LOWA History

Tradition & Innovation Since 1923

Since 1923, LOWA has earned a reputation for crafting premium outdoor boots and shoes that blend outstanding quality and fit through innovative design and proprietary technology.



A Bavarian cobbler named Lorenz Wagner founds LOWA and begins making heavy work brogues for his neighbors in the small village of Jetzendorf. He and his brothers help support the company with their side business, the Wagner Orchestra.



LOWA outgrows its original cobbler’s shop and opens its first factory. The groundwork is laid for success as they develop Alpine boots for the mountain infantry as well as with lace-up ski boots. Sepp Lederer begins in the company as an apprentice.



Lorenz becomes Jetzendorf’s first mayor but is later replaced because of his lack of loyalty to the Third Reich. During the ensuing war, the factory is forced to make footwear for the military, especially for the mountain infantry.



LOWA resumes consumer footwear manufacturing and invests heavily in new machinery and personnel. Production booms in mountain boots, ski boots and street shoes.



The first post-WWII recession forces LOWA to declare bankruptcy. Lorenz Wagner passes away.



Lorenz’s daughter Berti and her husband Sepp Lederer step in and rescue the company. Throughout the rest of the decade, LOWA expands its offerings and begins sponsoring mountain expeditions.



Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Everest, does so in a pair of LOWA mountaineering boots.



LOWA becomes the official gear sponsor of the German ski team.




LOWA pioneers breakthrough manufacturing processes such as PU injection molding and product innovations such as the first vulcanized rubber soles.



In its 50th year, LOWA shocks the ski boot world with the “Air” model, which uses an air-cushioned inner boot. This completely changes the way ski boots fit, and LOWA jumps to #1.



LOWA introduces the Trekker, which sets a new standard for hiking boot fit and performance.




Sepp Lederer hands over the corporate reins to his son Stefan.



Werner Riethmann steps in as company leader.



LOWA introduces light hiking boots, the forerunners of today’s ATC category.



The first Renegade GTX Mid is produced, a model that is still one of the world’s best-selling outdoor boots.



LOWA reaches a huge milestone, selling 1 million pairs of boots in a year. Davo Karnicar, wearing LOWA Struktura AT boots, becomes the first man to complete an uninterrupted ski descent of Everest.



LOWA athlete Ines Papert wins the first of her four World Ice Climbing Championships.



LOWA marks its 80th anniversary. The company has become the largest employer in the Jetzendorf area, with over 250 employees at its headquarters.



LOWA is awarded prestigious ISO 9001:2008 status for highest quality manufacturing processes and is audited every year thereafter to maintain this status.




LOWA passes its next milestone, selling over 2 million pairs in one year.



LOWA athlete Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner summits K2 and becomes the first woman to summit all 14 eight-thousanders without supplemental oxygen or high-altitude porters.



LOWA USA opens consumer demo centers at the Sierra Club’s Clair Tappaan Lodge (CA) and at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Joe Dodge Lodge (NH).



LOWA marks its 90th anniversary with Bergfest, a mountain festival in Bavaria.



The company parking lot in Jetzendorf is roofed-over with a large-scale photovoltaic system, which supplies approximately 16% of the company’s annual power. The remaining power demand is fueled by 100% green hydropower.



Werner Riethmann marks 25 years at the helm of LOWA Sportschuhe.



The best-selling Renegade GTX Mid turns 20 and is named to Backpacker Magazine’s Hall of Fame.



Alexander Nicolai, who had been Head of Design and Development since 2014, joins Werner Riethmann as co-CEO of LOWA Sportschuhe GmbH.

LOWA reaffirms its commitment to European manufacturing when it acquires Riko Sport S.r. l., an Italian shoe production company. Riko Sport is now a wholly owned subsidiary of LOWA Sportschuhe GmbH.



LOWA is the market leader in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, producing close to three million pairs of shoes a year.