Little Explorers

Palladium: The new kids’ boot on the block.

ICONIC BOOT BRAND Palladium knows that grown-ups shouldn’t get to have all the fun. Based on the success of a small range of kids’ canvas boots introduced last year, the brand is launching a scaled-down version of its full adult collection available beginning Fall ’12.

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Palladium: The new kids’ boot on the block.

ICONIC BOOT BRAND Palladium knows that grown-ups shouldn’t get to have all the fun. Based on the success of a small range of kids’ canvas boots introduced last year, the brand is launching a scaled-down version of its full adult collection available beginning Fall ’12.

Like the originals, which were first made in 1947 for the French Foreign Legion, the miniature styles feature a thick, sturdy rubber sole that can handle whatever mischief kids get into. Unlike the originals, Palladium has added some updates, like more luxurious materials and revamped silhouettes. Even with these changes, the shoes are as hardwearing as ever and made to handle the rough and tumble life of kids, says Barney Waters, vice president of marketing for the brand, based in Westlake Village, CA.

“Palladium has a background in proven functionality and we’ve got a modern reputation for being relevant and stylish: Style and function go together,” Waters says. “Our boot has the classic Palladium outsole with the rubber tab that lends itself perfectly to kids, and with a rubber toe bumper and sole, it’s absolutely ideal.”

The Blanc Collection, a sporty spin on the brand’s classic silhouette, has colorful uppers and a white outsole. Shoelaces can be tricky things for little fingers to manage, so a double-zipper entry on the waterproof Pampa Gusset boot makes life easier for all. The Pilot Collection, inspired by aviator bomber jackets, is lined with shearling and features antique cracked leather uppers. The Baggy hi-top has a fold-over plaid lining, and for added warmth, the leather version is lined with wool from toe to heel.

The kids’ collection is backed by a full-fledged promotional campaign, including mini-versions of the brand’s signature ‘rubble bin’ displays, containing real concrete rubble, to showcase the collection in stores. “I think it was just a natural evolution of the growth of the brand,” says Waters. “Once your adult line starts to take hold, the next thing is to start expanding, and kids is the next place to go, especially if you have a toe bumper and a tough rubber bottom: It’s durable, it lasts.”

And if that’s not enough, an affordable price point is another reason Waters expects the boots to become a firm favorite of parents’ pockets: Styles start at just $35 for suggested retail and come in infant size 0 to kids’ size 7. —Lyndsay McGregor

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