History | Nordic Shoemakers Since 1960
Born in Pomarkku, Finland 1960
It all began in a rental cottage in the small town of Pomarkku, Finland in 1960. There Toivo and Kirsti Leppänen started making shoes for toddlers. There was no need for warehouses and stocks, as the finished products were delivered on a bicycle to the nearby railway station at the end of the day. The operations quickly expanded – new machinery acquired, factories built and employees hired. Although volume grew bigger, selection widened and sales steadily increased, Toivo and Kirsti never compromised quality. As the business grew, so did the family. At the same fast pace, Päivi, Birgit and Marko were born.
1970’s – 1980’s Pehmis Introduced | Pop icon designs
In the 1970s our focus was on developing the collection. It paid off as the now legendary Pehmis style was born. It has sold over one million pairs during the years. In 2010s remodelled new Pehmis pays hommage to the original everyman style and has gained a bit of a cult status among younger generation. Towards the end of the 1970s we started exporting shoes to Sweden and Norway, but also to the Soviet Union.
Our main focus in the 1980’s was in domestic market and exports to the West, we enlisted the support of Finnish pop & rock stars such as Dingo to strengthen our brand and bring their creative touches to our designs helping our growth in Sweden, Denmark and Western Europe.
1990’s – Changing Times | GORE-TEX® License obtained
The 1990s saw a new generation of family members take over as Toivo and Kirsti’s daughter Päivi became the CFO and their son-in-law Jarno was appointed the CEO. They set-about focusing on differentiating Pomar’s footwear.
In 1994 GORE-TEX® license was finally acquired when Pomarfin became the first and only Finnish shoe manufacturer with a licence to produce GORE-TEX® shoes. The 1990’s also saw Pomar locate part of the production in Pärnu, Estonia.
The ‘90s saw the introduction of The Pomar Curling Boot, gaining a cult status especially in Sweden.
2000’s - GORE-TEX® collections Increase
In the 2000s our use of GORE-TEX® grew throughout our collections. It proved to be a winning concept for the harsh Nordic climate, the waterproof and breathable membranes were perfect for the ever changing weather conditions of the North.
Our focus on needing to protect against the harsh climate, but also offer comfortable, durable and importantly stylish footwear continued. We gave special attention to quality materials, designs, and our production methods. We continued to add enhanced technical features such as special rubber compounds (Anti-Slip Rubber) and Memory Foam insoles.
2010’s – Nordic Casual Designs | The Modern Classic Pomar Felt Boot
The 2010’s has seen our brand, design and new techniques of shoemaking continue to evolve. Our collections continue to include innovative concepts and ideas, modern materials and which follow our Nordic Casual design philosophy. We are now offering a wider range of GORE-TEX® membranes and using eco-friendly and sustainable TERRACARE leathers, we also introduced our first Vegan shoes too.
In 2017 The Felt Boot Collection received a 2017 Fennia Prize Hounourable Mention for excellent design. This GORE-TEX® wool felt collection has become a modern classic, covered widely in the media for being warm, rugged, waterproof, breathable, lightweight and beautiful.
Today – Still Family Owned – Still Handmaking our Shoes in Europe
Today we are excited to be exporting to new market areas in Japan, Italy and Spain. In addition to our traditional market areas in the Nordics – Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the Baltics. The company is still fully family owned and the third generation is learning the ways and earning their wings - Pomar is looking ahead.