For Spring 2004 product, Dunham continues its push to be a bit trendier than the typical brown-on-brown, nubuck-on-nubuck hiking look, and it adds the first women's-specific Waffle Stomper boot too.
"It's not a category that's growing by leaps and bounds," Steve Ettridge, Dunham division manager, said of hiking and backpacking in general. "So we need to bring something new, creative and fresh to the wall at retail."
And that means bright red laces will come on every shoe. But, for those consumers who squinch up their eyes at the in-your-face red, brown ones come in every box too. Dunham is keeping it fresh too with the promo around the Waffle Stomper -- a fun fallback to the '60s. In addition, the new multi-sport shoes in the line are colorful (but still coming with red laces of course!).
These are all ways for Dunham to try to attract a new consumer, while not alienating its dedicated fans, and trying to tap into the 25- to 40-year-old consumer, male and female.
"It's a way of saying, We're in tune with our consumer," Ettridge added. "It's not always brown and boring."
Continuing to expand the company's newly relaunched (August 2002 to the trade) semi-retro Waffle Stomper line, Dunham adds the following:
Paramount (women's) -- A women's version of the men's hallmark Paramount boot, w which appeared at retail this spring. This women's boot is founding on providing enough support to carry a pack, but lightweight enough to work for day hikes. The Paramount has a Vibram sole with an integrated TPU plate and an EVA midsole. It also features the Dunham flap tongue closure. True to standard, it comes in widths. Suggested retail: $120.
Nimble (men's and women's) – An updated Glide, which is the multisport/dayhiker introduced for Fall 2003 sales, the Nimble incorporates mesh for breathability with playful colorful inserts. It also has a Vibram sole with an integrated TPU plate and EVA midsole. Colors include gray/orange, gray/black (men's), navy/gray, and blue/gray (women's), none of which express the splashes of red that make for a brighter product picture. Suggested retail: $90.
Quick (men's and women's) – The Quick is an entry-level Waffle Stomper multisport shoe that eliminated the TPU plate to help lower the price about 10 percent. Still, it has the Vibram sole and EVA midsole. Colors are also a tad more conservative, perhaps to accommodate the entry-level consumer, especially since this shoe might also appear at select sporting goods locations: Tan (men's) and green tea (women's). Suggested retail: $80.
Looking ahead to Fall 2004, Ettridge says the company is looking to add an all-weather version of the multisport shoes, perhaps in leather or nubuck but without membranes. The company is also considering a mid-cut version, all aimed at – as he put it – "leaf-peeping."