Each Gabor shoe consists of up to 250 components crafted from as many as 45 different materials in a process that involves 140 manufacturing steps. Gabor technical expert Manfred Rother explains the testing criteria behind quality assurance, health and environmental compatibility.
Manfred Rother Director, Research & Development, Material Testing
What parts of the shoe are subject to in-depth testing?
The section that supports the ball of the foot is the part of a shoe that withstands the most stress - especially the outer and lining materials as well as the inner and outer soles. Therefore, such things as the long-term creasing behaviour of the upper and lining materials, as well as the pliability of inner and outer soles, are thoroughly tested. We also focus on other parts of the shoe that are subject to wear and tear - even decorative elements and zips are carefully checked.
What are the testing criteria?
The outer materials, linings and decorative elements are tested for elasticity, pressure resistance, tearing resistance and stitch strength. Similarly, we check for dye migration and colour fading on the leather uppers and linings. We also watch out for things like the heel cup's rubbing behaviour, and the fade resistance and colour fastness of the outer materials.
What role do human health and environmental compatibility play at Gabor?
All outer and lining materials, glues, elastics, zips and laces - in other words all materials that contact the skin - are tested by Gabor according to the strictest criteria. This is how we ensure that Gabor shoes are completely free of any potentially harmful substances. The materials used to make Gabor shoes are free from any dyes or preservatives that could be dangerous to human health or produce harmful substances in contact with foot perspiration.
Do Gabor quality control criteria merely meet legal standards, or do they surpass these guidelines?
Gabor has made a name for itself as a manufacturer of top quality shoes. Our in-house quality standards go beyond the requirements stipulated by law. This applies to the compatibility of harmful substances and human health as well as to product durability and comfort.
How many employees work in Gabor's quality control department?
This question doesn't really apply because each and every Gabor employee is responsible for quality. Even before the final control phase, numerous testing procedures are integrated into the manufacturing process to ensure the best possible quality. My department is devoted to ensuring that all materials that enter the production phase meet our high quality control criteria and durability standards.
How much training is required for such a demanding job?
If you are asking about my educational background, I started out as a shoe model designer and, over the course of my 35-year career, continued my education to qualify as a shoe manufacturing specialist, technical model builder and orthopaedic shoe technician. Over the years, I have developed my background knowledge in physics, chemistry and mathematics.