Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2014 Preview: Footwear

Shoes sharing the task of cooling off feet. Get a preview of spring/summer footwear and trends to hit retail shelves in 2015.
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Leading up to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2014, 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. 5-9. You can access all these articles and more in our O.R. Daily Day 0 edition.

Footwear is joining the sock story: For 2015, shoes are gearing up to improve ventilation and breathability.

The latest outdoor shoes are ready to help combat humidity and heat across a variety of pursuits, from water and trail tromping to urban adventures.

“Our strategic focus is and will be on enhancing climate comfort in footwear, and we continue to be inspired by a broader, more system-based approach — beyond laminate and tape,” said Marc Peikert, global product specialist for Gore-Tex Outdoor Footwear. “Our advantage is that we can leverage all our comfort, material and footwear construction expertise linked to the climate comfort arena.”

At Summer Market, look for new air circulation methods and ventilation systems that still offer protection, and breathable — even barefoot-worthy — footbeds.

“We’re looking for ways to take that general principal of moisture movement and air transference, and blow it out of the water,” said Sundae Rosato, product manager for outdoor adventure footwear at Timberland. “The answer was always socks for a while, but I think we can achieve it from a different perspective inside the shoes, as well.”

Beyond breathable foot protection, upcoming running footwear is swinging to find the sweet spot of cushioning, sleek-yet-burly water sports shoes are at the dock, and vulcanized outsoles are making a comeback — with all the technology goods in tow.

>> Ramping up midsole stability for trail runs, Icebug introduces the lightweight Zeal RB9X (MSRP $180) with the brand-new HGMS2 technology — an acronym that stands for “holy grail midsole soft and stable,” said President Evan Wert. The dual density, compression molded midsole wraps around the foot, and eliminates the need for an insole while shedding weight.


>> From canyoneering to kayaking, Wolverine creates the protective yet streamlined Portage (MSRPs $68-$72) for aggressive outdoor water action. The pair totes a tread-loaded dual-density rubber outsole with drainage holes, EVA liner, breathable mesh/polyurethane uppers and its C3 Breathable Technology, which instills midsole air circulation and water drainage.


>> In everyday casuals, Woolrich Footwear launches the Strand sneaker with a vulcanized, handmade rubber-outsole construction available in oiled-and-waxed canvas or wool upper variations in both men’s and women’s categories (MSRP $100). For breathability, the line debuts the new felted wool footbed, which is a duel density construction made from a mix of wool and recycled PET plastic. It’s made to be comfortable beneath bare feet, said Creative Director Carl Blakeslee.


>> For hikers, Zamberlan lightens up the trek with the 132 Air-Round GTX RR Speed Hiker (MSRP $180) featuring the 360-degree waterproof/breathable Gore-Tex Surround technology — think of a sock of Gore-Tex — which allows designers to put more ventilation on the sides and underfoot. “[Surround technology] will make Gore-Tex more popular and viable for people in warm climates,” said General Manager Philip Benson. To shed weight, the design also boasts the Vibram Speed Hiking Lite outsole and a new lightweight mesh upper design.


>> Adidas Outdoor makes a splash with the Jawpaw Lace (MSRP $80), a lace-up watersports shoe with six mesh cavities underfoot that amp up breathability and drainage. Plus, the Stealth rubber outsole makes it the only watersports pair with Five Ten’s famously grippy cling.


>> Also focusing on cooler adventures, Columbia designs the multi-sport Ventrailia (MSRP $90) with a Techlite lightweight midsole, which has ports to permit ventilation. The textile upper has synthetic overlays, and the Omni-Grip rubber outsole provides non-marking traction.


>> Finding a balance between cushion and support, Vasque debuts the Trail Bender SST (MSRP $140) for endurance trail runners. “As an industry we like to swing to extremes,” observed Brian Hall, Vasque director of product development. “We went from barefoot running to maximalism, and as that pendulum swings back and forth people are looking for a stable, well cushioned, anatomically correct shoe that will land somewhere in the middle.” As a follow-up to the Ultra SST, this pair adds a more-traditional upper with a tongue and lace closure, and an outsole with multi-directional traction lugs.


>> Providing a supportive, lightweight shoe for fast approach, Salewa brings the Speed Ascent with a second Gore-Tex version (MSRPs $139-$169). The hiking pair incorporates the Vibram Rollingate sole system, which is shaped with a continuous curve underfoot that is designed to improve transitions, relieve fatigue and increase efficiency.


--Morgan Tilton

These are just a few of the new products to debut at the show. 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 following day of print on SNEWS.