Columbia Sportswear was founded in 1938 in Portland, Oregon as the Columbia Hat Company, and when Gert Boyle sewed Columbia’s first fishing vest in 1980, she set the company on the path to becoming something much larger. An international leader in the outdoors, it offers a broad line of clothing, shoes, accessories, and equipment that have earned the company a reputation for innovation, quality, and performance.
Columbia established itself as a frontrunner with the introduction of the Bugaboo, the first interchangeable 3-in-1 ski jacket. This type of jacket is common today, but in 1986, the idea of two jackets that could be worn either together or independently was revolutionary. Today, the 3-in-1 is just one of a wide assortment of skiwear featuring both Gore-Tex technology and Columbia’s own proprietary Omni-Dry and Omni-Tech waterproof protection.
Columbia continues to introduce innovations in its snow wear line, which includes both insulated ski jackets and pants as well as technical shells and gloves. One of the latest is the revolutionary Omni-Heat thermal reflective lining, which boosts a garment’s warmth by reflecting, and thus retaining, the wearer’s body heat. This technology was at the core of the line of outerwear that Columbia produced for the US, Canadian, and Russian freestyle ski teams for the 2014 Olympic Games. It was lauded by the athletes for offering superior warmth without the need for bulky insulation that would impede their mobility. Columbia has a tradition of outfitting both athletes and broadcasters for the Olympics, as well as the X Games and America’s Cup, since 1994.
Since the ‘80s, Columbia has continued to add to its product line, including a full line of hiking gear. Hikers and backpackers will find hiking boots and shoes that offer sturdy yet lightweight support; shirts, shorts, and pant that feature high-tech protection against sun and insects; and technical daypacks. In fact, all Columbia products feature technology driven by the needs of the activity. Fishing shirts and pants, for example, are treated with Columbia’s Blood ‘n Guts stain-repellent technology. Performance tops meant for running are made from the new Omni-Freeze fabric that cools you off when you sweat. Water and boat shoes feature built-in drainage to keep your feet drier. Sunglasses are polarized to reduce eye fatigue when you’re casting on the river.
Columbia’s dedication to award-winning innovation complements its commitment to durable, functional clothing for every occasion. From wind and rain jackets, to down and fleece jackets, to casual clothes designed for active lifestyles, Columbia’s products align with its stated mission to: design and deliver authentic, outdoor, high-value products for active consumers of all ages.