Our History



HANs WAGner was born in 1896 in Jetzendorf, Bavaria. He founded the company and lent it his name. Just like his father and grandfather before him he’d learnt shoemaking as a trade. His two brothers Alfred and Lorenz Wagner became shoemakers and just like Hans founded their own companies: Hochland and Lowa.


In Munich Hans Wagner learnt the art of double stitching. Today only a few shoemakers master this technique, but at HANWAG it’s one that’s carefully upheld.


Hans Wagner became self-employed and opened his own workshop in Vierkirchen - where HANWAG still has its headquarters today. He produced made-to-measure footwear and carried out repairs there. To boost his income he had to visit neighbouring farms and repair old shoes in return for food or a day's wage.


A local dealer heard about the quality of Hans Wagner’s double-stitched shoes and takes over selling them. Business was so successful that Hans Wagner took on four apprentices and built his first house.


Demand continued. Wagner extended the workshop and employed seamstresses.


Hans Wagner produced his first leather ski boots for the Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. At this juncture Hans also employed his nephew Josef Wagner. Josef trained to be a shoemaker and took over the company at a later date.


Hans Wagner wanted to give his company a proper name and after some deliberation settled on ‘Hawa’.


For legal reasons (a textile company with the same name already existed) Josef Wagner had to rename the company and simply changed it to HANWAG.


HANWAG showcased its products for the first time at a sports equipment trade show in Wiesbaden which was later to become ISPO. Josef Wagner met Klaus Obermeyer there who had emigrated to the US and worked in the skiing business.  In the following years, HANWAG became the exclusive supplier of boots for Obermeyer. Countless thousands of pairs per year were sold in North America under the ‘Garmisch’ brand name.


HANWAG launches the ‘Haute Route’, the first special alpine touring ski boot.


By harnessing the expertise of German rock climbing legend Sepp Gschwendtner, HANWAG was one of the first manufacturers to produce light climbing boots. The outdoor trend kicked off in the 1980s. People were drawn to the great outdoors whether it was hiking, trekking, backpacking or mountaineering, right on their backdoor or at the end of the world. HANWAG focused on this market and discontinued production of skiing boots.


HANWAG launched the first special boots for paragliders, again with the support of Gschwendtner-Sepp. Until today HANWAG is global market leader in this segment.


HANWAG produced the ‘Alaska GTX’, a leather trekking boot with GORE-TEX® lining. It’s still a bestseller today and its design is virtually unchanged. German magazine OUTDOOR described our Alaska footwear as a classic trekking boot.


Lacking an heir in the family, Sepp Wagner sold his company to Fenix Outdoor AB from Sweden (which also owns the Fjällräven, Primus, Brunton and Tierra brands). The purchase agreement included a clause that the Vierkirchen headquarters were to remain and all jobs there were to be safeguarded.


Fenix Outdoor built new warehouses, admin and production facilities in Vierkirchen. Today all alpine boots and sophisticated crafted footwear is made in Vierkirchen. Today, along with partners HANWAG has further exclusive production facilities in Croatia, Hungary and Rumania which supply the same high quality as Vierkirchen.


Since 2009 HANWAG has fitted all its special winter footwear with the innovative and specially developed IceGrip sole. Finely ground splinters of glass which are added to the rubber sole offer seven times more grip on ice and slippery surfaces than conventional rubber blends.


HANWAG celebrated its 90th anniversary and its slogan was “90 Years of Alpine Experience”. As a thank you to its customers and in conjunction with the German Alpine Club (DAV) HANWAG donated a new bivouac shelter for Jubiläumsgrat a route between Zugspitze and Alpspitze.


As the first German manufacturer of trekking boots, HANWAG offered Real Custom Made footwear. By applying state-of-the-art scanning technology a custom-made last is created for each foot to make the made-to-measure shoe. Our custom-made shoes are only produced by experts in Germany and underscore our role as a specialist in terms of fit.


As the first manufacturer of alpine and trekking footwear, the Bavarian shoemaker uses Bio Leather as uppers. Leather tanned with vegetable tanning agents are used for the lining of the three new BIO models. It is chrome-free and therefore anti-allergic.  


To enable pain-free hiking for people with bunions, HANWAG launched the first model with a specially developed bunion last in 2013. HANWAG now offers three bunion models with further in the pipeline.


HANWAG worldwide: In conjunction with subsidiary Fjällräven, the Bavarian shoemaker opened an Epic Store in Soho, New York, with one opening shortly afterwards in Amsterdam.