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What’s New and Improved at Outdoor Retailer

The 2015 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, held in Salt Lake City, Utah from Jan. 21-24, offered an estimated 22,000 attendees a first look at the innovations making noise in the outdoor footwear marketplace. In a category where brand loyalty rules, it was evident that companies are casting a wider net for Fall ’15 with more versatile, lightweight and packable footwear that goes from trail to street to work.

Here’s a look at some of the brand highlights at Outdoor Retailer.

Under Armour: Get a Grip
Under Armour unveiled its latest hiker, the Fat Tire GTX, which combines a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane with Michelin’s Wild Gripper outsoles for a bottom loaded shoe that delivers high energy return and impact protection. From trail dirt to snow, the heavy duty shoe offers sticky mountain bike-like grip with the feeling of rolling down a trail.

As one of five Outside “Gear of the Show” award winners at Outdoor Retailer, the hi-top Fat Tire wooed buyers that catered to all-terrain thrill seekers with its lightweight design (just over a pound) and BOA closure for easy on and off. A low cut, lace-up style is also available, sans the Gore-Tex upper. The shoes, available in black and camouflage, retail under $200.

Vibram FiveFingers: Cold Snap
For Fall ’15, Vibram FiveFingers marketing coordinator Kristen Murphy said the brand is focused on extending the wearability of its footwear into the colder season. Part of that initiative includes the launch of the men’s and women’s Trek Ascent Insulated ($130), Vibram FiveFinger’s first shoe with 360-degree wool lining and Condura water resistant fabric treatment. The shoe is engineered with an Icetrek outsole for superior grip and balance on icy surfaces.

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For wet environments, the brand added the Bikila EVO WP ($150) to the mix. Using the same minimalist design as the brand’s Bikila EVO, the ankle-biting shoe is updated with waterproof stretch-membrane construction, taped seams and a water resistant gaiter.

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Vibram FiveFingers is also dabbling in streetwear with its most casual design to date, the CVT Wool ($110). Offered in gray and gray/navy combinations for men, and caramel and black/gray combinations for women, the shoe’s all-wool upper give the style a cozy and casual look, while the EVA outsole is equipped with Icetrek rubber pods for lightweight, comfortable grip.

The Original Muck Boot Company: Pack Leader
The Original Muck Boot Company is building up its core hunting business with the Pursuit Shadow Collection——the brand’s hero story for Fall ’15.

The company updated its popular lace-up Shadow boot by adding a significantly lighter EVA mid and pod athletic outsole, which is good for running and light hiking, and by placing rubber in key structural places. Bonus: The neoprene (i.e. warmer) boot is packable, meaning it can be rolled up for easy traveling and storage. The shoe is available in high, mid and low styles.

Sanuk: City Surfers
Surf footwear brand Sanuk is keeping the surprises coming with updated Kat Collection styles——think neon pops of fringe, lower vamps and in-house designed arrow prints——and a new line inspired European dance footwear called Alphie.

The new collection is part of Sanuk’s refocus on women’s product, which kicked off last season with the all-season Kat Collection and has carried on with new metallic ballet slippers and d’orsay flats. The Alphie line takes a minimalist approach to construction: Shoes are stitched inside out and are then flipped outwards, while Sanuk’s signature yoga mat pods are incorporated into the insoles for added comfort. Key Alphie styles include printed canvas slip-ons, keyhole suede booties and buttery soft oxfords, which mark the brand’s foray into more textural materials like pony hair.

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For men, Sanuk is offering a more elevated alternative to its beachcombing Sidewalk Surfer with the Cavalier Collection. The line of slip-ons, Chukka boots and lace-ups combines the brand’s patented sandal tab construction with a smoother outsole and trend-right uppers. Highlights include texture linen in soft black, relaxed fit vegan leather uppers and lining in preppy pops of checkered plaid.