Over 70 years ago, Xaver Haimerl added the X of his first name to the first three letters of his surname and founded HAIX. That was in 1948. In the 1950s, the company in the Bavarian town of Mainburg quickly made a good name for itself with hiking and working boots, which were sold under various brand names. Today, HAIX is still family-owned and still manufactures shoes in Mainburg. Since then, the company has risen from a local workshop to a global player.
Ewald Haimerl, son of Xaver and long-time managing director of HAIX, was not only a master shoemaker in his father’s business; he was also deputy commander of the Mainburg Fire Brigade. But the rubber boots that firefighters wore at that time were a nuisance for him and his colleagues: clunky, uncomfortable, and suffering from decades of zero innovation. Ewald developed completely new, functional leather firefighting boots in the early 1990s. HAIX firefighting boots received recognition and praise. And this gave HAIX the go-ahead to continue to develop innovative functional footwear for the rescue services and police.
NFPA places high demands on every component. The goal at HAIX is always to exceed these standards. HAIX continuously tests materials in its own laboratory during the development phase. When it comes to design, HAIX follows the philosophy of ‘nothing without function’ which means every detail not only sets high standards visually, but also has a purpose. The additional yellow elements on the firefighter boots, for example, make fellow crew members more visible in smoky buildings.
Firefighters want boots that go beyond the standard’s requirements and are as comfortable as possible. The PPE equipment can weigh over 90 pounds in use. Some scenarios require boots with additional cut protection. There is no universal ‘perfect firefighter boot’ (yet) – essentially, the boot must be right for the individual wearer. HAIX chief developer Andreas Himmelreich explains the basic differences. “Most firefighters prefer quick, simple slip-on boots. Many firefighters are on the move so much that what counts most is lighter weight, which is what the FIRE EAGLE AIR offers. And if you’re looking for a sturdy boot that you can rely on in any scenario, our FIRE HERO XTREME is a good choice.”
HAIX offers an online training module to assist fire departments in meeting the requirements set forth in NFPA 1851 regarding performing routine and advanced inspections of HAIX fire boots, how to clean and maintain your HAIX footwear, and recommendations on retiring and disposing of your HAIX fire boots. Those who pass the online test will receive a certificate for the fire department’s files that training was completed.