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what year was columbia sportswear founded

by:Tengfei     2023-08-11

Columbia Sportswear: A Legacy of Innovation and Sustainability

Founded in 1938, Columbia Sportswear is a leading innovator in outdoor apparel, footwear, accessories, and equipment. The company has a rich history of innovation and sustainability, driven by a commitment to provide high-quality products that help people enjoy the outdoors.

From humble beginnings to global success

Columbia Sportswear was founded by Paul Lamfrom, a German immigrant who arrived in Portland, Oregon, in the early 1900s. Inspired by the rugged Pacific Northwest terrain, he started producing hats, scarves, and other outdoor accessories. In 1938, together with his daughter Gert Boyle and her husband Neal, Lamfrom expanded the business by creating the Columbia Hat Company.

The company's first breakthrough came in the early 1960s, when it introduced the first fishing vest with multiple pockets, making it easier for anglers to carry their gear. In the 1970s, Columbia started producing skiwear and rainwear, becoming a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts. In the 1980s, the company launched its famous Bugaboo ski jacket, which became a best-seller and a classic of modern outdoor apparel.

Today, Columbia Sportswear is a global brand, with operations in more than 90 countries and a portfolio of respected brands such as Mountain Hardwear, Sorel, and prAna. The company is known for its high-quality products, innovative technologies, and commitment to sustainability.

Innovation at the heart of Columbia's success

Columbia Sportswear is renowned for its innovative technologies that enhance performance and comfort in outdoor activities. Over the years, the company has introduced many groundbreaking technologies, such as Omni-Heat, Omni-Tech, and OutDry. These technologies provide protection against cold, rain, and wind while enhancing breathability, moisture management, and durability.

Recently, the company has introduced new technologies that elevate the outdoor experience to new heights. For example, Columbia's SH/FT Footwear collection combines hiking-boot durability with street-worthy style, thanks to innovative cushioning, grippy outsoles, and waterproof features.

Sustainability: a core value of Columbia Sportswear

Columbia Sportswear is committed to sustainable practices that protect the environment and improve the social and economic conditions of the communities where it operates. The company has set ambitious sustainability goals, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% and sourcing 100% of its cotton from sustainable sources by 2025.

Columbia Sportswear also partners with organizations such as the Conservation Alliance, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and the Outdoor Industry Association to promote sustainable practices within the outdoor industry. In addition, the company has established a social responsibility program that supports community development, employee well-being, and human rights.

A bright future ahead

Columbia Sportswear's legacy of innovation and sustainability positions it for a bright future in the outdoor industry. The company's commitment to quality, performance, and sustainability drives its success, as it continues to provide innovative products that help people enjoy the outdoors while protecting the environment.

Looking ahead, Columbia Sportswear is investing in new technologies, collaborations, and channels that will expand its reach and enhance its impact. The company is also focused on improving its supply chain transparency and reducing its environmental footprint, aiming to be a leader in sustainable practices within the outdoor industry.


Columbia Sportswear's founding in 1938 marked the beginning of a legacy of innovation and sustainability that defines the company to this day. From fishing vests to ski jackets to high-tech footwear, Columbia has always been at the forefront of product design and technology. More importantly, the company's commitment to sustainability has become a core value that guides its actions and decisions. As Columbia Sportswear continues to grow and evolve, it is poised to make an even greater contribution to the outdoor industry and the planet.

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