3 Stripes, 2 Bottles of Whisky, and a Finnish Sports Brand

Karhu, meaning “bear” in Finnish, is a leading sports brand, and has provided technical running and outdoor gear for 100 years. With an authentic heritage in athletics and a deep connection to the outdoors, Karhu follows the Finnish principles of design simplicity and running purity. Karhu shoes have been worn on the feet of the greatest Finnish runners, including Paavo Nurmi and five Boston Marathon champions.

Established in Helsinki in 1916, making javelins from Finnish birch, Karhu developed over the 20th Century into a leading manufacturer of specialist running shoes. Official suppliers of Finland’s Olympic team from 1920 and instrumental in the success of ‘The Flying Finns’, this is a footwear brand with serious heritage. Canny at the footwear production. Perhaps less canny in the business stakes. In 1960 Karhu sold their distinctive three stripes logo to a small German brand for the equivalent of 1,600 euros and two bottles of whisky.  Still nice to be a brand that goes slightly under the radar and not a global beast!

The SS19 ChampionAir “Kahvihetki” collection blends bright colours with traditional tones on these classic silhouettes. Some are inspired by the colour ways of original Karhu running shoes from the ’70s and ’80s while others have a more seasonal look and feel. The material selection is a mix of nylon and pigskin suede.