What’s the secret of a perfect fit?

2017 / June / 13 / Behind the Scenes /

inding the perfect fit is the most important criteria when choosing new footwear. This is something we live and breathe at Hanwag. When my colleagues in the marketing department asked me to blog about the secret of the Hanwag perfect fit, I had to chuckle. You see, there is no one, single secret behind it. Our footwear’s tried-and-tested fit is made possible by a whole number of individual factors that we work hard to combine perfectly together. Here’s a brief insight into how we do it what lies behind them…

Every shoe is based on a last. It’s the representation of the foot around which each shoe is made. Made from wood or plastic, a last looks a bit like an artificial foot. We make all our boots and shoes using special lasts designed for each category and distinct area of activity. And we have different lasts for our women’s and men’s models. This means that we use different lasts for “normal feet” for each of our different categories: ALPINE, TREKKING and TRAVEL. In addition, we make certain models using our award-winning special lasts: Wide, Narrow, StraightFit, AlpineWide and the exclusive Hanwag Bunion Last for people with a hallux valgus.
The next decisive factor for a good-fitting shoe is the technique used to make it. At Hanwag, we make all our footwear using a cemented construction, with the exception of our “double-stitched” models. The cemented construction is the best way to give leather the perfect shape and make it as durable as possible. And it has an important further advantage: if the sole wears down, it can simply be removed and resoled. To find out more about how we make our shoes with a cemented construction, see here.
Inside the shoe, the inner lining determines the comfort, as it’s in direct contact with the foot. The lining has to be soft, pleasant next to the skin and effectively absorb moisture. If your feet sweat and get moist, the skin softens and this can lead to blisters. We want to avoid this happening. Leather is a natural product that makes a great lining material. It’s able to absorb four times its own weight in moisture. The only drawback: leather takes long to dry. If you are want your boots for longer multi-day treks, I recommend an inner lining that dries fast and is reliably waterproof at the same time: GORE-TEX®. Whichever lining you choose, at Hanwag we pay particular attention to how we build the lining into the shoe. Our top priority is to ensure that there are no folds that could cause pressure points. Padding and reinforcement materials are an important part of the upper. At Hanwag, we generally try to use as little padding as possible, to ensure a direct, solid connection between your foot and the shoe. We add reinforcements to stabilise the upper at certain points. This reinforcing structure is different for each model and plays an important role in achieving the right combination of stability and flexibility in the shaft construction.
The core foundations in any good boot or shoe are the lasting board, midsole and outsole. They have to interact perfectly, to ensure good walking comfort. At the heart of every Hanwag cemented construction sole unit is the lasting board. Depending on how thick it is and the type of material used, it determines the amount of torsional stability and flexibility at the forefoot. The midsole is responsible for the cushioning or shock absorbency and the outsole provides grip in every terrain. We work hard to guarantee that all these factors interact perfectly together. It’s a pretty complex process, but it allows us to ensure a “perfect fit” and give you mile up mile of blister-free performance.