After our selection of Italian hiking boots and shoes that we published a few months ago, today we will continue with another similar article.
We have picked 8 of the best brands from Germany that design great boots for hiking, trekking, mountaineering and other outdoor activities.
Hiking is one of our favorite physical activities, but it puts a lot of stress to the feet. Hence, the need for a good pair of shoes.
And Germany is among the first places in the list of countries with an old tradition of footwear production, along with Italy.
We will look at the history of these brands, their most popular designs, their materials and manufacturing techniques.
So, let’s begin!
Lowa was born in 1923 in Jetzendorf, a Bavarian town north of Munich, by Lorenz Wagner. Raised in a family of craftsmen, for Lorenz every shoe had to be perfect.
The raw materials were chosen from the best providers in the region, creating shoes of excellent quality that lasted for years.
The shoes were initially made by hand until the 1930s when the first factory was born and the company expanded.
During the 1930s and the 1940s, Lowa went through some difficult years.
In 1955 the company was taken over by Wagner’s daughter, Berti, and by her husband, Sepp Lederer, who gradually managed to expand the range of products.
The brand provided the equipment of the expedition of the Karakorum in 1957, and from that moment it sponsored many professional athletes.
In the 1970s Lowa established itself as a manufacturer of ski boots, finding a great success.
In the 1980s it was the turn of the Trekker model, which launched Lowa into the hiking shoes industry.
After 30 years Berti and Sepp left the company to their son Stefan who continued on the same tradition of success.
At the beginning of the 90s, the company focused on the production of hiking and mountaineering shoes and boots, while also internationalizing the brand.
The first Renegade model was born, a multifunctional shoe that today is available in many different versions. It is one of the best-selling outdoor shoes in Europe, a light and innovative design.
For almost 100 years, Lowa has produced millions of boots and shoes and exported to 75 countries.
Today Lowa offers hiking, climbing, all-terrain and everyday shoes for men, women and children, as well as accessories such as socks.
The brand’s shoes have an optimal fit, giving maximum comfort even on longer hikes, and many of them are also cramponable.
Among their numerous hiking models, we can mention the Trekker shoe, the first in the hiking sector, created for the most demanding trails and long hikes, thanks to the Vibram sole and the leather lining.
Lowa has a wide range of hiking shoes in their products line, which are waterproof, many of them with Gore-Tex lining and cushioned soles.
Hanwag was also founded in Bavaria in 1921 by Hans Wagner, brother of Lorenz, the founder of Lowa which we saw above.
Hanwag designs and produces hiking and mountaineering shoes by following the old tradition, creating resistant and innovative shoes.
Read next: Hanwag vs Meindl Boots: A Comparison
The brand focuses on robustness and on the quality of the materials, while also using their old technique of double-stitching.
This technique makes each Hanwag boot last for a very long time. In fact, the fundamental values of the company are: design, reliability, durability and innovation, while being environmentally responsible at the same time.
Hanwag is very careful to use resources efficiently and responsibly, reducing transport to a minimum and working with materials that respect the environment.
In their products collection you will find mountaineering, trekking, travel and outdoor shoes, along with accessories such as laces, socks and shoe care products.
Another company based in Bavaria, in the municipality of Kirchanschöring, the history of Meindl begins in 1683 when the shoemaker Petrus Meindl started working on his first shoe models.
The Meindl company as we know it today, was founded in 1928, many generations later by Lukas Meindl.
Over the years, the brand specialized more and more in climbing and walking boots, it expanded and in the 1970s, it became an important name in the outdoor footwear industry.
Meindl sponsored Hubert Hillmayer’s climb to the Everest in 1978.
In addition, their Desert Fox combat boots are used by the British Military in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Meindl shoes are made of selected materials and fine leathers, resulting in high quality products that last for a long time.
Their collection offers trekking and mountaineering shoes for both men and women, with great support and good breathability thanks to the Gore-Tex membrane.
4. Jack Wolfskin
Jack Wolfskin was founded in 1981 in Frankfurt by Ulrich Dausien, and is currently based in Idstein, Germany. With over 700 stores worldwide, it is a company that specializes in outdoor apparel, hiking and camping equipment.
The brand focuses in innovation and combines functionality, design and durability to create products that fully meet customers’ needs.
Jack Wolfskin makes clothing for men, women and children, and of course trekking and hiking shoes for trips on demanding terrains.
Jack Wolfskin shoes offer comfort and resistance thanks to the use of robust and quality materials which are carefully selected to also improve safety on difficult terrains.
The trekking shoes of this brand are made of waterproof materials and reinforcements on the heel and toes, to avoid the impact of stones and rocks.
These compact shoes are reliable and absorb the shock of different types of terrain.
The external part has outsoles that prevent slipping on wet and smooth surfaces, and lacing with metal eyelets to give additional support.
Although waterproof, they are breathable at the same time, thanks to the use of the TEXAPORE O2+ membrane.
Birkenstock is a footwear company founded in 1774 and based in Neustadt, Germany.
The Birkenstocks are famous all over the world for the cork shape and the rubber sole that adapts to the foot.
Although famous for their sandals, Birkenstock also produces sneakers, boots, and accessories for men, women and children with quality fabrics. The products are made with sustainable processes and a great attention to tolerance on the skin.
The company is known for the original footbed with a structure that was inspired by the shape of the foot in the sand. This makes their shoes comfortable to wear for many hours ensuring the health of the foot.
Adidas‘ history begins in 1924 in Herzogenaurach, Germany, and was started by two brothers, Adolf and Rudolf Dassler, Bavarian shoemakers.
The brand as we know it today was founded in 1949 when took the name “Adidas”, and produces footwear and sportswear.
The company became immediately successful when it sponsored Jesse Owens during the 1936 Olympics.
In 1947 the two brothers split and Rudolf founded his company, Ruda, which later in 1948 changed its name to “Puma”.
Adidas is currently the supplier of soccer balls for the FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championship and Africa Cup of Nations, and is also the sponsor of many football teams.
Adidas is famous all over the world and employs nearly 60,000 employees.
Among the various products, it offers a wide range of trekking shoes of different types: high, mid and low trekking shoes.
All flexible and extremely comfortable, many of them are made with sustainable materials: recycled polyester / nylon / rubber, EVA foam derived from algae, Tencel, water based polyurethane and recycled thermoplastic polyurethane.
Puma is another popular company founded in 1948 by Rudolf Dassler, brother of the founder of Adidas, a leader in the production of sports clothing and shoes.
Today Puma has nearly 7000 employees and markets its products in more than 80 countries. The company has sponsored the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the Italy national football team, as well as many other teams.
As for hiking shoes, Puma creates high quality products by combining functionality with design, ideal for mountain walks both on beaten ground and on impervious paths.
They offer padded shoes with non-slip soles, comfortable upper and protection for the ankle.
Bogner is a company that has been founded in 1932 in Munich by the skier Willy Bogner that produces sportswear and sunglasses.
Bogner produces clothing, accessories, sports shoes, sandals and trekking boots with a leather upper, sheep’s wool interior and a high-quality synthetic sole.
For a good hike it is very important to choose the right shoes. There are different types of hiking shoes and boots on the market, and the choice varies depending on size, type of terrain and personal preference.
There are three categories of hiking shoes: low cut, mid cut and high cut.
Low-cut hiking shoes are light, comfortable, softer than boots, and have a flexible and cushioned sole. They are ideal for those who hike mostly in the summer without large differences in terrain elevation.
Excellent for those who take long walks, you can choose a pair with Gore-Tex membrane if you want them to be waterproof.
Mid-cut shoes are as light as the low-cut ones, but they provide greater protection to the ankles.
The high-cut hiking boots are protective with a stiffer sole and upper. Many of them use Gore-Tex lining to protect against bad weather, so you can wear them in winter or summer for the most demanding trails.
Also make sure that there is a difference of about 1cm between your longer toe and the front part of the shoe, so you will not have problems during descents.
The 8 German brands that we saw above offer a wide range of boots and shoes with these characteristics, and we are sure you will find the right model among their collections.
Do you know any other similar brand that you’d like to suggest? Let us know in the comments below.