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.
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.