Treksta, the South Korean brand of outdoor footwear, has set up a European head office and is preparing to launch its distribution in Spain and Portugal as soon as it obtains a license from Gore-Tex for the European market. The brand has signed an Iberian distribution agreement with Luis Arimont, the former general manager of Tuckland, the failed Spanish brand.

Opened in Munich last May, the company's European office is headed by Karl Messmer, who previously spent many years in the snowboard boots business. Once Treksta is established in Iberia, it intends to move into Scandinavian and Eastern European countries, and then to Italy and Germany at a later stage.

Treksta is marketing itself as a hybrid outdoor-urban brand, competing with the likes of Geox and Keen, with retail prices ranging from €120 to €180.

Treksta was launched in 1994 by Hypergrip, a South Korean manufacturer of outsoles and shoes established in 1988 by D.C. Kwon, former manager of a Nike factory in Korea. Still owned and run by Kwon, Hypergrip employs about 3,600 people, including 3,100 in manufacturing at plants in South Korea and in China, near Beijing.

Along with Treksta, they make footwear for Hanwag, MBT and Millet, among others. Production reaches nearly 4 million pairs per year, comprising 1.2 million pairs of Treksta shoes and 2.8 million pairs under other brands.

Treksta estimates its own market share in South Korea at about 45 percent. It also has become strongly established in China, Japan and several other Asian markets. It has already moved into the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well. The brand reports sales of about $70 million in South Korea and $120 million overall.

Once it obtains clearance from Gore-Tex, presumably after the summer, Treksta Iberia will be ready to deliver swiftly. Warehousing and delivery arrangements have been made, and trading terms have been discussed with retailers.

The company’s budget calls for sales of just 10,000 pairs the first year, followed by 70,000 pairs the second year and rising to 130,000 pairs the third year.

The move into Europe comes with the launch of a technology called “Nestfit,” which reproduces the shape of a worn-in shoe. For example, there is a rounded edge on the upper to leave more space for the toes. The company expects that this will substantially lift its sales next year and effectively create a new segment in the market.

Hypergrip has attended the OutDoor fair in Friedrichshafen for many years, but this year it showed the Treksta brand for the first time. The company, which makes its own lasts, will adjust its ranges for the European market, in terms of fit as well as colors.