Focus on durability: LOWA resoling record 2019

Repair instead of discard

01.02.2020 | LOWA’s shoe repair shops at its home base in Jetzendorf, Germany, in Interlaken, Switzerland, and in St. Martin, Austria, are heavily used. More and more people are taking advantage of the services provided by the tradi­tional shoemaker and are having their LOWA footwear repaired by the company. In 2019, LOWA resoled more shoes than ever before – an absolute record and a sign that the commitment to sustain­ability made by the Jetzendorf-based company is paying off.

“We did exactly 16,079 resoling jobs during 2019 in Jetzendorf, ” said Arthur Kudelka, the company’s service director who keeps track of LOWA’s service work. “2019 was a truly record year in terms of repairs and, in particular, the resoling of our cemented shoes, ” said the enthu­siastic moun­taineer, who has seen these LOWA services become increasingly popular with retailers and end customers.

“The shoes that we resole can continue to be used for many years to come. We actually do more than simply put new soles on these high-quality shoes. We also give them a general recon­di­tioning. We continue to get more and more mail from our enthu­siastic customers.”

The figures of the LOWA shoe repair shops speak for them­selves: The number of resoling jobs that were the main purpose of the service request rose from 10,411 in 2014 to 16,079 in 2019. Other jobs include heel replacement, an option that has been available for several years for long-time hits like the multi­func­tional RENEGADE. This type of repair is also being increasingly done. In 2019, a total of 1,551 heel replacements were performed.

“With our repair service, we are responding to more and more customers’ desire for durable and, thus, sustainable products, ” Kudelka said. In Jetzendorf, 18 employees work in LOWA’s shoe repair shop. Repair work is also a major priority in Switzerland and Austria. The numbers rose here as well. After resoling, the most requested repair jobs involve stitch repairs and hook replacement. These jobs are followed by replacement of heel linings and the installation of new trim. All such jobs are the result of natural wear and tear caused by intense use. “We receive complaints about less than 1 percent, ” Kudelka said. “The figure is less than 0.01 percent for many models.”

Consumers can drop off their footwear at their local retailer or send it directly to LOWA. Repair work like resoling or the replacement of heels and hooks is billed by LOWA. A price list provides trans­parency. LOWA does not turn a profit with the service. The Jetzendorf-based shoemaker is primarily interested in bringing its commitment to service and sustain­ability to life. Customers are really happy about the service as well. After the repair work is finished, they regain a quality product that is completely ready for use once again. Many people consider broken-in shoes to be something much more than simple gear. Their moun­tain­eering and trekking boots awaken many great memories and unfor­gettable emotional moments.

One other thing is true as well: You want repairs to be done only to those things that you consider to be worth repairing. This is partic­ularly the case in today’s throw-away society. With its intensively-used repair service, LOWA has clearly shown how sustain­ability can be practised in real life.