THE HISTORY OF KARHU



1916
Karhu is Born — Ab sportartiklar Oy establishes a small workshop in down- town Helsinki where locally sourced birch is transformed into the first products: javelins, skis and discuses. Running shoes are also developed and land on the feet of Hannes Kolehmainen, the first “Flying Finn”, and Ville Ritola.
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1920
Flying Finns — The company name is changed to Karhu, which is Finnish for bear. “The Flying Finns” dominate tracks around the world, garnering recognition for Karhu running shoes. Oh, and a guy named Paavo Nurmi returns back home with nine Olympic gold medals.
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1950
The Three Stripes — Karhu dominates the 1952 Helsinki Olympics with 15 gold medal-winning spikes, including those of Emil Zatopek. Karhu sells its three stripes trademark to a now well-known athletic shoe company that still uses it to this day.
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1960
M-symbol — Karhu officially registers its famous M- symbol—the only trademark used in running shoes—derived from the word “Mestari,” which means “champion” in Finnish. Various designs of the M-logo have adorned Karhu shoes over the years which are still in use today.
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1970
Air — Continuing its tradition of efficiency-driven innovation, Karhu develops the first patented “Air Cusion” mid- sole system for its running footwear.
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1986
Fulcrum — Karhu R&D’s collaboration with the University of Jyväskylä results in the development of the “Fulcrum” technology. The fulcrum is a cushioning system designed to Move Forward.
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2016
Ortix Fit — The 100 year history of Karhu sees the brand continuing to innovate its footwear collection. Karhu develops Ortix Fit to provide runners with the next level of comfort.
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2018
Fit id — In collaboration with Fleet Feet, Karhu utilizes fit id to develop the first shoe created on foot scan measurements.