Our global headquarters are located in a small mountain village in the southwest part of Germany. Since the company’s humble beginnings in 1886, Hauenstein has remained the home of the multi-generation family owned brand.
The ground floor of our headquarters, is a fully functioning shoe factory. Albeit small on a global scale, it serves more than just our shoe production team. It's open for visitors!
Gläserne Schuhfabrik factory floor.
Back in the 1990s, the team at Josef Seibel created the Gläserne Schuhfabrik, or 'transparent shoe factory.' With walls of glass, the concept was simple, 'transparency in conveying the value of our traditional craftsmanship."
But it wasn't just fishbowl viewing experience. A passing tourist or local could pop into the small working shoe factory for a tour. A tour guide would walk one through all phases of producing a pair of shoes. Up close and personal, one could chat with a traditional hand-sewer or sift through a closet of leathers and hides. And during certain times, visitors could select a style of shoes to be custom made, right in front their eyes. But keep in mind, it takes about 8-hours to make a pair of shoes.
Gläserne Schuhfabrik leather hides.
Making one pair, step-by-step can become tedious to observe. So, just on the other side of the courtyard, is the Factory Cafe. A full service restaurant serving regional German fare along with a pints of local beer & wine. Catch it at the right time, you can mix it up with locals & cheer on the local soccer teams.
Courtyard at the Gläserne Schuhfabrik.
Plus, charming Hauenstein is surrounded by hiking trails and medieval castles. Known for shoe shopping, there are loads of shops from all the popular European shoe brands. There's even a German Shoe Museum where you can learn all about the history of German shoe making.
A NEW ERA
Shoe making has come a long way in the last 25 years. A lot of technical innovations have allowed for more designs with less compromise. The Gläserne Schuhfabrik is due for an update. Currently under renovation and set to open Summer 2021. State of the art & modern equipment being used alongside traditional techniques will be a very cool shoe experience.
And of course, you'll still be able to have a custom pair of shoes made!
Gläserne Schuhfabrik under renovation.