Tisza Cipő (Tisza Shoe) is a brand of Hungarian sports shoes that existed in the communist era. It has made a resurgence in recent years as a hip new fashion brand. “Cipő” is Hungarian for “shoe,” and Tisza is a river in Central Europe. The shoes in playful colours and designs are featured on the company’s web site.
The history of the brand starts in the first half of the 20th century in a small city of Martfű. For a time, Tisza Cipő was the biggest shoe producer in Hungary. After the end of the communist era, it had to cope with the competition from foreign companies, which turned out to be too hard for the local brand. However, the brand has managed to survive.
In the 1930s Thomas Bata came to Hungary to open a shoe factory somewhere in the country. During his journey, he visited Martfű where the railway, public and water traffic met, and he found it suitable for the Tisza Cipő factory. He bought the parcel in 1939. The construction began and the Cikta Rt (that’s the former name of the shoe company) started the production of loungers in 1942.
During World War II and immediately afterwards many things changed in the company; however, it never shut down. In August 1949, The Cikta Rt was renamed Tisza Cipő Nemzeti Vállalat (Tisza Shoe National Corporation). During the 1950s and 1960s, the company produced shoes for the inner market and exported only to socialist countries. In the 1970s the company introduced new lines of shoes, including sports shoes which turned out to be very popular among young customers. At that time the Tisza Cipő was the biggest producer of shoes in Hungary. They produced 10 million pairs of shoes annually and 3 million of them were gym shoes. Tisza Cipő also produced 2 million pairs of shoes for the socialist countries, and their shoes were even available in Kuwait and Liberia.
In the 1990s, the import grew and more and more brands competed for the domestic market. The Tisza Cipő reacted by focusing on street shoes rather than continuing with the production of sports shoes.
However, from the summer of 2003, the Tisza Cipő has again started to make sports shoes. Besides the old models, they offer new ones. In 2003, The Clash Kft has bought the rights of the usage of the Tisza trademark. This means that the Clash Company can use Tisza as a trademark and shoes can be produced anywhere, not just in the traditional Tisza Shoe Factory in Martfű. The Clash Kft also makes clothes and accessories.
Nowadays there are three places where Tisza shoes are produced and six shops where customers can buy them. The Clash Company also wants the Tisza trademark to remain purely Hungarian; therefore, the shoes are produced only in Hungary, although the completion of the shoes is very expensive.