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Zappos Launches Adaptive Footwear Capsule with Boot Maker Sorel

Zappos is broadening its adaptive footwear offering with the help of a new partner.

The online retailer announced that heritage outdoor brand Sorel Footwear would launch new women’s styles as a part of its curated collection of functional products designed for wearers with disabilities. The 59-year-old footwear brand, known chiefly for its all-weather boots, debuted three reimagined versions of its best-selling silhouettes under the Zappos Adaptive umbrella this week.

Sorel added modifications and new features to its Explorer II Joan Dual Zip, Emelie II Chelsea Heel Zip and Explorer Boot Dual Zip boot styles, making it easier for wearers to slip the styles on and off. The brand worked with Zappos Adaptive on the inclusive designs, which rely on elements like dual zippers and enlarged pull loops to facilitate ease of wear. According to Sorel, design features like closures, stitching and collar height were all carefully considered during the development process, and the styles were tested by individuals with disabilities prior to their approval.

The Explorer II Joan Dual Zip boot.
The Explorer II Joan Dual Zip boot. Zappos Adaptive

“As we continue to look toward the future of fashion, working with Zappos Adaptive allows Sorel to empower and embolden even more unstoppable individuals through function-first design,” Mark Nenow, the brand’s president, said. “We continue to successfully blend functionality and style, because we know our consumers are not willing to sacrifice either aspect.”

Dana Zumbo, business development manager for Zappos Adaptive, added that the retailer is “humbled” by the opportunity to help Sorel bring its first adaptive styles to market. “With both brands’ passion for meeting customer needs, we seamlessly aligned throughout the process,” she said, noting that developments “involved sharing feedback from Zappos Adaptive customers’ most requested features and working directly with the disability community to ensure the most universal fit and wear possible.”

The Explorer Boot Dual Zip boot.
The Explorer Boot Dual Zip boot. Zappos Adaptive

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Zappos debuted its adaptive program in 2017, steadily amassing a roster of wholesale brands like Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Billy Footwear, Sanuk and Vans to collaborate on footwear collections. In 2020, Ugg launched a two-style capsule featuring its classic short boot, redeveloped with double side zippers and enlarged pull tabs.

Earlier that year, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Zappos Adaptive launched the Single & Different Size Shoes test program, offering a range of purchasing options for individuals with amputated limbs or medical devices that necessitate the need for a pair of shoes made up of two different sizes. Converse, Stride Rite, Plae, and New Balance partnered with the retailer on the effort. In addition to footwear, Zappos Adaptive has developed sensory-friendly clothing, reversible shirts and pants, clothing with magnetic fasteners and post-surgical apparel to serve shoppers with a range of special needs.