Chills & Thrills
Spanning the extremes of peak performance to casual bliss, leading outdoor brands offer a broad range of styles for Spring ’18.
Retailing for $150, the Horizon is light, fast and built for long treks. Highlighting Under Armour’s evolution into trail running, a smooth heel-to-toe transition allows for less fatigue over longer miles and an integrated collar prevents debris from entering the shoe. Meanwhile, a podular rubber outsole decreases weight by only adding rubber where the wearer needs extra grip.
Adam T. Garrett, director, outdoor footwear, reports thumbs up reactions across the board from retail partners and wear testers, who proclaim the style is among the best they’ve tried. “With such strong tester feedback, this style will be a standout next to its competitors,” Garrett predicts. “The rim-and-core construction gives instantaneous underfoot comfort and the integrated collar keeps your feet blister- and debris-free over long miles.”
In an effort to adapt to inconsistent and unpredictable seasonal temperatures, Bearpaw is showcasing Q4/Q1 styles that are suitable for whatever Mother Nature may throw at us. Its standout for Spring ’18 is the Haden ($60 SRP), a hybrid oxford on a lightweight blown-EVA outsole. With a perforated upper and hidden elastic band across the vamp, the laceless style offers flexible fit and easy on-and-off. A 6mm latex cushion microsuede footbed allows the style to be worn with or without socks.
For colors, Bearpaw is betting on feminine pastels including lilac, sand and dove gray. “We’re looking to fill that void in the market for trans-seasonal, versatile footwear that’s also comfortable,” says Denise LeMons, head designer. “This shoe offers durability that you can wear barefoot or with socks when it’s chillier,” she adds. “And the suede is treated with NeverWet, so if you’re caught out in a rainstorm, you’re protected.”
Designed for any terrain or trail, the Keen Targhee II features a dual-density, compression-molded EVA midsole and a removable footbed for cushioning and arch support. Its aggressive outsole delivers high-traction grip with 4mm multi-directional lugs. Paired with an ESS shank, injected TPU heel-capture system and waterproof, full-grain Nubuck leather upper (sporting a leather mud shield and breathable mesh lining), this style offers breakthrough durability and resilience for Spring ’18.
“We have updated the iconic and trusted Targhee franchise with this bolder, edgier design that delivers the trail-ready performance and comfort our fans expect,” offers Kieth Carrato, business unit director, trailhead. “We utilized Keen technologies and coupled them with new designs and updated materials.” Carrato reports excited reactions from buyers for both the mid (SRP $145) and low ($135).
Davide Degano product manager for Kamik, describes the Jessie as “part rain boot, part sneaker, all comfort.” He predicts the style’s marriage of athleisure and classic rain boot will make waves come spring, featuring lightweight rubber and a thick, anatomically shaped EVA footbed. In addition, recyclable and made-in-the-U.S. product attributes provide attractive consumer touch points at retail. (Not to mention the children’s Riptide style for mommy-and-me pairings.)
Retailing for $65 SRP, Degano says reactions to the boot—which he adds is as comfortable as a sneaker—have been positive. “The Jessie addresses the increasing need for comfort with a trendy, athleisure design while continuing to feature Kamik’s durable technologies,” he says. “With the lines blurring between work and play and a booming athleisure market, we think consumers will gravitate toward the modern, functional style.”
Turning rainy days into adventures in style, this rain shoe from Cougar draws inspiration from athleisure to create a new look in the category. Rainy Day features a handcrafted textured rubber upper on a lightweight anti-slip sole. Paired with a breathable jersey lining and leather insole, the style delivers comfort and versatility in any weather.
Retailing for $60, President Steve Sedlbauer reports the response has been “tremendous” thus far. “It represents a viable alternative to the heavy/utilitarian rainwear that is currently saturating the category,” he says. “This style has been resonating with travel-based magazines and fashion influencers, alike.”
Available for women and children, this classic moc bootie ($68 SRP) features lush deerskin leather inside and a bright, serape-inspired fabric upper for breathability and a fresh pop of style. A new take on Minnetonka’s popular Classic fringe boot, the flexible outsole is ideal for walking or lounging.
Toni Nelson, vice president and national sales manager, reports that the reaction has been so positive, the brand fast-tracked the style from Spring ’18 to September ’17 delivery. “We’ve been receiving orders daily from accounts across the country,” Nelson says. “The style is clearly Minnetonka—from the high-quality leather, Western-inspired details and all-day comfort craftsmanship.”
The motto for Merrell’s Sunstone Sandal ($80 SRP) is, “pack light, live big,” says Elizabeth Gutierrez, active lifestyle product marketing specialist for the subsidiary of Wolverine Worldwide. Ultra lightweight construction makes the style extremely packable for exploring cityscapes or light terrain between excursions.
Rock climbing bungee straps are a nod to Merrell’s rich outdoor heritage, making a style statement as well as allowing for breathability and easy on-and-off. “The reaction to the Sunstone is mirroring the original intention,” Gutierrez reports. “Easy on-and-off, versatility and all-day comfort for urban exploration.”
For those who want to move fast in the mountains, the Terrex Two trail runner ($120 SRP) from Adidas Outdoor features breathable mesh and lightweight cushioning built for performance training and competition. In step with the brand’s movement to be more eco-conscious, the upper is made with water-saving materials. A BOA closure system offers micro-adjustment and secure, consistent hold while TPU overlays on the upper lend durability and support. Continental rubber outsoles offer grip, holding the trail with smooth roll-off, even in wet conditions.
“Speaking to Adidas eco-innovation platform, the NoDye style skips the dying step to use less water, less energy and fewer chemicals,” says Greg Thomsen, managing director, Adidas Outdoor. “Consumers are looking for sustainability, function and style—the Terrex Two BOA checks all three boxes.”
After hiking, biking or running, the Oofos recovery sneaker is designed to absorb 37 percent more impact than traditional footwear. Already a hit for women, the OOmg sneaker is slated to release in men’s for Spring ’18. Four-way stretch mesh uppers conform to the foot, allowing for natural movement during the recovery process, and a stretchable strap across the vamp adds support without binding.
“The new style is great for walking around the city when traveling or after a long workout,” says Duncan Finigan, marketing director. She notes that women had reached out to the company hoping to get the style for their husbands. “We think the new men’s sizes and colors will be a huge hit at retail,” she says. “We have been hearing from both our male and female customers that they want more colors and sizes. This is the answer to that feedback.”
Early tests at retail provided exceptional reads on the Taos Zen sandal, reports President Glen Barad. Retailing for $110, the style is casual and comfortable, featuring the brand’s Soft Support premium footbed with Cool Recover Foam.
Multiple points of adjustability and a lightweight outsole with rubber stabilizer ensure ideal fit for long trips and quick jaunts alike. With grosgrain-and-suede uppers for style, Barad says the reaction to the Zen thus far has been “better than great.”
This breakout style for Spring ’18 pushes Naot into a whole new category, reports President Steve Lax. Priced at $150 retail, the Pixie is more fashion-forward than previous styles from the European-made brand, featuring a cork latex insole on a slight wedge and a padded heel strap. “The excitement has been unbelievable,” Lax says. “To have a comfort shoe that’s sexy is unique.” Lax predicts the Pixie, in sleek white and silver, will be a sellout for brides and mothers-of-the-bride next wedding season.
Part of the Alberta Lifestyle collection, the Alissa marks Dansko’s continued push into athleisure. Gold leather suede uppers are on-trend with warmer metallics, giving women the flexibility to wear to work or out and about in the city. And it doesn’t skimp on performance, featuring a 3M Scotchgard protector for stain-resistant uppers, anti-microbial Aegis R treatment in the footbed and lining for odor control, and removable molded EVA footbeds with Dansko’s Natural Arch technology.
“Our entire lifestyle collection continues to perform well,” says Sal Agati, senior vice president global design and sourcing. “This particular style is generating excitement with retailers [across categories].”
This heritage hiker–inspired design has outdoor roots, but its lightweight fabric materials and high-rebound sole are ideal for city exploration and light terrain. Retailing for $130, the hi-top includes Timberland’s Aerocore energy system, a knit sock upper and a sneaker bottom for athleisure styling.
“Reaction to the FlyRoam has been incredible,” reports Gregg Duffy, senior director of Outdoor Performance Footwear, noting that Timberland’s outdoor and bootmaking heritages comes through with this new design. “With the heart of a boot and the soul of a sneaker, the FlyRoam blends the best of both worlds with unprecedented durability, rebound and the looks to match.” Also available in leather, $140 SRP.
Following intensive research into outdoor consumer needs, Tecnica returns to the U.S. market after a six-year hiatus with the Forge trekking boot (SRP $270). The style combines a precise anatomical fit right out of the box with additional heat moldable customization capabilities performed in-store. Thanks to the Custom Adaptive Shape (C.A.S.) system—first used in Tecnica’s alpine ski boots—retailers can perform a fully heat moldable custom fit in just 20 minutes. (The cost of the C.A.S. system is covered by three free pairs of boots.) Additional boot features include an overlap cuff design, self-locking lace system, Gore-Tex liners, Adaptive Sole System and a Vibram Megagrip outsole. Available in men’s and women’s styles.
“The custom fit process is designed to get consumers into stores,” says Leslie Baker-Brown, marketing manager, Tecnica. She adds that the initial launch for Spring ’18 is targeted at select specialty dealers and, if all goes well, the collection may be expanded to include low-cut hikers the following year.