Dachstein is still a small player in the global rugged outdoor footwear market, with a strong focus on the domestic Austrian market, but it is developing strongly internationally and its annual sales have shot up from €700,000 to €7 million in the last four years under a new management.
Interesting initiatives on the product front, coupled with the recruitment of new foreign distributors, are expected to lead the company's turnover to double by 2020. About 30 percent of the revenues still come from Austria and another 30 percent from Germany, but the share taken by the rest of the world has been growing very fast.
Distributors that also work with MBT have been signed up in the last few months in the Nordic countries. First Ascent has taken on Dachstein for the British market. Other new partners have been enlisted in China, Hong Kong, Brazil, Argentina and Iran.
The brand is already relatively strong in Japan. It has been adopted by Paragon Sports, the well-known, high-end sporting goods store in New York, after a successful market test conducted during the past autumn/winter season with Dachstein's unique outdoor shoe with a knitted upper, the Super Leggera DDS.
Adidas and Nike have already been selling sports shoes for running and other activities with a knitted upper for a few years, using fewer components and providing better fit than a classical shoe upper can. At the 2015 edition of the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen, Dachstein was one of the first ones to put out a lightweight outdoor shoe with a knitted upper, fitting the wearer's foot like a sock, called the Super Leggera DDS. It won a well-deserved OutDoor Industry Award. Dachstein introduced a low-cut version of the Super Leggera earlier this year.
The concept has been further developed for the spring/summer 2018 collection presented at the last OutDoor show, where Dachstein also introduced for the first time a range of technical shoes with a Gore-Tex membrane. The brand had been using eVent for many years, but it decided to switch to Gore-Tex, starting with spring 2018, to associate its name with a well-known brand, even though the product will cost some €20 more per pair.
At OutDoor, Dachstein also presented many new interesting styles including some unique models made out of loden, a water-repellent material heavily used in the typical folkloric clothing of Austria and Bavaria. A young Austrian designer, Christoph Döttelmayer, is behind the collection. He joined Dachstein in 2014 after an internship at Mammut.
Dachstein is promoting the concept of “Fusion Wear” with its TP03 and TP04 styles, which are designed for hiking in the mountains as well as all-day use in the city, pointing out that today's consumer is looking for an “all-in-one solution” in their smartphones and in other aspects of their modern lifestyle.
The TP03 is the winter 2017/18 version of the Super Leggera. It features a waterproof and breathable membrane and a Megagrip sole by Vibram. Meant for walking on the snow in the city or in the mountains, the TPO4 uses Pertex for the waterproof/breathable protection on the upper. The elastic lacing system is also waterproof.
Named after a mountaneous region of Austria, Dachstein was founded in 1925. It has gone through many vicissitudes. The brand developed rapidly in the 1960s and 1970s as a major supplier of hiking shoes as well as hard-shell ski boots, reaching an annual production level of more than one million pairs. It was merged with an old Austrian ski company, Kneissl, in 1992 by Erhard Grossnigg and other investors who later formed a company called Kneissl & Friends, integrating also other important brands like Raichle, Dynafit, Dee Luxe and Marker.
Many of these brands changed hands subsequently due to financial problems and many of the original investors pulled out of the consortium. In 2003, Grossnigg kept Dee Luxe and Dachstein, removing ski boots from the product portfolio. Under the management of Klaus Brandstätter, who remained a shareholder in the operation, Dachstein lived through a difficult period until 2013, when Grossnigg took over a 90 percent stake in the brand. At that point, he appointed the present management team, which is headed up by Oliver Wieser.
Wieser is a former managing director of Stiefelkönig, a big Austrian chain of high-end shoe shops that changed hands shortly after he joined Dachstein and is now disappearing from the market. Wiesel has been working since then with a sales manager, Christian Wolsegger, who was with Ecco and Stiefelkönig before.
Dachstein's marketing efforts are supported by a team of brand ambassadors. The most special of them is Andy Holzer, who last May became the first blind climber to have ascended the summit of Mount Everest via the northern route, as well as the first one to have reached the peak of all the Seven Summits of the world.