Arc’teryx unveils entry into footwear

SNEWS has the details, photos and first look at Arc'teryx's entry into footwear.
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Arc’teryx unveiled its entry into footwear, Friday, leaning on lamination techniques the brand is known for in its packs and apparel.

The premiere line includes a small collection of men’s and women’s approach shoes and hiking boots that espouse durability, protection and functionality while remaining relatively lightweight and breathable.

arcteryxfootwearlaunch2
arcteryxfootwearlaunch1

The centerpiece is a seamless, one-piece laminated upper that is wrapped around and an EVA midsole, then connected to a Vibram outsole. Hardly any glue or tape is used in the construction, which aids breathability and minimizes failure points, according to the designers. Inside, a separate, stretchable booty — in some styles, detachable and waterproofed with Gore-Tex — conforms the foot for a close fit.

 The Arc'teryx Alpha2 FL shoe

The Arc'teryx Alpha2 FL shoe

Arc’teryx previewed the footwear, scheduled to hit shelves in spring/summer 2015, to select retailers and global media, including SNEWS, Backpacker and Climbing, at the Hotel Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France. New Arc’teryx Product Line Manager Federico Sbrissa, formerly with Salewa and Dynafit, led the effort on the new footwear line and ran attendees through the details.

 Arc'teryx Product Line Manager Federico Sbrissa help lead the brand's effort to develop its first line of footwear.

Arc'teryx Product Line Manager Federico Sbrissa help lead the brand's effort to develop its first line of footwear.

The removable in booty in the Alpha2 FL shoe (MSRP $270) and Bora2 Mid (MSRP $320) boot drew the most interest and questions. Sbrissa said the advantages are numerous, including the ability for faster drying, easier washing and the ability to switch out different booties — extras sold separately (MSRPs $80-$95) — for more or less insulation and protection. With a rubber sole, the booty can also double as a hut sleeper. The booty snugly fits into the shoe — designers are confident it won’t slip around — and offers 360 degrees of water protection in the GoreTex versions right up to the angle.

The removable inner booty fits snugly into the shoe and employs stretch for a close fit.

The removable inner booty fits snugly into the shoe and employs stretch for a close fit.

The laminated upper is actually four layers of material: a burly TPU exterior and microfiber interior sandwiching a breathable grid of pre-TPU coated woven nylon. (It’s pre-coated to get the protection but not loose the air permeability between the weave, which would happen if post coated.) The final pieces are heel and toe caps, each pre-molded and laminated to the exterior to avoid stretching and weakening of the rubber.

 The upper is a a single, seamless piece made out of four laminated layers.

The upper is a a single, seamless piece made out of four laminated layers.

The construction of the footwear with the separate laminated uppers and stretch booties is meant to provide durability on the outside with comfort and fit on the inside, Sbrissa said.

Retail buyers at the event applauded Arc’teryx for the different design and approach, but added, as with any product, consumer testing and feedback would be the ultimate verdict. While the exterior might be the bigger tech story, many said, consumers might be most drawn the removable booty aspect in the Alpha2 FL and Bora2 styles.

 Arc'teryx Vice President of Global Marketing Adam Ketcheson talks to the press at the preview event for the brand's new footwear line.

Arc'teryx Vice President of Global Marketing Adam Ketcheson talks to the press at the preview event for the brand's new footwear line.

In other styles, the Alpha FL GTX (MSRP $220), Alpha FL (MSRP $190) and Bora Mid GTX (MSRP $270), the booty is attached to the midsole, yet remains stretchable and conforming.

For the remainder of the weekend, retailers and press attended several Arc’teryx Academy alpine clinics — also open to the public — conducted at the glacial base and mid-mountain area surrounding the Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest peak at 15,781 feet.

Company officials said they are working to bring similar clinics to North America.

 Arc'teryx Academy participants prepare to descend onto the glacial floor surrounding Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France.

Arc'teryx Academy participants prepare to descend onto the glacial floor surrounding Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France.

--David Clucas

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