Thursday, August 19, 2010




Words, Images Judith Ecochard

Deckers Outdoor is a corporation manufacturing several shoe brands ranging from the massively successful UGGS and reinvigorated TEVA, to the smaller niche brands like Tsubo, a fashion forward take on style/comfort---that we’ve previewed in NYC.

At the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow, we took in two other footwear collections belonging to the family fold.
Olivia---with 5mm memory foam/Vibram outsole $100=all day comfort

AHNU is morphing into a gal’s outdoor footwear brand with plenty of chicness and poppin’ color combos that would do well in any setting…yet can satisfy day hikers and walkers strolling along just about anywhere on the planet.

The big deal for this company is the neutral position fit “Neumentum™”---working with a person’s natural biomechanics for the ideal support, fit, efficient stride and comfort of the wearer.

That works perfectly--- seeing how Ahnu, with the motto “It’s about balance…”--- takes it name from the Celtic Goddess of balance and well-being.

Se for deliveries in early 2011, we saw samples that retailers really approved of---as we got to the Ahnu well into the third day of the show and got the scoop from who knows best, the sales rep.

Leather “simple” slides with an inch rise---we thought just fine for wearing anywhere.

 A lightweight (really) rafting ped that fits great--- thanks to double closures and a quick heel release lock

Flex to the max---and pack/travel ideal.

A hip take on the classic Gladiator sandal ($110)…that passed our “we would wear this to New York Fashion Week” test---an event that requires plan ahead outfits that take just as much thought as when we scale the Seven Summits.

Over at sister brand SIMPLE SHOES the tag line---“We Make Shoes For A Happy Planet” inspired the Vegan (yes!) and youthful/ sneaker DNA ---of the company and its

...faithful efforts to source recycled carpet padding and rubber, sustainable (hemp) and organic (cotton) materials from outsoles to insoles to packaging.

With all the green washing going on, it’s good to see certain practices in place…like using a BIO.D additive in the eponymous line that makes the EVA and rubber in the soles landfill/compost biodegradable, shoeboxes and foot forms made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper, outsoles made from a combo of recycled and natural rubber, PET (from plastic soda/water bottles) used to make some uppers, shoelaces, and wrapping around the latex elastic of some uppers, eco-certified suede & leather from factories that are eco-certified with a BLC or ISO 14001 Certificate.

Which is great but we think why consumers will opt for Simple Shoes, are the kickin’ styles.

We saw several that we think are spot-on…

For Men:

A new wrinkled leather (Take On Leather) …and herringbone treatments (Tuba II) that are timely additions to the classic trends in lifestyle tennies…

High-tops out of organic cotton, eco-cert suede/leather,  and jute

Well done---the alternate closures that look like normal lace-ups but are actually easy slip-ons that are very TSA friendly.

High and low leather casual peds….

Waterproof D-Bunk Mid and lows===for outdoor day hikes on trail or street.

Easy everyday footwear in the vegan Gummy tie-ups (pictured below)…made of washed certified cotton denim and perforated...and these sleek Carnival Microperf leather lace-ups.

Flip-flop formals with plaid patterned,  recycled PET webbing straps $30 

Women’s styles are also evolved from the sneaker heritage.

Mixed materials give the kickers a nice twist===here made from various combos of hemp, jute, eco-certified leather, washed organic cotton (ALOHA Denim---pictured below), etc.

All with biodegradable rubber outsoles.

The perforated leather HOLA! MICROPER are cute slip-ons in several color waves.


We like the TAKE ON ELASTIC thick ribbon upper detail---a carry-over from Fall refreshed in Spring colors.

Like the guys, there’s are low and hi versions of many styles.

FYI: Love how the laces are made from organic cotton or PET...or with feminine ribbons.

Bottom line---eco-friendly Simple Shoes is all about Earth Lovin’s with the casually cool pizzazz that can make the brand stand on its own design merits.