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 industrialized, developed and became more international. After the war, people wanted quality special footwear and boots for leisure activities. The iconic Hai boot was designed for sailing in the 1960’s. But it wasn’t until 1973 that the all-time classic rubber boot, the Kontio, was launched. This full-length boot for men soon became the undisputed king of rubber boots, a masterpiece of Finnish footwear design.
Winds of change
Slowly, our range began to expand further and further from the traditional rubber boot, which was succeeded by ski, bowling and disco shoes, for example. However, the Finnish rubber 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.
At the turn of the millennium, rubber footwear had been made in Finland for more than a century. However, it was no longer possible to manufacture quality rubber boots profitably in 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 using Finnish lasts – in close co-operation with our R&D and 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, design, R&D, rubber recipes and lasts have been strictly in domestic hands. Marketing, sales and logistics are also handled by Finnish experts. Seamless co-operation between Finnish footwear specialists 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.