Women on top

Female sports legends that made history


In fashion and in attitude, in working life and in sports, the 70s were an era of liberation – and liberated bodies! We’re bringing a hint of this free spirit to your shoe collection, with feminine retro sneakers inspired by women who revolutionised the world of sport.


Exactly 85 years ago, in 1935, Josef Högl created his first high-quality shoe and founded the eponymous brand. From the beginning, our founding principle has been to make products of the highest quality and maximum comfort. Little by little, the shoe workshop began to grow and in 1965, production moved from Gopperding into the factory at Taufkirchen.

Every Högl shoe has always been handcrafted. Shoe technicians can still be seen at work at our Taufkirchen/Pram headquarters, where all of our prototypes are produced on site.

Every Högl shoe has always been handcrafted. Shoe technicians can still be seen at work at our Taufkirchen/Pram headquarters, where all of our prototypes are produced on site.

Then came the 70s, Austria’s golden years, a colourful decade of free spirits and a society on the move – especially for women. At last, women could begin to take the initiative in their lives, freeing themselves from traditional gender roles. They fought for a world where being a woman could be fun, where they could be seductive, confident and liberated. And this brave new woman’s world needed shoes – feminine shoes. For Högl, this was the green light for further expansion.

Today – 50 years later – we’re bringing the free-spirited attitude of the 70s back into your shoe rack with our Autumn/Winter collection, starting with newly designed retro sneakers in classic 70s designs and colours!

They hark back to the sneakers worn by past sporting legends, and to the women who made history in them. Step by step, they fought for the right to enter ‘male’ arenas and compete in sporting events. Billie Jean King wowed tennis clubs in white sneakers; Kathrine Switzer sneaked her way into the marathon world in trainers; and in gymnastic shoes, Nadia Comăneci turned somersaults that continue to leave their mark on the discipline.

Let us introduce you to three female sporting legends from the 70s who overcame the stigma of ‘the weaker sex’ and made critical strides in the push for the gender equality that we enjoy today.

Billie Jean King – Always on the ball

In her day, Billie Jean King was one of the greatest tennis players in the world. Over the course of her illustrious career, she brought home 39 Grand Slam titles. In 1973, she defeated the tennis pro and self-professed misogynist Bobby Riggs in three sets during the legendary “Battle of the Sexes” watched by over 90 million viewers. The victory went down in history as a triumph over sexism in sport.

Kathrine Virginia Switzer – a marathon overcoming hurdles

A stroke of genius helped Switzer become the first female to officially complete a marathon in sporting history. Kathrine Virginia Switzer signed her name as “K.V.” on the 1967 Boston Marathon registration form in order to get past the race organisers. Why? Because she would not have been eligible to enter as a woman. Disguised in a tracksuit and cap, she was able to avoid unwanted attention, until two miles in, when she was noticed by the race manager, who tried to stop her and remove her race number. Luckily, Switzer’s boyfriend was able to stop the attack. Pictures of the assault were widespread in the global media.

Nadia Comăneci – Full marks through full body control

Nadia Comăneci was the first gymnast ever to receive a maximum score of 10 in the Olympic Games. She won Olympic gold five times and ranks as one of the greatest sportswomen of the 20th century. In 1976, she competed in the Summer Olympics in Montreal. Her performance was so flawless, she received full marks from all the judges. Since the scoreboard was not designed to show a maximum score, each time it displayed a score of 1.00 instead of 10.00!

When you come across our feminine retro sneakers in Högl stores or online, think of these strong women, who fought their way to the top thanks to their ambition, power and charisma. No doubt our GATSBY and AUTHENTIC sneakers will also give you confidence and individuality in your everyday life.