Hannes Kolehmainen’s spike shoes play an interesting part in the history of Finnish sporting goods industry. In 1910 Arvo Hohenthal founded a company called Oy Urheilutarpeita – Sportartiklar Ab in Helsinki to sell sports implements, mainly javelins. Hannes Kolehmainen, who had already made a name for himself as runner, needed a new pair of shoes for the Stockholm Olympic Games of 1912. Hohenthal placed an order for him and travelled himself to London with exact measurements of the runner’s foot.
The shoes that arrived from London were too long and narrow, but it was too late to make any adjustments. Kolehmainen used the ill-fitting shoes in Stockholm and won three gold medals anyway. Hohenthal decided that Finnish athletes should never again need to suffer from sub-standard footwear. His company (later known as Karhu) started to manufacture sports shoes, including the ones Kolehmainen used to win Olympic gold in marathon in 1920.