The original three stripe brand.
Karhu was founded in 1916, changing its name to Kahru from the original, Ab Sportartiklar Oy, in 1920. In its early years pretty much all Finnish athletes wore Karhu which is no mean feat, as during this time they were some of the worlds best in their fields.
During their early years their trademark was three stripes on each side of a shoe, used on all of the shoes and seen at all of the Olympics courtesy of then being worn by those Finnish athletes. They sold the trademark to one Adolf Dassler in 1951, then created the one they have used since, the bold M, standing for Mestari (champion in Finnish).
Over the years they have innovated at a level that is surprising, unless you are an avid fan. They created the first air cushioned running shoe, for instance. In the early 1970s, soon after this line of shoes went in to production, several top Finnish athletes were invited to Oregon by Steve Prefontaine as they were widely known as some of the best in their disciplines. On this trip they took their Karhu 'Air' trainers and wore them all the time. Shortly after this a local brand developed what has gone on to become a foundation for their global success, their own air cushioning for trainers. In this line or air cushioned trainers was the Albatross, a shoe that they still produce and one which we are proud to stock.
Another of their innovations that was taken on by most major sports companies is the pivot point in basketball shoes. The pivot point on the sole unit of a basketball shoe enables quicker and more stable turning on the court, helping the player in this fast paced sport where agility is key. No wonder then that another of Karhu's innovations has become integral in basketball shoes ever since.
Karhu, the epitome of going your own way, not shouting but just doing.