It was in Finland in 1916—over 100 years ago today—that Ab Sportartiklar Oy started building sports products from locally-sourced birch. He made javalines, skis, and discusses. He also made track spikes that gained rapid worldwide recognition. They were crafted exceptionally well, and a handful of Olympians wore them over the next decade. His company was named Karhu (Finnish for the word “bear”), and it quickly became a household name, a gold standard for superior footwear.
Indeed, for the next several decades, the company stayed on the leading edge of the running industry. First, in the 70s, they developed the “Air Cushion” midsole (they sold over a million pairs of air cushioned-shoes). Then it was the forward-propelling Fulcrum technology in the 80s, followed by Ortix in the 90s, a system designed to help stabilize pronation.
And yet, despite such forward-thinking, the company slowly lost its reach somewhere in the 80s. While big shoe brands outsourced production to Asia, Karhu kept hand making their products in Finland. While sure, they managed to maintain their authentic roots that way; they struggled to keep up with a fast-moving global economy. Until today. Today, Karhu is making a major come back.
Read the full interview HERE!