Seven Facts You Didn’t Know About Canadian Brand KOMBI
The art of making warm gloves for icy winters
In January and February, when winter seemed like it might last forever, my brother and I would listen intently to the morning radio, waiting to hear those two words that kids’ dreams are made of: snow day. Not long after, we’d rummage through a mismatched box of gloves and mittens before finding a pair that would do the job for the day’s adventures to come. Tobogganing, building snowmen, throwing snowballs; it was all possible with the right gear on our hands. But on those really chilly days (you know the ones), I always knew it was time to surrender the snow forts when I felt the icy cold creeping up on my little fingers.
Having more recently traded toboggans for skis, I still know that cold hands are the deciding factor between going on one more run or retiring the poles. Yet while touring the KOMBI headquarters in Montreal, and after seeing all the technology and dedication that goes into making their gloves, I began to believe in a world where snow days don’t have to end. Speaking with different members of the KOMBI team revealed seven facts behind what makes the brand a leader in the art that is glove-making.
1. From work-glove origins to world-leading glove makers
Before KOMBI was KOMBI, they specialized in work and dress gloves under the name of Gold Glove company. They switched to making ski gloves when Danny Gold, the son of the company’s owner at the time and an avid ski racer, pushed them to offer ski gloves with knuckle protection. In 1961, they changed their name to KOMBI, drawing inspiration from the popular combination skis or “combis” of the 60s that were made of wood and metal. Not long after their new identity was born, the brand’s ownership was passed to Edward Pascal.
2. KOMBI puts family first
KOMBI’s success story has always been family-led and family-minded. During my visit to KOMBI, I chatted with Mark Pascal, the company’s CEO and owner. After working in nearly every role at KOMBI from the age of 15, Mark took over his position from his father, Edward Pascal.
But at KOMBI, the word “family” doesn’t just include the Pascals: it includes all employees, some of whom have been working there for as long as 30 years, and some who even have gloves named after them. It's apparent that this long-lasting care and respect they share for one another trickles down into the care and dedication they put into crafting their gloves, like their heated Blaze Mitts.
3. KOMBI gloves are made for harsh Canadian winters, by Canadians who live them
It takes a Canadian company to make a product that can stand up against harsh Canadian winters, whether you’re braving the backcountry or shoveling the driveway for the third time this week (and it’s only Wednesday). KOMBI lives through real Canadian winters, and like all of us, they understand how important it is to stay warm. When it comes to making gloves, this expertise - paired with forward-thinking design and advanced insulation technology - is crucial.
4. KOMBI holds the longest running partnership with GORE-TEX®
GORE-TEX®, the world’s leading waterproof-breathable membrane, may be a household name among outdoor enthusiasts today, but their partnership with KOMBI began back in the 80s. With this collaboration, KOMBI actually holds the longest-running brand partnership with GORE-TEX®, and according to Mark, their partnership with GORE-TEX® “has only gotten stronger over the years.”
5. Innovating warmth with PRIMALOFT® and THINDOWN® technology
There’s plenty of other technology that goes into creating the cozy feeling you get from slipping on KOMBI gloves, including PRIMALOFT® and THINDOWN®, which both help to provide advanced insulation. THINDOWN® is composed of down feathers contained between two layers of fabric, which I got a chance to feel before it goes into the gloves (like the Explorer Mitts) and find out what makes it so special.
I learned that sometimes, due to the feathers, a down filling can escape out of the glove. But this THINDOWN® technology is light, warm, and eliminates all the problems of down escaping. It’s this kind of innovation that keeps KOMBI at the forefront of glove design and keeps you equipped to get out there and play in the snow!
6. For KOMBI, sustainable design means durability
We’re all trying to integrate more sustainable practices into our lives, and the same goes for KOMBI. They introduced recycled materials into their gloves last year, working closely with their suppliers to be as attentive as possible to the sourcing of their materials. But they also use the best fabrics possible, which goes hand-in-hand with making durable gloves, like their Free Fall Glove or Keen Glove.
“The main quality of our gloves is that they’re super durable - and sometimes durability itself is just as important as the sustainable materials we put into our gloves, so our customers can keep them for years and years to come,” said Mark.
On top of their durable construction, KOMBI gloves also come with a 5-year warranty. That’s good news for those of us who have to withstand the same icy Canadian winters year after year: it’s not rare for many Canadians to still own and use a vintage pair of KOMBI gloves that have stood the test of time.
7. KOMBI has appeared on the silver screen, small screen, and the Olympic slopes!
You know the feeling: being stuck outside with gloves that are just too thin or not insulated well enough. In those moments when you might never feel your fingers again, you tell yourself, okay, now I’m really going to get some gloves that work. And that’s where KOMBI gloves come to the rescue.
These facts should help provide some insight into just how much dedication, technology, and years of family expertise goes into the right pair of gloves. KOMBI knows how to combine all these elements to create a ‘necessary accessory’ that’s optimal in every condition and every environment. Whether you’re outfitting your kid in gloves they won’t lose at recess, or need a glove that’s tougher than the weather you’re facing, KOMBI’s got you covered.