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Making high-quality footwear for hiking, trekking and mountaineering have a truly exceptional tradition at Meindl. The company, located in Upper Bavaria, Germany is still run by members of the Meindl family, who are the 9th generation of the family to produce master shoemakers in uninterrupted succession and have thus cultivated this craft in the Chiemgau for a good 300 years! So the current slogan “Meindl – Shoes For Actives – Tradition made in Bavaria” is no accident.
The company’s own quality standards are correspondingly high: “Where Meindl is on it, Meindl should be in it. This is the standard for every pair of shoes that is sent to dealers all over the world, whether it be double-sewn half-shoe, modern, crampon-compatible high-end mountain boots or light multisport shoes. Production is mainly in Europe, selected models even still in Bavaria, where the central warehouse and administration are also located.
Outstanding Meindl Quality
The first Meindl shoes for everyday work and not long after, mountaineering were right from the start, reliable, robust, comfortable and durable. Requirements which are still valid today. In the past, these qualities could only be achieved by the double stitching of leather shoes, a traditional manufacturing technique which is still used in the brand’s HQ today. Meindl trains its employees for the necessary craftsmanship, promotes continuity and sustainable employment at the location not far from Lake Waginger See – after all, a good 200 employees are employed here, some of them for many years.
Still using manual craftmanship
Meindl mountain boots have long been made using the fully re-soled, pinched design. A mountain boot with approx. 200 parts per shoe are manufactured in just as many production steps and despite machine support, Meindl still uses a high proportion of manual labour.
A leather shoe produced in this way is extremely durable with little maintenance and can often be restored by the manufacturer to a nearly new condition through repair with new soling, even after years of intensive use. Only super-light outdoor sneakers, children’s shoes and, more recently, minimalist barefoot shoes with flexible soles are produced in stubbled design with injected soles and cannot be resoled. Careful product development and critical quality control through in-house testing and a test team of professional mountain guides ensure a high level of quality.
Sustainability at Meindl
The fact that Meindl management is committed to the topic of sustainability can be seen not only in the value and durability of the products but also in the concrete efforts to ensure resource-saving processing. For example, the complete heat supply of the Kirchanschöring site has been converted to regional fuels using wood chips. The Meindl Identity® product line (see below) focuses on short transport routes and absolute transparency regarding the regional origin of the materials used.
Hiking and mountain footwear categories according to Meindl
Mit der von vielen Herstellern und Händlern im deutschsprachigen Raum in zum Teil etwas abgewandelter Form* übernommenen Bergschuh-Einteilung wird seit 1976 definiert, welcher Schuh für welchen Einsatzbereich am besten geeignet ist – ein Meindl Erfolgskonzept:
- A – “Light walking”, for good paths, parks, everyday life (leisure, everyday life, travel, walking)
- A/B – “Hiking in high alpine pasture regions”, for good and less good paths, hut paths (easy hikes in the lowlands, low mountain ranges or in the foothills of the Alps)
- B – “Trekking in easy, alpine terrain”, also on bad paths and climbs (demanding hikes in low mountain ranges, easy trekking tours in the mountains of the world)
- B/C – “Ambitious trekking”, also on bad paths and trails, conditionally crampons (basket crampons), scree, via Ferrata routes (demanding trekking, hard hikes, up to high altitudes).
- C – “Alpine trekking”, glaciers, crampon-needed regions (combination crampons), difficult trails, also without trails, scree, via Ferrata routes (tours in high alpine regions), on glaciers, hardest trekking tours
- D – “Ultimate high mountain shoe”, pathless, glacier, extreme ice tours, ice climbing, fully crampon-proof (automatic crampons)
Development of modern technologies
An important reason for Meindl’s continuing success, apart from the absolutely solid, sustainable quality, is the constant development of new technologies. With the aim of realising ever better product characteristics and thus meeting the growing demands on outdoor and mountain sports shoes, trend-setting, independent concepts have been developed over the course of time, with which several models, some of them clearly stand out from the competition.
The first shoe with Gore-Tex® lining for optimum protection against moisture was developed as early as 1982. Naturally, the outstanding rubber outsoles from Vibram® can also be found on numerous Meindl classics. A few examples of optimisations in terms of fit, breathability, wearing comfort, stability, protection or sustainability are listed below:
- Air Revolution®: Concept for improved ventilation through increased air circulation along a particularly breathable flap with 3D mesh, extended beyond the edge of the shaft
- Comfort-fit®: Very comfortable fit with a wide forefoot zone, which is manufactured using a special last in combination with a special footbed.
- MFS System: Padding with an adaptable memory foam insert in the upper area to eliminate pressure points in the shoe
- MFS Vakuum®: optimised, adaptable padding concept for mountain boots with a more stable upper. Memory foam inserts are found throughout the upper and on the insole.
- Meindl Identity®: Leather with proof of origin: For the marked models, the regional origin of the shoe leather used can be traced using an individual ID number on www.identity-leder.de.
- variofix® lacing system: Special drawstring tied to the lacing to optimise adjustment in the heel area for a stable, non-slip fit.
- Fit System concept: the Meindl wide system with narrow, medium and wide fit
- Ergonomic-Fit/Heelcuff-Freeflex: Mountain boots/hiking boots with a tight-fitting upper are sufficiently flexible and fully protected thanks to elastic and soft materials.
- Alpine Sole: The angled shape of the crampon holder in the heel part allows for an optimal rolling movement when walking without crampons.
1718: Documentary mention of the first shoemaker in Kirchanschöring: Petrus Meindl
1918: Lukas M. Sen. lays the foundation stone for the brand
1949: There are 10 employees and Meindl is represented at the first trade fair in Munich.
1976: The Meindl mountain shoe categories (A, A/B, B, B/C, C, D) are developed by Alfons Meindl and are adopted by many manufacturers and dealers largely unchanged until today.
1982: First Meindl shoe with Gore-Tex® technology
1991: Foundation of an environmental committee for sustainable, responsible action in production and disposal
1995: Alfons Meindl is awarded the Federal Cross of Merit / the new production facility in Kirchanschöring is completed
1999: Meindl Island is the most popular trekking shoe among outdoor readers
2000 to 2006: Market launch of technologies: Air Revolution® (ISPO Innovation Award), MFS system / MFS® vacuum
2007: Award of the Bavarian State Medal for Services to the Environment and Health
2012: Identity® models with proof of origin of the upper leather / Air Revolution 2.3 becomes test winner in Alpin magazine.
2015: Readers of the Outdoor magazine vote Meindl as Best Brand of the Year. / Own logistics centre in Kirchanschöring supplies retailers worldwide.
2018: Conversion and expansion of administration building in Kirchanschöring
Meindl brand check
- Especially known for … robust and comfortable leather mountain boots
- Some classics are … Island MFS Active GTX / Island MFS Rock GTX, Jorasse GTX, Guffert GTX, Ortler (real double stitched)