Loved by 5 generations
Nokian Footwear: hand-made rubber boots, since 1898.
At the end of the 19th century, the climate in Finland was just like it is today: cold and damp. A group of businessmen established Suomen Gummitehdas Oy (Finnish Rubber Works Ltd) in Helsinki, with the plan to produce high quality rubber footwear that would meet the specific requirements of the northern weather conditions. Finns loved the rubber boots and the factory was moved from Helsinki to Nokia. The company started to use the short and simple name Nokia in all its marketing.
Special footwear and classic boots
As the years went by, Finland underwent industrialisation, developed, and became more international. After the war, people wanted quality special footwear and boots for leisure activities. Slowly, our range began to expand and diversify further from the traditional rubber boot, which was succeeded by other leisure footwear, such as ski, bowling, and disco shoes. The iconic Hai boot was designed for sailing in the 1960’s. Over the years, Hai grew into one of the most popular models – representing a colourful line of boots. In 1973, (another) all-time classic rubber boot, Kontio, was launched. This full-length boot for men soon became the undisputed king of rubber boots, another masterpiece of Finnish footwear design.
Winds of change
The Finnish footwear industry could not compete against inexpensive imported products. With the coming of the 1990s, the company decided to streamline its product range and focus on its core expertise: the manufacture of quality rubber boots. Nokian Tyres left to form its own company in 1988, and two years later the company Nokian Footwear Ltd was founded. The parent company Nokia, on the other hand, embarked on its domination of the telecommunications market.
By the turn of the millennium, rubber footwear had been made in Finland for more than a century. The costly handmade production forced Nokian Footwear Ltd to seek production facilities outside Finland. Two ISO-certified, highly experienced European boot manufacturers specialized in manufacturing Nokian Footwear, and whole assembly lines were transferred from Finland to Serbia and Slovakia. Since the beginning of 2007, all Nokian Footwear production has taken place outside Finland. Today, our high-quality rubber boots are developed and designed in Finland and handmade by our international partners - always honouring our 100 years of experience in rubber footwear.
A world citizen
In 2005, the Finnish family firm Berner Ltd bought Nokian Footwear. Throughout the history of Nokian Footwear, its design and R&D operations, rubber recipes, and tools have been in strictly domestic hands. Marketing, sales, and logistics are also handled by Finnish experts. Seamless co-operation between Finnish footwear specialists in our R&D and the world’s best rubber boot manufacturers has resulted in highly innovative footwear. The more technical boots for professional use, outdoor footwear, kids’ boots, and the beloved all-time classics are now accompanied by a collection of trendy boots for urban dwellers. Today, our rubber boots are exported to 15 countries around the world.