The Prenzlauer Berg outpost of Zeha shoes. (Courtesy of Zeha)
The story of Zeha is the typical Berlin one: influenced by changing times, unconventional, and visionary. Founded by Carl Häßner over 100 years ago, the Zeha label earned success with its sports shoes, which became the official sneakers of the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and were worn on the playground, in school, and by East German athletes. For the 2006 Football World Cup, the company paid homage to its founder and resurrected the retro style of the ‘50s with its Carl Häßner Collection, still a bestseller today. Their stores tell a story as well: The Kreuzberg shop is an authentic shoe factory, the Schöneberg one an old-fashioned living room, and the Prenzlauer Berg space a former gym, with strategically placed medicine balls and old parallel bars.