The Nokian Footwear story began in 1898, when a group of Finnish business men decided to establish the company Suomen Gummitehdas Oy (Finnish Rubber Works Ltd) in Helsinki. After operating for a few years, the factory began to produce high quality rubber galoshes, which competed successfully against Russian imports.
As production grew, the factory was moved from Helsinki to Nokia. Soon the rubber company began to highlight the name Nokia, communicating Finnishness, in its marketing. Demand for the company's products grew strongly and the rubber boot became a utility item for the whole nation.
The period after the Second World War was an era of innovative safety boots. Rapidly industrialising Finland needed quality special footwear. At the same time, boots were increasingly designed for leisure-time use. A notable classic was the 1960s Hai which was originally designed for boating enthusiasts.
Nokian Footwear's range expanded 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 did not do well against inexpensive imported products.
In 2005 the Finnish family business Berner bought Nokian Footwear. Berner assumed ownership of the Nokian Footwear brands and closely guarded rubber recipes as well as lasts that had been designed expressly for the Finnish foot for more than a century.
Berner's history extends back to 1883. The company has unique experience of the long-term building and marketing of strong brands.
Every Nokian Footwear rubber boot is manufactured carefully by hand from dozens of parts. Manufacturing a rubber boot is a multi-stage process that requires experience, precision and manual skills. Only a few companies in the world have such expertise. Nokian Footwear's products are made by the world's most respected professionals, mainly in Central Europe. Finnish footwear designers have close control over production, from the choice of rubber compound all the way to retail outlet shelf.