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Martin Magnusson began producing durable leather gloves for lumberjacks in 1936, in the small town of Hestra in southern Sweden. However, it wasn’t long before he branched out into new markets. Only a year later, a ski slope was built nearby, and as ski tourism grew rapidly in the area Magnusson realized that skiers needed good gloves, too. Taking his knowledge of glovemaking and applying it to this new, rapidly growing sport, Magnusson created one of the leading international glove brands for skiing, outdoor recreation, and leisure.
Hestra was guided along this path by Martin Magnusson’s sons, dedicated alpine skiers who took over the company in 1963. Hestra became increasingly associated with skiing success; Ingemar Stenmark, the legendary Swedish racer, skied to fame while wearing Hestra ski gloves. Hestra has equipped the Swedish national ski team since 1975, and Norwegian national ski team since 1981. Over the last decade, the company has undergone significant growth, both in economic terms and in the breadth of its product lines. In addition to gloves for cross-country and alpine skiing, Hestra now makes gloves for a growing number of activities such as biking, water sports, and mountaineering. In addition to its men’s gloves, it offers products designed specifically for women and kids.
Hestra gloves are known world-wide for both quality and the near-exclusive use of fine leather in its gloves. Protective yet breathable, durable yet supple, leather is the ultimate glove and mitten material. Hestra uses eight different kinds of leather in its products, matching the material to its intended use. In fact, Hestra sources all its own leather, textiles, wool, and other materials to give it complete control of the entire production chain and ensures high quality at every stage. Several models of Hestra gloves are handmade by some of the most experienced glove makers in Europe.
In addition to top-quality materials and construction, Hestra products are renown for their design. Design and development is done in cooperation with some of the world’s top pro skiers and adventurers to ensure real-world relevance. Some Hestra signature designs and features include the three-finger glove, the Hestra ‘handcuff’ retainer leash, and removable liner gloves. Models for cross-country skiing and biking emphasize fit, grip, and protection from the wind, while those made for mountaineering are notably versatile. And Hestra’s casual gloves are uniformly supple and elegant.
In this age of company diversification and brand dilution, Hestra has stuck by its original mission and even its original ownership. The company still only produces gloves and mittens, and is still run by the Magnusson family. And its commitment to quality has never wavered in its nearly 80-year history. Now that’s focus.