Tuesday, January 12, 2016





Sloooowly-encompassing the urban kinds of customer (see a 2012 Prez. election voter map for where they live...it's the blue spots)...

...the exhibitors at Outdoor Retailer  -we'd say deftly---cater to the elite winter backcountry extremist - adventurers who have 'the seven summits' done ---as well as NOW the city types-who more likely "venture out" for day jaunts, travels, indoor fitness centers-including yoga, Cross-Fit and climbing...and who may only see the skies/feel the weather when walking to mass transit hubs.

Smart: the authentic outdoors-ness of the brands-remain-for both older and new labels (like Under Armour moving their outdoors bunch to Portland)...an important story to keep on telling to sell to hard core and casual types alike.

It's like ...as competitive triathletes...still look spend $ on the apparel/swim brands with meaningful athletic driven DNA-for our 'stuff' (TYR, 2XU, SKINS, SUGOI...)...with only a passing curiosity without dollar commitment for the fashion labels gone sporty (Tory Burch's new sport line, Live The Process, POLO etc)...that is a separate market.

The outdoors companies attracts informed buyers to those seriously detailed hangtags- with lots of multi-functional lifestyle-performance apparel-made with an eco mindset- and everyday tricked out kicks from previously tech adventure-only footwear companies that know how to make durable and rugged-look good.

And it all looks just right on the Floor show and at retail---along side the highly activity specific offerings demanded by some.

One tradeshow trend...ice blocks...for attendees to demo---outsoles/traction.

The biggie-the ice ramp show and tell for Vibram's ARTIC GRIP...it's new outsole-currently exclusive to Wolverine family of brands.

We wonder if they needed to get extra liability insurance in case of slip and fall accidents.

Notably, we didn't see any extra lawyers lurking around.

WOLVERINE BRANDS using ARCTIC GRIP...featuring Thermochromatic lugs-sense when temps drop to 32ºF/0ºC



Merrell-MOAB FST    ICE+ Termo Waterproof -with M Select™ Warm, insulation 100gram, fleece lining, M Select™ Dry-seals out water-lets moisture escape...
love this navy trim of this SPERRY duckboot..COLD BAY ICE +-waterproof...durable hand sewn full grain leather upper w/ genuine rawhide lace, rubberized vamp with full membrane, gusseted, waterproof leather upper...

SPERRY-with there own Wave Siping traction...PLUS Vibram's Arctic Grip-new for 2016-17

Wolverine-camo with comfort-EPX comfort system, reinforced toe+heel guard vs rugged layer elements,  waterproof membrane

Wolverine -Vibram Arctic Grip outsole...

The aforementioned was not the only grip in town...

HANWAG's ICEGRIP technology-highlights the German bootmaker's enhanced sole -featuring fine glass particles...in the tread...Fjall Extrem GTX (on left) $380-Upper=top sections-nubuck and Cordura®  and lower-PU laminated suede...upper, waterproof/breathable Gore-Tex lining-with tread depth ca. 5mm and 14 IceGrip zones 

OBOZ---grippy BRIDGER outsoles-new lifestyle hiker hybrid-BDry waterproof, cozy faux fur, with fine glass particles plus fab tread=great grip. Plus BDRY Thermal insoles with reflective mylar+wool, plus 300 grams of 3M Thinsulate insulation, D ring for looking in gaiters. Handy!

ICEBUG---has removable (BUGweb™) and embedded patented carbide tip or Rubber 9 extreme studs for its GRIP  on its footwear...

Waterproof, lace-up MERIBEL is a fav....currently available 

ALTRA- running shoe...metal studs in forefoot only-so still get meaningful cushioning and shock absorption and grip...imo not true with over-all slip-on metal spikes that we have tried.

KODIAK Klondike Boot for kids

TIRE COMPANIES...product expansion

Reminding us of ADIDAS-Continental Rubber (latest footwear post)...Kodiak collabs with Michelin-acclaimed for their fat guy logo and their grippy tires...
Michelin Glacious Sole and Kodiak=outsole"more traction more fun" on KLONDIKE boot. Inside naturally insulating injected PU for lightweight, comfy wear.

BAFFIN's Borealis Boot for men-part of Winter Crossover Series
serious trek boot-TPU outer upper shell...ultralite removable liner-heat molds to shape of foot. dual density insole supports and cuddles heels/arches

AirGrip® midsole+Polar® Rubber outsole-temp rated down to -22ºF-grips vs ice+snow

the 411

CODA:  KAHTOOLA™'s ice block got goers demo-ing their redesigned MICROspikes-

featuring a lower profile elastomer harness,
fully integrated toe bale for comfort-and reinforced eyelets for durability.