Heschung Footwear 12th July 2016
We are proud to stock Heschung, a French manufacturer of quality shoes and boots based in Steinbourg, Alsace, to our wide range of offerings...
We are proud to stock Heschung, a French manufacturer of quality shoes and boots based in Steinbourg, Alsace, near the French border with Germany. As with our own company and many of our suppliers, the story of Heschung is a family one.
The original factory was founded by Eugène Heschung in 1934 in northern Alsace. This rural area has, alongside neighbouring Lorraine, passed between France and Germany several times prior to (and twice following) the factory’s founding in the area. The character of the area is thus a mixture of French and German, with the local Alsatian language being similar to Swiss German, but with many locals speaking mainly, or even exclusively, French. Germanic surnames are common in the area, but signs of French culture such as cravats and the outdoor sipping of strong coffee are also evident.
The frontier nature of the area is evidenced by numerous castles and fortifications, as the holder of the area at the time, either France, a German state, or Germany itself, sought to keep the other side out.
Heschung was the first manufacturer to create working boots with authentic ‘Norwegian’ reverse-welted and machine-welted Goodyear stitching (and, in fact, these two core techniques are still used to this day by the company).
Following the obvious disruption of the Second World War, the company began to prosper. Between 1950 and 1967 the company produced ski boots for nearby ski ranges, popular in the area, but it was from 1968 to 1972 that the company acquired a number of technical experts with a view to manufacturing high-quality boots specifically for use in professional ski competitions.
Following this wise move, the brand was appointed as the supplier to the French ski team, which won nine medals in the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, closely-followed by another eight medals at the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan.
However, following these triumphs, technology moved onward toward plastics and this pushed the company away from ski boots. Nonetheless, ski boots remain a key and cherished part of the company’s history.
In the 1990s the founder’s grandson took over the reins of the company and launched a men’s and women’s collection.
Heschung has been granted the French state’s ‘Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant’ (‘Living Heritage Company’) award in recognition of its status as an exceptional French manufacturer. This award is only granted to the élite of French manufacturers, recognising that the company possesses a high-level of traditional and technical know-how. The company’s model of operation is one whereby the older, wiser and more experienced employees guide the direction of the younger creative team, thus blending the benefit of older and wiser heads with the energy and creativity of youth, whilst simultaneously achieving a balance between tradition and modernity.
The company is keen to keep production in Alsace, but this is proving to be somewhat difficult as the shoemaking tradition has almost disappeared from the area. Nonetheless, the company still uses fine French leathers in its construction techniques, and is lucky to have two tanneries in the local Alsace area. In addition around a hundred partnerships, many dating back to its initial decades, still remain in effect and the company continues to scout for new partnerships and opportunities.
Heschung seems to be going from strength to strength, and we’re proud to be a UK stockist. You can browse our range HERE.
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