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. 


Werbung für den Sioux Autopad Slipper 1957

1957

“Autoped”. A lightweight, close-fitting slip-on with a non-slip grooved sole specially designed for driving revolutionises the footwear market. Sioux launches its first driving shoe. Today, this type of shoe is well established on the market. Famous wearers: the “Racing Baron” Huschke von Hanstein and British Formula 1 driver Stirling Moss.  

Sioux Intarsia Erfindung 1958

1958

The non-slip nubs conquer the shopping boulevards: Sioux “Intarsia”, the elegant urban moccasin. Sioux is the first company to manufacture a perforated leather sole with rubber nubs – a German invention, and not an Italian one, as many people think.

Erster Sioux Mokassin Grashopper mit der Original Natur-Crêpe-Sohle von 1964

1964

A new lifestyle. Grashopper is a natural moccasin – a shoe offering complete freedom of movement for the toes – heralding the birth of casualwear for the feet. The “Grashopper” model becomes Sioux’s most successful model ever and a true style icon.

Sioux Gründer Peter Sapper und die Familie Clarks bei der Lizenzübergabe des Grashoppers 1967

1967

The British shoe manufacturer “Clarks” acquires the licence from Sioux for the “Grashopper” and sells it as its own brand. The Sioux licence agreement with Clarks ends in 1996.

Olympia Plakat 1972 mit Sioux als Ausrüster der Olympioniken

1972

Sioux becomes "Official Supplier to the German Olympic Team" – and remains so till the Olympic Games of Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

 

Karin und Peter Sapper von dem deutschen Schuhhersteller Sioux 1981

1981

After the death of the company’s founder Peter Sapper, his wife Karin takes over management of the firm.

Logo der Herrenschuh Marke Apollo von Sioux 1998

1998

The men’s footwear brand „Apollo", featuring classics made in the very best craftsmanship tradition, becomes a fixed part of the Sioux range.

Sioux Produktion im portugiesischen Lousada 1999

1999

Production expands to Lousada in Portugal. The Sioux manufacture creates the finest footwear focusing on passion to detail – the basis for the unique quality of Sioux shoes.

Sioux Firmenplakat zum 50-jährigen Jubiläum des deutschen Schuhherstellers 2004

2004

Sioux celebrates its 50th anniversary with an exhibition of the company’s history. The poster features the “Fantastically elastic Sioux Indian" the company’s long-term mascot.  

Jubiläumsvarianten des Sioux Mokassins Grashopper 2014

2014

The German shoe manufacturer Sioux turns 60. The two cult models, the Grashopper and Autoped, appear in new anniversary editions to tie in with the milestone birthday.

Sioux Motto "Feel the indian Spirit" zum neuen Markenauftritt 2016

2016

The new “Feel the Indian Spirit” campaign is born. The brand appearance combines tradition with craftsmanship, freedom and a sense of belonging with the latest fashion topics.

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

„You have to reach out to people’s hearts and minds.“ Lewin Berner, CEO at Sioux

Olympia

 

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.