Our story is typical for Berlin, unconventional, influenced by the changing times and always with the vision: to make cool sneakers with the typical double stripes. The Zeha story started over 100 years ago. The rise and fall of the Berliner wall belongs to the “made in the GDR “ just as much as the Berlin of the wild 90’s with its night club culture. In 2002 came the crucial re-launch. With lots of optimism and courage, the new style Zeha sport shoes were introduced to the waiting market. We want to revive the unmistakable style of sneakers worn by the East Berlin youth. Today the whole world is wearing ZEHA BERLIN sneakers. Through the years we’ve „almost“grown up. We’ve developed the Urban Classic Collection, handmade leather shoes made of the highest quality materials, homage to the personal lifestyle. Our new accessories and bag collection, for travelling in style, business or relaxed everyday life, completes our portfolio for the time being.
ZEHA BERLIN philosophy and quality guidelines
The high quality of the materials and their processing and production, as well as fair production conditions belong to the crucial characteristics of the ZEHA BERLIN philosophy. Our shoes and accessories are hand made exclusively in Portugal and Slovakia. The high quality natural leather types are processed in select leather tanneries and manufactured according to certified quality controls.
The ZEHA BERLIN Story
1897- Where it started!
Far away from Berlin, in Weida in Thueringen, Carl Haessner founded the Zeha Leather Manufactory
For men’s and ladies shoes in 1897.
The golden twenties!
In dance on the volcano, coffee house culture and variety-nights. In the twenties Zeha shoes were much loved by the Berlin artists and big city bohemians alike.
The 1950’s: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
The division of Germany and the establishment of the former GDR are changes which Carl Haessner has to compete with. Following his intuition he decided to concentrate completely on sneakers and risk starting from scratch. In 1954 he entered the Zeha sneaker with the double stripes as copywrite brand name. The actual birth of the ZEHA BERLIN sneaker.
The 1960’s: 17 Million wearing Zeha!
Zeha models are the sport shoes in the former GDR, whether by school sport, in the schoolyard, or as official supplier for the GDR athletes in 60 disciplines, everyone knows and wears Zeha.
The 1980’s: We can be heroes!
The Berlin wall falls. The two halves of Berlin are reunited, economic chaos in the east. Zeha fails in the attempt to go private.
2002 East Berliner’s dream and a new start!
Alexander Barre, grown up in East Berlin discovers by accident at a friend’s house the familiar Zeha sport shoe of his youth. In the attic they find original Zeha shoes from the 50’s and 60’s, old shoe templates, leather samples and product catalogues. The dream of ZEHA BERLIN and the sport shoe revival is born. With business courage, many visions, equity financing and the support of friends ZEHA BERLIN makes a new start. We are developing completely new shoes for the most diverse kinds of sport from the old Zeha design templates, like tournament fishing rod shoes or fencing shoes.
2003: Our first Streetwear collection!
comes on the market and is inspired by the run & sport shoes from the 70's and 60's. Extremely light shoes with perfect cushioning made completely out of leather.
2006 Carl Hässner Revival & Sneaker-Hype!
For the Football WM 2006 in Germany, in honor of the founding father of Zeha we designed, together with Jürgen Sparwasser, a Carl Hässner collection. The WM collection in Retro-Style was an astounding success and together with the models “Liga” and “Club” still ranks today as one of our top sellers. Meanwhile, apart from Europe, we are exporting ZEHA BERLIN collections worldwide to countries such as Japan, USA, Canada and Asia.
2007 Urban Classics and Bag collection!
Inspired from our travels, by forms and colors, visits to traditional tanneries and manufacturers, we introduced in 2007, the Urban Classics collection with ladies and men’s shoes. Because of the high quality production at the manufacturers and the special wax treatment of the natural leather each model is individual. All shoes are made and sewn by hand and because of this very exclusive method of production, each pair is unique. In the same year we are launching our bag collection with timeless and high quality travel and office bags made from various types of leather in elegant colors.
2008 ZEHA BERLIN and the first stores!
We open our first stores in Berlin. With individual themes and designs each store tells a part of ZEHA BERLIN`s history: whether it’s a gym with old sports equipment, an old cobblers shop or a retro style living room.
2014: New in! Lifestyle Accessories!
Excellent city and tote bags, smart back packs, leather accessories for those fond of travelling and for Berlin locals now complete our Lifestyle and Accessories Portfolio.