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Celebrating 75 Years with 75 Fun Facts

This July, HAIX®, a durable work boots company, is celebrating our 75th Birthday! So, we collected 75 fascinating facts about our company, and general footwear, that are sure to pique your curiosity and hopefully grow your appreciation for where we have been and where we are heading in the coming years!

1.      75% of people mispronounce “HAIX”. It is pronounced “hikes”.


2.      It takes around 150 single parts to complete one pair of HAIX boots.


3.      It can take over 3 hours to complete one pair of HAIX boots.


4.      HAIX previous CEO was a fire chief and master cobbler.


5.      HAIX used approximately 50,239 feet (about twice the height of Mount Everest), or 9 ½ miles of zippers in our production of Airpower XR1 Pro and XR2 and remaining stock of XR1 in 2022.


6.      HAIX uses a DESMA machine for production of our injection molded soles.


7.      The distance from Lexington, KY to Mainburg, Germany is 4,562 miles. That’s only 121 miles more than the distance from Lexington, KY to O’ahu, Hawaii.


8.      If you stacked each Structural Fire Boot HAIX made in 2022 from sole to boot opening, it would stretch over 55,680 feet (about twice the cruising altitude of a commercial jet), or 10 ½ miles.


9.      Shoes were not made with a left and a right until after 1818.


10.  High heels were first made for horse-back riding. Interestingly, HAIX developed a high heel in 2016! Originally designed as an April Fool's Day prank, the shoe became popular with customers, so HAIX produced a limited run of 1,000 “HAIX Heels” which sold out in 1 hour.


11.  In Hungary, the groom drinks to his bride from her own shoe, in China the bride’s shoe is thrown off a roof.


12.  Lexington, Kentucky was chosen as the headquarters for HAIX North America because of the city’s proximity to fire dealers and the UPS hub in Louisville, KY.


13.  Lexington, KY is located within a day’s drive of 2/3, or 67% of the population of the United States.


14.  Most people walk 8,000-10,000 steps per day which calculates to 115,000 miles over a lifetime.


15.  On average, women walk 3 more miles than men.


16.  The most common shoe size in the U.S. has gotten larger in the last 30 years. The most common men’s size is 10.5 and for women, 8.5.


17.  The Fire Eagle Xtreme is the second quad certified structural fire boot in the US Market, certified for Structural, USAR, Wildland and HAZMAT. The first was the HAIX Fire Flash Xtreme.


18.  Ewald originally planned to be a police officer and had passed the entrance test for the Bavarian police force before taking over the family business in 1992 after his older brother decided to pursue a different career pack. He was in his early twenties.


19.  HAIX is a 3rd-generation family-run company. Ewald’s children, Michael and Tanja Haimerl, are the current owners, and are still involved in operations.


20.  Most people in their lifetime walk the equivalent of 4 times around the Earth.


21.  Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, did not bring the boots that he wore back to Earth. Fearing contaminants, they are now floating around in space.


22.  HAIX started making footwear 75 years ago, first by manufacturing footwear for other companies. HAIX became its own brand over 30 years ago.


23.  The HAIX leather fire boot celebrated its 30th birthday in 2022.


24.  The first elastic-sided boots, otherwise known as a Chelsea boot, were made for Queen Victoria.


25.  Michael Jordan's 1998 NBA Finals Air Jordan 13 sneakers are the most expensive shoes ever sold at auction, bought for a record-breaking $2.2 million in 2023.


26.  There are currently 35 HAIX apprentices in Mainburg.


27.  HAIX main logistics center in Mainburg, Germany controls distribution of good to over 80 countries worldwide.


28.  In the warehouse in Mainburg, shoes, clothing and other goods are stacked in rows of shelves that are over 229 feet long and over 40 feet high.


29.  The Mainburg logistics center houses more than 300,000 pairs of shoes. The warehouses in North America currently house over 60,000 pairs of shoes.


30.  The HAIX production facility in Croatia produces more than 7,500 pairs of shoes per day.


31.  HAIX North America opened in a small storefront in Lexington, KY in 2003.


32.  Approximately 538 HAIX boots were retreaded in 2022 as part of our Extended Wear Program.


33.  Studies show that 65% of the people between 19 and 34 years of age have irreparably deformed feet.


34.  On average, HAIX boots are 70% leather.


35.  HAIX uses bullhide leather in order to achieve the 3mm thickness of our leather, compared to thinner cowhide leathers.


36.  Bullhide leather is thicker because unlike cowhide, it doesn’t need to stretch for pregnancy.


37.  The Sun Reflect technology worked into HAIX leather during the tanning process and can provide as much as 20% cooler temperatures when compared to competitor products when both are placed in direct sunlight.


38.  HAIX is the world’s largest manufacturer of functional footwear using Gore Products (GORETEX, CROSSTECH).


39.  Each square inch of GORE-TEX® fabric has 9 billion pores, which are about 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet, making it absolutely waterproof. But these pores also are about 700 times larger than water vapor molecules, meaning sweat can escape to keep your feet dry from the inside out, too.


40.  Feet are second only to armpits as the sweatiest parts of our bodies, averaging 125,000 sweat glands that can produce about a half-pint of perspiration a day.


41.  The average human foot produces up to 200ml, or nearly one cup, of sweat every 8 hours.


42.  HAIX competes with Mercedes, BMW and Audi for the leather used in their seats and our boots. These leathers come from the same tannery in Southern Germany.


43.  HAIX was named after the founder, Xaver Haimerl, by combining the first letter of his first name (X) with the first three letters of his last name (HAI).


44.  HAIX production facilities have a combined square footage of 140,764 square feet, which is the equivalent of over 70 NBA sized basketball courts or 5 ½ NFL football fields.


45.  HAIX has been mentioned in books and on screen. Most recently, HAIX footwear made an appearance on NBC’s LA Fire & Rescue, on the hit Amazon Prime show HANNA and in the pages of Karin Slaughter’s “Will Trent” series, now a television show.


46.  During the Interschutz trade show in Germany, HAIX served approximately 12,000 liters of beer (from 1 ½ tanker trucks) over the course of 7 days, which is the equivalent of over 206 kegs.


47.  HAIX gave away over 25,000 beer steins at the Interschutz festival.


48.  HAIX launched our forestry line in 2012, followed by our revolutionary forestry boot, The Protector Prime, in 2014.


49.  HAIX launched their Black Eagle boot line in 2012 to the North American market.


50.  The most expensive shoes in the world are Antonio Vietri's Moon Star shoes, valued at $20 million.


51.  The tallest man ever recorded, Robert Wadlow, wore a US size 37AA, making his the largest shoe size ever. This is equivalent to 18.5 inches (47 cm) long.


52.  The largest shoe measures 20 ft 11.97 in x 7 ft 10.09 in and is 5 ft 4.96 in high. It was created in Hong Kong, China, on 12 April 2013. The shoe was a replica of a Superga 2750 shoe.


53.  The earliest leather shoe is 5,500 years old and was discovered by archaeologists in Armenia in 2008.


54.  Ewald Haimerl, son of HAIX founder Xavier Haimerl, had a total of 5 vintage first responder vehicles: 3 fire trucks (Snorkel truck, GMC Cabrio, Opel Blitz), 2 Police Cars and 1 Police Harley. Collectively these items have over 300 years of experience.


55.  HAIX main offices are located in Mainburg, Germany.


56.  HAIX North America moved into its current location in 2009.


57.  The largest sneaker collection in the world is over 6,000 pairs, owned by three sisters in Florida.


58.  HAIX introduced the Fire Hero model of structural fire boot in 2009, which is now used worldwide.


59.  HAIX has its own internal research and testing laboratory in Mainburg, Germany where they can perform over 100 quality assurance tests including sole bending, strength of laces, strength of toe caps and slip resistance. The company even has a centrifuge to test watertightness.


60.  HAIX manufactured 1.67 million pairs of shoes in 2022.


61.  European boot sizing does not include varying widths. Only the North American market has varying widths available.


62.  Since 2012, we have given away more than 8,400 backpacks at the FDIC Conference.


63.  At the HAIX logistics center in Mainburg, all the vehicles in the warehouse, which operate between its stacker racks and loading ramps are electrically powered, including forklifts, stock-picking trucks, and low-lift trucks. HAIX also uses electric “e-scooters” with trailers for small scale transport tasks.


64.  The medical term for “smelly feet” is bromodosis.


65.  Leather boots can be as much as 2-3 pounds lighter in weight than rubber boots, which can make a significant difference when on your feet. Past research has indicated that every 1 pound of boot weight can be equivalent to an extra 5 pounds of weight on a firefighter’s back. The extra weight can lead to increased oxygen demands and slower physical response times.


66.  HAIX made a sample fire boot that is a size 56.


67.  Currently, 80% of the energy generated by HAIX solar panels at the Mainburg location is used to power the facilities, and 20% if fed back into the public electricity grid.


68.  HAIX is 100% made in Europe, not just assembled there, with 95% of materials also sourced in Europe.


69.  Contrary to popular belief, leather boots resist contamination just as well or better than rubber boots. Leather samples were found to retain less residual chemical contamination than rubber samples following decontamination procedures.


70.  Police duty belts can weigh as much as 20-25 pounds, putting additional pressure on feet and ankles on longer beats. Studies have shown that just one extra pound can add up to 10 extra pounds of pressure on your feet.


71.  The HAIX Black Eagle and Airpower lines use a method of attaching the sole that uses no adhesives. The sole is molded and directly fused with the upper shaft of the boot on a DESMA machine, creating a water-tight seal and significantly reducing the likelihood of de-lamination, or the sole separating from the rest of the boot.


72.  HAIX had approximately 1,400 employees in 2017. Today, we have 2,300 employees worldwide. That’s a 64% increase in just 6 years.


73.  Last year, HAIX processed approximately 5,845,000 square feet of leather in the production of our boots. That’s equal to 134 acres, or approximately 76 professional soccer fields.


74.  If tied together, the laces from all the boots HAIX produced in 2018 would stretch over 3,100 miles. That’s more than the distance from New York, NY to San Francisco, CA.


75.  The HAIX logo was redesigned in 2012.


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