote corners of the world have been added to the list of LOWA supported expeditions, allowing LOWA to innovate with new product developments. 

history
1970's

New technologies bring success

In 1970, Berti and Sepp began to invest in new plastic technology techniques, enabling more and more innovative products to be created.

Soon, one of the first polyurethane injection moulding machines was put into operation.

The ground-breaking innovation of vulcanised rubber soles was then introduced, combining 100% moisture protection, insulation from the cold and shape retention into one product. 

history
1970's

New technologies bring success

LOWA emerged as a successful maker of ski boots in the 1970s using an innovative air cushioning system providing optimal fit.

Then in 1982, the “Trekker” model went on sale and gave birth to the trekking boot.

Commercial success of both meant the company was able to put the tricky period behind it, and open 2 new production facilities.

history
1988 – 1996

Continuity and change

In 1988, management of the company was passed on to Berti and Sepp’s son Stefan Lederer, the grandson of Lorenz Wagner, who led the company in the third generation, before LOWA was acquired in 1993 by the Italian Tecnica Group, who still own the company today.

history
1988 – 1996

A shoe empire arises

A period of restructuring was to follow, processes were simplified, some production was relocated, and the decision was made to solely focus on hiking and mountaineering boots.

Jetzendorf remained as a key production location in Germany, and the base for the Management and Research & Development department.

At that point, 350,000 pairs a year were produced in Jetzendorf, and grew rapidly each year subsequently. 

history
1997 – 2004

The breakthrough

The mid-90s saw the introduction of an innovative range of light hiking walking boots, a game changer for the industry.

The heavy boots of the past could be moved on, as soles no longer need to be “cemented” on.

. Instead they were affixed to the upper as the PU was directly injected into the boot, creating a soft, comfortable, lightweight option. 

history
1997 – 2004

The breakthrough

From this range, the Renegade model soon became a best seller, and is still going strong 25 years later (with a few enhancements along the way), coming in a number of different colours and fits.

The light­weight jack-of-all-trades is the biggest-selling outdoor boot in Europe, with over 12 million pairs sold.

history
1997 – 2004

The breakthrough

These new, lighter weight boots ideally suited to shorter day hikes, coupled with LOWA highest “Made in Europe” quality, saw LOWA grow significantly, with sales of 600,000 pairs in 1998, rising to just over 1 million pairs in a year for the first time in 2000. 

history
2005 – Today

Global success

LOWA has continued its growth through to today, as the brand is not just a favourite in Europe but all over the world. 2010 saw sales top 2 million pairs in a year for the first time.

LOWA is committed to its high quality, Made in Europe philosophy, and as commitment to that acquired its long-time production partners in Italy and Slovakia in July 2019.

Today, more than 90% of LOWA’s footwear is produced in its own factories, and 100% of products are Made in Europe.