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Karhu

One of the biggest sneaker label’s of the late 80’s and early 90’s, the Finnish label Karhu comes with a rich sporting history that spans back over 100 years all the way to 1916.  With a name that translates to "Bear" which has become their branded icon featured on almost all of their shoes. Shop the latest releases from the brand here at Stuarts London.

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Behind The Label

Karhu is a label with roots that are firmly placed in Track and Field. Launched in 1916 it originally making javelins, skis and discuses, quickly developing running spikes in time for the 1920 Olympics where its cult status was completed being the official equipment provider to the successful Finnish at the Olympic games. Continuing to grow in reputation due its association with sporting success Karhu also at some point sold its 3-stripes trademark to Adidas for two bottles of whisky and 1,600 euros in between helping the Finnish war effort during WWII where it manufactured camouflage uniforms, platoon tents, army boots, rucksacks, and skis for the Finnish army.

By the 60's Karhu had developed its now-iconic M-symbol which then went on to become the only trademark used in running shoes and is derived from the word “Mestari,” which means “champion” in Finnish. In the same decade, the label developed its first “trainer,” the Trampas due to demand from athletes. Two versions of the Trampas were produced: one with an M logo for around the track and a second without a logo for casual wear. A product line that the brand continued to develop, it continued its tradition of efficiency-driving innovation, developing the first patented “Air Cushion” midsole system for its running footwear in the 70's. Continuing to develop their footwear technology, it collaborated with the University of Jyväskylä which resulted in the development of the “Fulcrum” technology which was designed to keep all forces moving forward, using the body's natural energy to offer increased support.