Earlier this winter, Kanye West was spotted in Brentwood, CA, wearing a pair of sneakers sans the three stripes of Adidas. This made waves because a) Kanye has a sneaker deal with Adidas and b) No one could figure out what or where these seemingly unmarked sneakers had come from, until well-informed sneakerheads were quick to point out that West was wearing a pair of Karhu.
Karhu, which is Finnish for bear, is an athletic sportswear brand that was started over 100 years ago in Finland. When it was founded in 1916, the company’s main products were javelins, discuses, running shoes and track spikes. During the 1920 and 1924 Olympics, Finnish track athletes captured 13 gold medals in Karhu footwear. And in the early 1950s, Karhu sold its three stripes trademark to a fledgling German brand called Adidas for two bottles of whiskey and 1600 euro.
Fast forward to 2017 and Karhu is seeing an uptick in sales by West’s co-sign. But the Fusion 2.0 in its own right is worthy of attention no matter who might be caught wearing them. Built on top of Karhu’s Fulcrum Technology midsole, which provides runners with better stability and more cushioning, the Fusion 2.0 clean aesthetic easily rivals those from better known brands.
Even without celebrity endorsements, Karhu has consistently fired off sneakers-turned-lifestyle-kicks for over a century and if you’re looking for something new, then the Fusion 2.0 in mango and foggy dew are it.
The shoe is a lace-up front with round woven laces. The mixed material upper features suede with mesh underlays. A padded tongue and collar, heel pull tab and tonal stitching complete the look, which is at once retro and contemporary.
While Kanye’s Yeezy sneakers are almost always sold out, or re-sold with prices inching into the four figures, you can snag a pair of Karhu’s for just $140. But you’ll want to snag them fast. After all, anything Kanye touches — or wears — usually turns to sold-out gold.
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