‘I really must defend the Bahn.’ Michael Huth

Michael Huth, managing director of STEITZ SECURA, has always had strong sympathies for the railway service (Die Bahn). The manufacturer of safety and occupational shoes is convinced that the right footwear can significantly contribute to frictionless operations of the Bahn.

  1. Mister Huth, let’s run a small exercise to start. Try to think of the time when you were 10 years old: what was your career aspiration back then?
    • At that time, I still had several career aspirations. E. g., I would have liked to become a professional footballer – unfortunately, this was quickly abandoned. But the railway also played a role already: not so much the usual job of locomotive driver, but rather that of ‘traffic controller’, who coordinates the train rides and works the switches.
  2. What is it that fascinates you with the railway?
    • The railway is a highly complex system, many people do not understand that. I am impressed by the logistical performance behind it. The fact that the trains run more or less on time and which masses are moved there, compared to the private transport. E. g. think about a long freight train: it transports gigantic volumes with high efficiency.
  3. Do you often take the railway yourself?
    • Yes – and I really enjoy it! I try to travel by railway as often as possible. Especially on longer trips, I use the occasion to work in the train. No other means of transport offers so much comfort for that: driving your car or flying in the plane is more or less wasted time, whereas in the train, you can be really productive. You can actively use your time and look out of the window, relaxed, while travelling and working.
  4. And there, you are in contact with employees of the Bahn who are up on their feet all day long and must move around on shaky ground. E. g., what would you say to a train attendant serving in normal low shoes or customary sneakers?
    • It is key for him/her is to feel well is his/her shoes. However, he/she should ask himself/herself if his/her shoes are adapted to this job. E. g. shoes specially conceived for this job are optimized in such a way that you do not get tired that quickly when wearing them. They offer a fit with a width that can be individually selected. This is ideal when you are walking around in the shoes all day long. Next to four different widths, STEITZ SECURA also offers our ‘back vital system’, i. e. modules for heel damping adapted to the weight of the wearer. So the shoes are configured for the wearer and individually adapted to him or her. This is a big advantage over a shoe ‘off the shelf’.
  5. At the Bahn, there are around 500 professions, partly with very different requirements: which model from your collection do you e. g. recommend to employees of the Bahn working for the ICE in an assembly and maintenance hall – and why?
    • I have already visited an ICE factory hall – in Frankfurt-Griesheim. Today, it appears completely different from what one might imagine. The hall in Frankfurt-Griesheim is very clean with a pure atmosphere. E. g. the series ‘VD PRO’ from our range would be very suitable. VD PRO 1100 ESD or VD PRO 3500 ESD.
  6. Why exactly these models?
    • They are extremely light, have an excellent fit and are built on a microfiber basis. In addition, they protect from electrostatic discharge and are breathable – therefore, they are optimal for assembly halls.
  7. But which model do you recommend e. g. for a station manager or station inspector?
    • There is an ‘officer line’, which is a bit more classical. These are shoes that you can also wear quite well e. g. with a suit. If it can be a bit more casual, the competition series could also be considered. It also offers models in dark blue going well with a suit. As well in occupational shoes as in the safety area, STEITZ SECURA offers a certain range. Every wearer finds a model corresponding to his/her preferences.
  8. In general: what must a safety shoe perform which is worn be employees all day long?
    • The basic function is to provide safety. This refers to safety functions like a protective toe cap. This is provided by practically all safety shoes. But in addition, there are requirements like wearing comfort and health protection. So safety shoes must offer a high comfort and benefit and support health. E. g. by means of the individualized fit and the special heel damping. The wearers stay fit longer, become less tired, and at the end of a long working day, they can say: we have made it well through the day.
  9. Is it worthwhile wearing safety shoes also for the service employees, like in the counter area? What do you recommend to those who attach importance to an elegant appearance?
    • In general, people sitting at the desk a lot do not need any safety shoes, but they do need good occupational shoes. The foot climate plays an important role there. And with STEITZ SECURA, climate technology is in the core of the brand. E. g. the insole made of real leather is important for that, it absorbs humidity and thus regulates the foot climate. This is an important advantage compared to many sports shoes or sneakers.
  10. How can STEITZ SECURA contribute to efficient operations with the Bahn?
    • By helping Bahn employees to feel well in their shoes. Then they can cope with the challenges in their working day – and do not have to hassle with ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoes. A train attendant who is one his/her feet all day long in the ICE or a regional express train has made quite a long hike until the evening. If he/she feels well in his/her shoes, staying fit and healthy, this is a contribution for him/her being able to do his/her job well. Somebody who feels well in his/her shoes is also more likely to offer a smile from time to time.
  11. So somehow, you have ended up at the Bahn after all …?
    • (laughs) In a way, you could say that – and of course, I am really happy that STEITZ SECURA can contribute a bit to the smooth running of this complex machinery. Besides, I also like to be an ‘advocate’ of the Bahn, as my wife keeps telling me. Whenever somebody complains about delays, I start to explain the complexity of the Bahn system. I really must defend the Bahn.

Michael Huth has been managing partner with STEITZ SECURA since 2010. He is 45 years old. Directly after his studies of business and economics, he started to work with the producer of safety and occupational shoes, and he joined the executive board in 2008. In addition, Huth is a member of the management board of the Federal Association of the Shoe and Leather Industry (Bundesverband der Schuh- und Lederwarenindustrie) and involved in the plenary assembly of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce. He has stuck with his passion for football and has been a member of Schalke 04 since 1994.