Outdoor Retail Gear Trends: 2016 Watershoes / Sandals

Highly specific water footwear that can easily evolve into shoes fit for the land. See what's ahead for retail shelves in 2016.

Water-loving consumers for spring/summer 2016 will seek highly functional footwear that is designed to get wet; dry quickly; grip slippery decks, river rocks and boat surfaces; and withstand repeated abuse from salt water and strong sun.

And work well on land, too.

TrekSta’s new Equinox (MSRP $95) exemplifies the consumer value for functional, versatile water-specific footwear with quick drying, easy-to-close laces; a comfortable footbed made with ultralight EVA; and HyperGrip, TrekSta’s proprietary sticky sole. All in all, it’s a shoe that can easily transition from sea to land. Also check out TrekSta’s new Kisachie (MSRP $120), an open sandal-like shoe specifically designed for paddlers who love to camp. Suitable for hiking and kayaking, this high-tech shoe features a Neoprene-esque liner for comfort and fit. “We are consistently on the forefront of new technology to make footwear better, and these latest advancements … continue to showcase that mindset,’’ TrekSta’s Sales Director Rob McCurdy said.


Versatility in the form of amphibious footwear is trending on the show floor. As popularity in activities like triathalon, SUP and fly-fishing rises, manufacturers are responding to market demand with targeted footwear that can easily transition into land-based activities. Teva, Icebug, Sperry, Bogs and Columbia deliver on footwear designed for specific sports that still maintain functionality outside their core activity.

“This season, we’re pushing the envelope of what’s expected in our original sandals with new materials, textures, prints and patterns,” said Teva’s Lorie Pointer. “Our goal is to bring unexpected materials to the marketplace each season in order to keep our consumers interested and engaged.” Case in point, Teva’s Terra-Float Universal (MSRP $95), made with the brand’s new lightweight, extra comfortable material called Float-Lite.


Icebug’s Aeshna RB9X (MSRP $170) — named after the Hawker dragonfly, an insect that is born in the water — is inspired by the new swim and run trend, but geared for more casual use. Designed for maximum water drainage, this shoe has a grippy outsole, lightweight sandwich mesh upper, and is comfy enough for all-day water activities. Your customers can swim in the morning, shove their wet feet into the shoes, check out the farmer’s market and finish the day with a sunset run.

Sperry’s new Flex for women (MSRP $75) is a perfect slip-on flat designed for SUP adventures, thanks to its patented footbed Son-R technology that provides feedback for greater stability. Also look for the Captains A/O (MSRP $140), a lightweight boating shoe with true casual crossover potential thanks to features like vibration-dampening construction and HydroGrip, a rubber outsole that offers traction and agility.


Likewise, while the Bogs Dylan Flip (MSRP $30) and Astral’s Filipe (MSRP $70) are designed for all-day wear, they’re both rife in technical features. The Dylan includes the sweat-slaying DuraFresh, the shock-absorbing Rebound and the new H20Grip, which offers traction on wet terrain. The Filipe offers a balanced geometry design that places the heel and ball at the same level for improved comfort. Bonus: Astral’s new shoe also features a handy 15 millimeter strap that converts the flop into a secure shoe perfect for rafting.


Riding on the success of its footwear specific to fly-fishing, also check out Columbia’s new Megavent Fly OutDry PFG, which offers waterproof breathability through Columbia’s patented OutDry laminate construction.


As for aesthetics, both women and men seek footwear that can easily fit into outfits. “Khaki, amber and olive are easy to match, versatile, understated colors that can be dressed up or down,” said Davide Degano, Kamik’s product manager. “The latest prints are infused with modern textures and a variance in proportions and colors to create a layered feel.” Kamik’s new Dreamland rain boot (MSRP $70) delivers on this trend with a high definition printed lining, a comfy EVA insole and Kamik’s proprietary synthetic rubber outsole.


--Jenna Blumenfeld



Outdoor Retail Gear Trends: 2016 SUP

Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2015 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Aug. 5 – 8.  While the SUP market seems to be heading for consolidation — cases in point include Confluence’s recent ...read more