Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2015 Preview: Performance apparel

Get a sneak peek of some of the top trends and products in performance wear to debut at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2015.
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Leading up to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2015, SNEWS is previewing some of the top trends and new products you’ll see at the trade show and Open Air Demo in Salt Lake City, Aug. 4-8. You can access all these articles and more in our O.R. Daily Day 0 edition.

Like the athletes that wear it, performance apparel for 2016 seeks to breathe better, last longer and cut weight.

But with exercise and activities at the center of social gatherings, there’s growing demand — as in expectation — for apparel to perform in the elements and be comfortable and flattering enough for the reward beer.

Athleisure is to apparel as superheroes are to movies these days — a huge trend. For performance apparel creators it’s how, not if, to respond, while maintaining the brand’s technical integrity. Capri options are a simple and fun nod to the yoga pant without compromising any performance.

On the streets and trails, the running sector continues to boom. Retailers will see many more options and styles, especially for women. A number of sports bras, skorts and racer-back tops will mold next season’s styles. Japan’s ultra-running influence can be seen in a few technical pieces, and in a vibrant selection of colors and pattern options.

A wave of mesh is coming, but don’t worry, it’s not 1980s mesh. These technical perforated layers lighten, stretch and ventilate in all the right spots, including woven mesh pants made for the trail and underwear that only looks like mesh from the inside looking out.

Finally, more brands are recognizing the opportunities and benefits of summer wool pieces, mixing natural fiber that regulates temperatures with plant cellulose to aid in wicking and cooling. From thongs to hoodies, wool has you covered in the summer, too.

>> Shaking up the waterproof/breathable category, Columbia premieres its OutDry Extreme shell collection (MSRPs $150-$400), promising the jackets won’t ever wet out in downpours. The solution? Bringing the membrane to the outside, without the need for a cover fabric that can soak up moisture. The jacket’s contrasting tape seams and large shoulder covers announce from the rack it’s ready for a rainy hike, while new subtler waterproof zippers grant easy access to outer pockets.

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>> If it’s just sprinkling and weight-savings are a priority, Montane debuts one of the lightest windproof shells to date. The Featherlite 7 Jacket (MSRP $149) is made out of a 7D rip-stop nylon and weighs a paltry 1.7 ounces, yet includes a full-front zipper, pre-elasticated hem and cuffs, reflective highlights and a DWR wash for light sprinkles.

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>>Duckworth recently implemented a chemical-free, anti-shrinking treatment for wool and it continues the sustainable trend by mixing wool with plant fibers. The warm-weather VaporWool combines its U.S. Helle Rambouillet wool with recycled polyester and Beechwood cellulose in everything from boxers to the VaporWool Sleeveless Hoody (MSRP $80).

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>>Under Armour will debut its proprietary cooling liner technology in trail-specific tops. The garments offer stretch, odor-fighting tech and a UPF 50 rating. Granted, you might consider sunscreen with the women’s Under Armour CoolSwitch Trail Tank (MSRP $40), a racerback with a mesh panel for added ventilation.

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>> A transitional season like spring (and even summer in the mountains) needs gear that can adapt. Factor elevation change into an outing and your outer layer could become a mid-layer. Enter the Brooks-Range Hybrid Lt Jacket (MSRP $200), a lightweight version of its Hybrid Wool Jacket. It employs Alpha insulation the chest and Polartec Power Wool Grid, a mostly-poly blend, for the rest.

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>> With the mountaineering set in mind, Adidas Outdoor will offer a new lightweight technical layer with its Terrex Agravic Mountain Flash Pants (MSRP $119). The recycled polyester and elastic dobby mix fabric is heat reactive and stretchy. As a quick-dry shell, the pants are windproof, with seam taping and a DWR coating. The tapered legs keep the fabric close.

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--M.T. Elliott

These are just a few of the new products to debut at Summer Market. Be sure to check out much more new and trends in the O.R. Daily, Days 1-4, published live at the show, and available digital format each day of print at www.snewsnet.com/ordaily.

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