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From the Show Floor: Outdoor Retailer  Recap

Inside Job

No matter how breathable, the foot odor factor in winter boots can’t be ignored. Technology supplier Microban launched a new antimicrobial application called Aegis Excalibur to the outdoor market, to complement its silver-based and odor-capture solutions.

Microban President Pablo Perella-Berdun, explained, “As a company, we are revitalised and investing in the outdoor industry. Outdoor is a heavy user, and we are willing to go out and get dirty with the manufacturers to make it work.”

Waterproof, breathable technologies such as Gore-Tex Surround and eVent have become an essential; while thermal linings included Thinsulate, PrimaLoft, Polartec Alpha and NeoShell, felted wool, and faux furs. Several brands have developed proprietary liner technologies such Danner Dry, Kamik DriDefense, Rockport Hydroshield, and ColumbiaOmniTech Waterproof and OmniHeat Thermal.

Often overlooked, midsoles and footbeds, traditionally made from ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) closed cell foams, are the key to footwear comfort. New developments in open cell urethane foam technologies from Poron not only provide cushioning, but react to impact, delivering a “lift-off” that reduces fatigue. Polyurethane auxetic foams, used by Under Armour, thicken on impact to stabilize and support the foot.

Just introduced by Lubrizol, a midsole foam called BounCell-X is based on elastic TPU chemistry and offers better durability, cushioning, and enhanced sustainability, compared with traditional EVA foams.

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Still Standing

Whether the product was engineered for hiking, trail running, or lifestyle, Fall ’16 footwear focused on the grip. Vibram, makers of rubber sole technology, launched its new Arctic Grip with a number of brands, including Wolverine, Merrell, Sperry and Saucony. The Arctic Grip soles featured designated lugs that grip slick ice, as well as thermochromatic lugs that change color below freezing.

Across the board, footwear brands described their soles as “aggressive”, “grippy”, or “sticky.” Adidas Outdoor teamed with Continental rubber, maker of mountain bike tires, for their Terrex Agravic Trail Runner. Under Armour’s Fat Tire GTX camo boot borrowed its Michelin man technology from its Fat Tire running shoes.