Short freeride glove made of soft, supple cowhide aniline. Outseams for increased comfort and superior pole grip.
Users drive our design
Since our beginning in 1936, we have developed several thousand models of gloves. All product development takes place in our design studio in Hestra, Sweden, under the direction of Design Director, Marianne Knutsson-Hall.
The technical possibilities available in glove manufacturing today are great. However, making gloves for different needs and environments requires a special set of skills. The needs of Mountaineers are different from the needs of a family with children. Vasaloppet competitors have certain demands, while kayak paddlers have others.
Hestra gloves are used in activities where the hands are put to the test. We make gloves for everyone from fighter pilots to artisans. This means that finding the right balance between aspects like durability, cold and moisture resistance and flexibility is extremely important. To do this, we cooperate closely with people who place the highest demands on their equipment. Simply maximizing the properties – durability, water resistance and insulation – seldom results in a good glove.
After almost eight decades in the business, we’ve acquired great experience and knowledge of materials and craftsmanship. We’ve learnt how to combine different materials, insulations and linings to achieve the results that we want. Most important is the fit of the glove and achieving this is a result of having found the right balance of materials.
It starts with the raw material
In our world, 0.1 millimeter can make a big difference. When we choose the thickness of the leather, that measurement is the margin that determines whether the glove on your hand will feel soft and supple or stiffer and more robust. As qualified glove makers, Anton and Niklas can feel with their hands which type of glove a leather hide is suitable for.
Their experience is also valuable when we are selecting materials for our gloves. The thickness of the hide is not only important for the feel of the finished glove, it is also crucial to how well the glove holds up to wear and tear. Our gloves are produced from different types of hides and skins of varying thicknesses. The intended purpose and wearer of the glove determine which skin is used. Freeriders and ski patrollers, who use their gloves in challenging conditions every day, require more durable, initially stiffer, gloves than those worn by holiday skiers.
Leather is a natural material which means that each hide is unique. It has tiny irregularities, pigment marks and sometimes scars too. The amount of stretch varies in the different sections of the hide. It is the work of the glove maker to see the potential of the leather and use its qualities to the best advantage. Leather does not have the controllable accuracy of synthetic materials – and that’s where its beauty and the challenge of working with leather come in.
From lumberjacks to mountaineers
Hands come first at Hestra. For 80 years, we have been developing gloves that provide warmth, protection and fingertip sensitivity in the most varied conditions. Today, our range comprises more than 400 styles. It may sound a lot, but people and hands are different. That’s why different gloves are needed.
Everything that we do today has grown out of the timber forests of the uplands in the Swedish province of Småland. That is where Martin Magnusson and his family settled and where he began making gloves in 1936. Magnusson set up his workshop in a farmhouse and started making gloves for the local lumberjacks.
In 1937, a ski slope was created nearby and as its popularity grew, Magnusson saw a new market for his high quality, durable gloves. His sons, Lars-Olof and Göte, became keen skiers and started working in the family business in their teens. Over the years, the word about our gloves spread to places beyond the village that gave us our name. Sweden was becoming a nation of enthusiastic skiers and the sport’s popularity grew in the 1960s. With their avid interest in skiing, Lars-Olof, Göte and their brother-in-law Lennart made sure that Hestra jumped on the bandwagon.
Since then, two more generations of the Magnusson family have entered the company; Svante and Claes, who grew up among skis and gloves, and now their sons, Niklas, Jacob, Anton and Jonas too.
Today, Hestra has a presence in over 25 countries and, although we now have three factories and manufacture gloves for sports, fashion and professional uses, much hasn't really changed. The focus remains on hands and gloves. And Hestra is still our home.