Recently I had the opportunity to pack my bags for a ten day trip around different parts of Scandinavia. Officially I was on company business, but since I work for Karhu, a Finnish sports brand (since 1916), I was lucky that my company business also coincides with my kind of fun business – digging for vintage sneakers!
You might think it’s all been pillaged over the years, and in some parts of the world that is true, but what I found was truly staggering, and my dreams were more than fulfilled! Of course the local sports retail business has followed the worldwide trend during the last decades: chain stores are conquering all corners and independent dealers are suffering. However, I still managed to track down 40 mainly independent doors by focusing on the smaller cities and villages.
During the first couple of days I made some nice finds, including some original Karhus with three stripes. Not many people know this but Karhu had the three stripes trademark and sold the rights to adidas in the 1950s. I also found some Nike spikes from the early 80s plus a nice selection of runners and basketball shoes. Later that week I stumbled across a real goldmine: a shop with literally hundreds of pairs of deadstock footwear, plus some apparel and equipment. I had to leave lots of stuff behind, but bagged some Nike Zoom Mariahs, adidas boxing shoes, Karhu Arias and tons of cool running apparel. The place was amazing!
Second week started slower, but after I found Nike Air Legends from 1982, I knew the luck was changing. I dug in some attics, basements and in between spotting some interesting Karhu Blue or Nike Red boxes, I managed to find some Bianchi and Olmo and Pinarello racing bikes, but I guess that’s a whole other story! I also dug out some old adidas track tops and an interesting pair of Karhu Bandit basketball shoes from the early 90s. A small shop also had two pairs of adidas Alaska – old winter boots which were too intriguing to pass.
All in all, there is definitely some amazing stuff still out there. I’m not telling exactly where I went… but with Finland being the home turf of Karhu, you can guess I was there at some point, and I hope to get back before somebody else beats me to it!