Focus on Karhu

Focus on Karhu

The trainers of choice here at Frontiers, Karhu (est. 1916) are a renowned Finnish sports brand known for their pioneering technology in running shoes. While their original focus was manufacturing sporting goods out of locally grown birch, by the 1920 summer Olympics they had expanded to footwear, creating exclusive shoes for the ‘Flying Finns’ track team. The most notable being Paavo Nurmi, who won 9 gold medals that year.

By 1952 the team had expanded their total golds to 15, giving worldwide recognition to their shoe makers. Capitalising on this success, Karhu sold their original 3 stripe design to Adidas for two bottles of whiskey and the equivalent of 1600 euros. Their new ‘M’ logo, comes from the Finnish word for champion – Mestari.

First launched in the mid-1960s, the Trampas were created for the demanding track and fielding athletes that, until that time, had only spiked competition shoes to practice in.


The 1970s brought Karhu their patented (and much copied) air cushion midsole and shortly after, the iconic Albatross trainer.


The Synchron style – recognisable by the unorthodox lacing system in the toebox - first made their debut in 1980. The research and design team wanted to provide a better fitting upper and came up with the innovative lacing system for added comfort and durability.


The 1990s at Karhu gave us the Aria… Featuring two technological innovations in running footwear: an internal carbon fiber fulcrum in the midsole for a smooth transition, and a mono tongue upper construction for added comfort.