Karhu: The Brand That Sold Adidas The Three Stripes

Karhu Originals are coming to London along with an exhibition of vintage running shoes. Have a look at some Karhu classics ...
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Karhu Originals are coming to London along with an exhibition of vintage running shoes. Have a look at some Karhu classics ...

#140829910 / gettyimages.com

Ever heard of Karhu? The Finnish running brand you say? Nope. Still none the wiser. Well the brand originates from back in 1916, with an authentic heritage in running shoe manufacturing.

Back in the 1940's, they were the brand with the trademark three stripes. Several medals during the 1952 Olympics where won in Karhu shoes. But somewhere around the mid 1950's the sauna steam must have gone to their heads as they sold their trademark to one nowadays well known brand. All for the gentlemanly sum of two bottles of whisky and around €1600 as a sweetener.

Another surprising fact is that they are also the original inventor of the Air Cushioned shoe. It was in the 1970's that Karhu figured something was needed to carry the weight of the runner and absorb the pressure of the knees. After considering installing a spring in the shoe (LOLZ), they invented the Karhu Champion, which is the first model using the Air Cushion sole.

Karhu's shoes today utilize Fulcrum Technology. It is a midsole solution that makes energy from the runner flow horizontally instead of vertically. A triangular, hard compressed unit that allows the foot to roll effectively, allowing your feet to move through their natural path as fast and safe as possible. Developed by Karhu in the 1980's Fulcrum Technology is stilll an integral part of the current line.

Karhu Originals launches its first season in London sneaker store Foot Patrol this week, with an accompanying exhibition of vintage running shoes from different eras. Footwear enthusiasts will feast their eyes on the Karhu Outdoor shoe from 1940,

Three Stripe Spike from 1947, (From before they sold the 3 Stripe trademark)

Champion from 1976, (First ever air cushioned sole)

Kevlar from 1980,

Karhu London from 1980;

Albatross from 1982;

Karhu BSR-10 Court shoe from 1983;

Helsinki from 1983;

Snowjogger form 1985;

Blue Lady from 1986;

Aria from 1991.

Karhu running shoes are now available at Foot Patrol

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