Foundation of LOWA by Lorenz Wagner
LOrenz WAgner founds LOWA in the Bavarian village of Jetzendorf near Munich, Germany. The story begins with the production of brogue oxfords. The high quality of the handwork in the Norwegian welt-stitched shoes - a manufacturing process that stemmed from the mountains - already required an expansion of the facility in the late 1920's.
The first manufacturing facility is built. The groundwork is laid for further success with Alpine boots for the mountain infantry as well as with lace-up ski boots. Sepp Lederer begins in the company as an apprentice.
During the Korean Conflict the cost of materials leaps by 50%, and leather becomes the object of speculation. Just to be able to continue production, LOWA has to purchase highly priced materials.
As prices fall and bills come due, the operation becomes insolvent overnight.
Lorenz Wagner passes away.
The second generation
The second generation steps forward: Wagner's daughter Berti and her husband Josep "Sepp" Lederer take over the company and expand the offerings step-by-step in the same direction as the founder.
The rapid introduction of man-made materials sends clear messages of innovation. One of the first polyurethane injection moulding systems is brought into the operation. On the product side comes the first vulcanised rubber soles - a groundbreaking innovation. They offer 100-percent protection from moisture, insulation from the cold, and maintain their shape despite bending and flexing.
LOWA continues to introduce innovations with its "Air" system, which provides for optimal fit thanks to its air-cushioning.
Success means the need for another expansion of the facility. Two new manufacturing areas are built.
The Trekker model is introduced and, with it, the "dawn" of the trekking boot.
Continuity and Change
Sepp Lederer hands over company management to his son, Stefan Lederer, who develops the LOWA Street Trekker, among other products.
Werner Riethmann steps in to head up management.
The Italian Tecnica group, which also owns the companies Dolomite, Nordica, Rollerblade and Blizzard acquires LOWA. The manufacturing of LOWA ski boots is transferred to the parent company in Italy.
Jetzendorf remains the home of manufacturing in Germany, the management headquarters, as well as the location of research and development. The manufacturing of Alpine boots and trekking boots continues in Jetzendorf.
Introduction of "Light" hiking boots, the forerunner of today's multi-functional line ATC.
Offices and warehouses are again expanded.
LOWA introduces the first RENEGADE boot. It remains one of the best-selling outdoor boots worldwide.
A huge goal is accomplished. Thanks to innovative products, the highest quality and made-in-Germany sales and production, LOWA for the first time sells 1 million pairs of boots and shoes in a year. LOWA is an established name at European footwear and sport specialty retail.
LOWA celebrates its 80th anniversary. The shoemaker steeped in tradition is by far the largest employer in its rural headquarters of Jetzendorf outside of Munich. The company holds solidly true to its commitment to German production as well as to its original headquarters where the company was founded 80 years earlier.
An Historic Event
Yet another long sought-after goal is reached: LOWA sells more than 2 million pairs of boots and shoes in a year. With that, the company has written a new chapter in its impressive history of success and secures its position as an important partner globally to specialty retail.
LOWA is the market leader in the German-speaking countries as well as in the Benelux and continues to build its prominence in the important export markets of North America, Asia and Eastern Europe. Its strategy of producing nearly 100 percent of its products in Germany and Europe and to remain in its headquarters in Jetzendorf still proves itself a model of success. Customers appreciate the combination of tradition and innovation and value the funtion, quality and fit of LOWA footwear.