Richter children’s shoes – how it all began...

Ferdinand Richter GmbH can look back on a dynamic company history which began in the late 19th century. Since then, children have conquered the world step by step with Richter children’s shoes – a success story “made in Austria”.

In 1893, Theresia and Wenzel Richter (Rychtar at the time) decide to pursue their passion for good shoes and further their careers by setting up their own company. So they found their own small shoemaker’s workshop at Gesellenhausstraße 13 in Linz, Upper Austria.
After years of hard work spent making numerous shoes for women, men and children in Linz and the surrounding area, their son Ferdinand takes over his parents’ workshop.
Ferdinand Richter recognises the special needs of children’s feet and soon dreams of specialising in the manufacture of shoes that are suitable for children. By 1945 his time had come: Ferdinand is able to realise his dream in close cooperation with orthopaedists.
Ferdinand and Maria Richter set up a general partnership (OHG) called RICHTER & CO.
The Richters buy a plot of land on the outskirts of the city of Linz, where they start building a production floor a year later
200,000 pairs of shoes are produced on the new production floor.
The company grows: in 1968, and for the first time, the Richters export their children’s shoes, which are known for their fine quality far beyond the confines of Linz, to Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland and Germany.
With the knowledge that the fit of the shoes is essential, Richter teams up with other manufacturers to initiate a comprehensive measurement of children’s feet in Europe. Austria’s Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the Vienna University Clinic and the shoe trade introduce a pioneering quality seal for shoes that match children’s feet under the name AUSTRO POINT.
RICHTER & CO is the first non-Italian shoe manufacturer to receive the coveted Oscar for shoe design from the Accademia Internazionale della Calzatura in Turin (Italy).
First exports of footwear to Singapore, Japan and China.
The shop floor in Hofkirchen im Mühlkreis doubles to 3,200 m² without production ever being halted – not even for one single day.
The OHG is converted into a private limited company with the name Ferdinand Richter GmbH. Ferdinand and his son Herbert Richter share management duties.
Ferdinand works intensively on a solution to protect children from getting their feet wet in the cold season. He manages to do so by 1987. Ferdinand rolls out the first, guaranteed waterproof and breathable children’s boots made in leather.
In 1990, Richter establishes a joint subsidiary with the Sabaria factory in Vasvár, Hungary, 60 km to the east to the Austrian border. Richter acquires 100% of the shares in the company three years later. Various market research surveys indicate that 83% of the mothers polled associate children’s shoes with the Richter brand.
After many years of dedicated research and the production of numerous children’s shoes, there is no shoemaker successor in the Richter family. As a result, the company is sold to the Kapsch family. And so the quest in search of the perfect fit for children’s footwear lives on.
Always striving to support the optimum development of children’s feet, Richter upgrades its manufacturing process in the spring and summer of 2001: from this time on, its shoes are made according to the renowned WMS system which is recommended by orthopaedists. In the same year, Richter acquires the manufacturing plant in Partizánske and centralises the production of high-quality children’s shoes in Slovakia.
Alf Netek takes over sole management of Ferdinand Richter GmbH. The Vienna Boys Choir is fitted out with Richter shoes for the first time and wears them while giving performances all around the world.
The head office moves to Pasching. At the same time, Richter presents a new size indication system and also specifies, in millimetres, the best fitting range in addition to the traditional shoe size for each model (foot length in millimetres plus push and growth space). The company develops the Richter foot measurement template.
Richter extends its portfolio and rolls out its top-end “Richter edition” range of bags onto the market.
A young, international design team is inducted into the team and has been coming up with new ideas for the collection ever since.
Richter’s new brand image is welcomed across the board by business partners and customers.
Alf Netek acquires majority share ownership of the company.
We, the Richter team, look back on our record of 125 years with pride. You’re warmly invited to celebrate our big anniversary with us!
Thomas Ridder, Josef Renner and Manfred Lenk take over the management of the company.