History | The start of Gabor Shoes

Gabor Shoes has become a recognised and respected name in the shoe industry, known for producing excellent quality shoes that last. The company has expanded across three facilities in Portugal, Slovakia, and Vietnam with 3,500 employees working for the company. Gabor also produces 8,000,000 pairs of shoes a year! Rightfully earning them the title of being one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of women’s footwear.



In this blog, we will explore the journey of the company and its founders Bernhard and Joachim Gabor, including the decisions and challenges they faced on the way.

Producing shoes has been a lifelong passion for Gabor with production starting in the early 1900’s when eldest brother Bernhard and Joachim Gabor along with their three other siblings were born into their parent’s successful shoe and leather store where they had their own shoemaker also. Due to this, the store was able to provide comfortable custom fit shoes to their customers, a goal they still hold true to this day.





In 1945, the Second World War was meeting its final weeks when sadly the family business was destroyed, and their parents passed. Bernhard and Joachim had migrated to Germany, to a village just outside of Hamburg, where they worked in a shoe factory .Whereas the other children who stayed behind were able to flee to nearby relatives.

This was a fresh start for Bernhard and Joachim. They were able to use shoe-making tools they smuggled over the border and put their skills to work. Bernhard began to make shoes out of old car tyres and sold them for any money or food they could get.






The newly launched company produced its first product, “shoes for everyone,” which were simple in design and construction at a time when material was scarce. Fashion standards rose as the economy recovered after the war. The concept of simple shoes had become outdated as people no longer had a need for them, so Gabor had to make a change or face closing the doors.

Luckily, in 1951, Bernhard had returned from a research trip across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States of America to get an insight into their facilities. He was able to bring back a new method of shoemaking, which allowed them to produce shoes without the need for sophisticated machinery.

The research trip will prove to be a momentous occasion for the company. As the new and exciting approach to production will become a key part to kickstart Gabor’s rise to popularity within the shoe industry. 


Thank you for reading.

Join us next time for part 2!


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