Austin Degenhardt, founder of paul hardt

how it started

After years in the service industry, my back, knees and feet were feeling it. I realized my shoes couldn’t keep up with my ambitions. I wanted more.

I began a relentless pursuit for the perfect shoe. In order to meet my demands it had to feel like a running shoe, perform like a work shoe and look like a dress shoe.

As I walked up to a factory that had been built in 1935, tucked away in the serene Portugal countryside, I had no idea what to expect. I was greeted by a 3rd generation shoemaker in a family owned factory that was about to breathe life into my idea and become the birthplace of Paul Hardt.

What followed was 2 years of return trips to Portugal along with rigorous product development, design and testing.

Since then, serious service professionals have decided to never settle, and instead pull on a pair of Paul Hardts and step into the career that can only be created by taking care of your personal brand first.

When I walked out that night my pockets were swollen with tips...but my back, knees and feet took a beating. My Shoes for Crews shoes couldn’t keep up with my ambitions. I wanted more. That night, while tending to my poor feet, I began a relentless pursuit for the perfect shoe. In order to meet my demands it had to feel like a running shoe, perform like a work shoe and look like a dress shoe.

After battle testing 8 different brands and 3 different insoles, I had my answer. The shoe I wanted didn’t exist. If I wanted a shoe that was the perfect marriage between support, safety and style I would have to create it. That meant I needed a designer and a shoemaker.

As I walked up to a factory that had been built in 1935, tucked away in the serene Portugal countryside, I had no idea what to expect. I was greeted by a 3rd generation shoemaker in a family owned factory that was about to breathe life into my idea and become the birthplace of Paul Hardt.

What started as a meeting amongst business associates ended with a hug and an embrace as if I was a member of the family. What followed was 2 years of return trips to Portugal along with rigorous product development, design and testing.

Since then, serious service professionals have decided to never settle, and instead pull on a pair of Paul Hardts and step into the career that can only be created by taking care of your personal brand first.

- Austin Degenhardt, CEO

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