The moccasin inventor in Germany Since 1954
The moccasin is one of the most authentic shoes in the world. The indigenous peoples of the Americas knew what was good for their feet – and moccasins have been the characteristic footwear of indigenous Americans for centuries. The Indian tribes were at one with nature and saw themselves as part of a much bigger picture. Their tribe was the smallest common unit, something that they were proud of and whose craftsmanship and traditions were integrated into everyday life and passed down through generations. From time immemorial, only natural materials were used.
When the Stuttgart-based shoemaker Peter Sapper bought a small shoe factory in Walheim, southern Germany, in 1954, he had one vision – to bring the moccasin to Germany. He was familiar with the Indian footwear through his ancestors, who had themselves been German exiles in Guatemala. The oldest type of footwear in history and Indian spirit were therefore the inspirations behind his work. With no separate heel, but soft leather that is almost unnoticeable on the feet, making for an exceptionally comfortable tread. Everything was based on 100% craftsmanship by hand. A simple sole made from natural crepe that is soft, flexible and very hard-wearing. Treading lightly became the typical moccasin feeling.
This is how Sioux brought moccasins to Germany – making quite a mark on the footwear market here. The rest is fashion history. Yet the moccasin remains more up to date than ever.
Facts & figures
- The Sioux tribe: around 300 employees
- Locations: Walheim, Germany and Lousada, Portugal
- Around 750,000 pairs per year
- 50 million since 1954 (10 million of which are the Grashopper model)
- 50% women’s shoes/50% men’s shoes
- Specialist retail partner
- Principal markets: Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux, Russia, Asia
- Managers: Lewin Berner, CEO at Sioux GmbH and Adnan Bilgi, Managing Director Production at Sioux Sourcing GmbH
The Olympic spirit has a very special tradition at Sioux: since the Winter Olympics in Sapporo in 1972 till the Games of Rio in 2016, we have been the official footwear supplier to the German Olympic team – and thus have attended all their official appearances. The German participants of the Paralympics and the Austrian Olympic team also wear our shoes.
Before the Olympians can travel to the Olympics in their Sioux shoes, around 18 months of preparation are necessary. The official outfit is governed by the strict rules of the IOC and DOSB (German Olympic Sports Confederation). After several rounds of negotiations, including meetings with athletes, other suppliers and representatives of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, a shoe design is selected for the Olympians’ uniform at the opening ceremony. As a result, millions of people see the German Olympics team marshing into the arena wearing Sioux shoes.
We are proud of sending athletes of all sizes into the arena wearing perfectly fitting footwear from Sioux. Whether it is the specially designed shoes for athletes with exceptionally large feet, such as basketball player Dirk Nowitzki, or the Olympic champion weightlifter, Matthias Steiner. The perfectly fitting shoes in size 37 also had such well-known brand ambassadors as gymnast Fabian Hambüchen or his colleague, the two-time silver medallist in London in 2012, Marcel Nguyen.