ECCO - A 60 year heritage in shoemaking





Karl Toosbuy – the founder of ECCO – had a dream. He wanted to own a shoe factory and run his own business. Trained from an early age as a shoemaker, he gradually rose through the ranks and by his early thirties, was managing a shoe factory in Copenhagen. The business, however, was not his.  

The family decided to give up the security of a regular job, sell their home and move to Bredebro on the west coast of Denmark, just north of the German border. Karl and Birte Toosbuy and their 5-year-old daughter, Hanni, rented a small house and took over an empty factory built by the local community to help create jobs in what was a predominantly agricultural town.

Along with a small team, he developed a range of innovative products and introduced pioneering production methods to shoemaking.  As a result, functional, comfortable ECCO shoes were launched in the 1970’s and became an instant success.

In its 43 years of history, ECCO has set several important milestones in both technology as well as product development and continue to do so by pushing the boundaries as they stride forward into the future. Today ECCO is still family owned.

Karl Toosbuy - Founder of ECCO                        


ECCO Family and Staff


Karl Toosbuy wanted to make shoes that did not need to be broken in. They should fit like a glove. That became the beginning of ECCO’s revolutionary concept: to create shoes that were more comfortable, lasted longer and enabled people to move naturally.

For almost fifty years, ECCO shoes have been handmade down to every little detail. As technology has progressed, ECCO has found a fine balance between complete handwork and the newest technology. Still, ECCO’s most valuable strength is in the competence and experience of its skilled employees.

As an innovative shoemaker, Karl Toosbuy always saw the ECCO factories as the key to the company’s success. He also realized that shoemaking would always involve a large element of manual work, with craftsmen producing most of the shoes by hand. He tried, therefore, to compensate for this by automating the process wherever possible.

He developed technology, brought in assembly lines and introduced robot technology and large-scale assembly machines. As a result, ECCO is the world leader in direct injection technology. As new shoes are developed and designed in Denmark, construction details are transferred electronically to ECCO’s four main factories in Thailand, Indonesia, Slovakia and China.

Although many processes have been automated, the key to shoemaking remains the handcraft, which is time-consuming and demanding. Craftsmanship guarantees quality.