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Fall ’16 Preview: Footwear That Performs Rain or Shine

Outdoor lifestyle brands are cutting down on the need to bring a second pair of shoes on a rainy day. Brands at the 2016 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market (Jan. 7-10) in Salt Lake City showcased durable, weatherproof styles with slim and stylish silhouettes.

For fall, Emu Australia debuted a commuter-friendly waterproof collection using polished leathers and fashion styling, as well as a more structured, rugged waterproof collection for casual wear. Samantha Meredith, Emu Australia global design and product manager, said, “Every woman feels the need to look stylish, even when the product has to be practical. The aim when designing the collection was to add fashion styling, updated materials and practicality for the busy working woman.”

Slim profiles and material interest, including waxed oil suede, printed waterproof suede and waterproof leather, delivered an elevated look to Emu’s fall line. Dan Singer, Emu president of North America, noted that the company is also dabbling in more fashion-forward elements like denim and animal print fabrications, as well as zipper, fringe and eyelet details.

Sorel is similarly targeting everyday use with their largest range to-date of “city-proof” boots, in the Lolla and Addington collections. The brand’s heritage is grounded in cold weather performance, however, Sorel Global Product Line Manager Marion Minary said Sorel continues to evolve by offering styles that are relevant year-round. Minary added that it is a direct response to demand from its customers and retail partners.

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The Lolla and Addington collections offer a broad range of “feminine yet rugged” styles and heel heights made with full-grain, waterproof leather. Highlights include knee-high and lace-up boots and three new wedge silhouettes. The Addington range stands out with wrapped leather heels. Meanwhile, mixed media webbing-leather straps puts a rugged stamp on the Lolla line.

For fall, Sorel also introduced several new silhouettes, including Chelsea boots, urban hikers and a moto boot. To tap into the ongoing ’70s trend,  Minary said the company added a new warm brown called Redwood across the line, and a wearable neutral called Pebble.

Sorel Lolla Tall

Pajar is adding technical functions to fashion with special soles with a metal-studded grip on the brand’s shearling boots and on a newly launched line of Italian leather hikers.

Meanwhile, The Original Muck Boot Company is focused on boots that can move from the slope to the street with on-trend ankle height silhouettes and fur trim for women. For men, the company is betting on the Arctic Excursion winter boot, a lightweight, slip-on waterproof boot. General Manager and VP of The Original Muck Boot Company Sean O’Brien said, “The consumer is looking for a boot that is fashionable and functional.”

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The Original Muck Boot Company Artic Apres Slip-On

Consumer feedback provides the framework to Jambu’s collections. Yetzalee Mazza, marketing director for Jambu, JBU and jSport, a division of Vida Group, said, “We make it a general practice to study the feedback from people who wear our shoes. They’ve invested in our brand, and we owe it to them to provide the best in comfort and weatherproof technology that is fashionably bold and will stand the test of time.”

For Fall ’16, Jambu is tapping into consumer demand for travel and weekend footwear with a series of classic silhouettes with a comfort twist. The season marks the introduction of a new tailored comfort duck boot, a mid-height waterproof boot accented with faux fur, an updated desert boot made with mixed wool materials, and a modern take on the “granny boot” with a memory footbed.

Jambu Rosella

Mazza added, “We’re always adapting based on new design and tech attributes—we operate very much as a shoe start up in that regard—new development is always on the table. This is the benefit of being part of the Vida Group family of brands. Innovation and creativity reign supreme.”