The brand Werner Schuhe has been part of Studio JUX’s collection for a couple of years now. We know you love it as much as we do. And with good reason. When looking for a sustainable leather shoe company to add to our collection, Werner ticked all the boxes. Beautiful, timeless styles, fair working conditions and of course made of certified organic leather.
As we think transparency is a big part of sustainability, we love telling you everything about the brands we work with. So we’ve had a fun chat with Florian Werner, CEO and fourth generation owner of Werner Schuhe, to tell us more about the company and how the shoes are made.
"It’s our mission to make pretty, comfortable shoes that you can wear with good conscience.”
family-owned since 1911
Since the beginning in 1911, Werner Schuhe has been a family-owned company. As most companies do, Werner Shoes started from the basement of Florian Werner’s great-grandfather in Pirmasens, a town in the south of Germany. In a region bustling with shoe factories, the Werner family has always tried to stand out by making high quality leather shoes. From the 2000s on, it’s been their mission to be the most sustainable shoe company in Germany, from material sourcing to production. Five years ago, Florian took over the organic leather shoe company from his father. “In our German headquarters, our core team consists of only five people. We’ve always been a small company, which makes us very flexible in adapting to more sustainable practices. It’s our mission to make pretty, comfortable shoes that you can wear with good conscience,” Florian says. “Small is good, and we continue to keep making small improvements to stay the most sustainable.”
vegetable tanned, organic leatherAs a sustainable company, we know that if using animal based materials, it should come from the highest quality, certified organic origins. That’s exactly what Werner stands for. Since the 2000s, the hides have come from small cooperative farms in the south of Germany, which keep alpine cattle in controlled organic animal husbandry. And when we say small here, we really mean small. Each farm keeps only 2 to 3 cows, either for milk or meat. Werner buys the leather directly from the farms and preserves the leather in-house.
What is vegetable tanned leather exactly? “Cow hides must be preserved to make it into leather that can be used for shoes. This process is called ‘tanning’. Modern day, conventional tanning practices use chrome, because it’s cheap and fast. But, it’s a very hazardous material, both when mining and upon wearing. Instead of toxic chrome, we use roots and bark to preserve the leather. We tan our leather in a IVN-certified leather tannery in Germany, the strictest natural certificate. It’s all small, artisanal production.” Vegetable tanning gives the leather it’s soft, natural appearance and smell.