Hestra – one of the world’s leading glove brands
September 13, 2019
The family business Martin Magnusson & Co. was founded in 1936 and is now run by the third generation of Magnussons. Both design and development is done at the headquarters in the small town of Hestra.
Our gloves are manufactured in our own factories and we personally buy all leather, fabric, wool and other materials. This gives us control of the production chain and ensures a high level of quality. Several of our models are handmade by some of the most experienced glove makers in Europe.
In 2015, we produced over 2 million pairs of gloves. The company has about 50 employees at its headquarters in Sweden. We also have subsidiaries in the United States, Norway and Germany as well as agents, distributors and retailers in over 30 countries.
In addition to Scandinavia, the United States, Alp- countries and Japan are our largest markets. The owners and managers are brothers Claes and Svante Magnusson. They have two sons – the fourth generation of Magnussons – who also work at Hestra.
HESTRA is one of the leading international glove brands in skiing, outdoor recreation and leisure. We also develop gloves for professional uses such as construction work under the brand name HESTRA JOB. Design and product development is done in cooperation with some of the world’s best professional skiers and adventurers under the direction of Design director Marianne Knutsson-Hall.
Hestra Team Riders
In addition to cooperating with the Swedish and Norwegian ski teams, we get ideas, inspiration and knowledge from our Hestra Team Riders. They are a dozen successful, passionate actives who spend a great number of days outdoor. Read more about some of them here.
Design – 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 millimetres 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, but 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.