The success of the outdoor footwear category balances on a formula of versatility, weather, performance, style, price and activities. For Fall ’18, outdoor footwear brands aim to check off each box with new collections loaded with trend-right designs and enhanced performance.
“People are certainly not afraid to get outdoors in the cold. Consumers are looking for more technical product for everyday use,” said Thomas Dixon, Ecco Outdoor North American product manager.
Given today’s unpredictable weather patterns, Bogs Footwear founder Bill Combs said shoes must be multi-functional. Consumers are limiting purchases and want shoes and boots that not only look good but have all the features including waterproof, comfort and style.
“It is not enough to be warm or waterproof. Styling has to be spot on and there must be a comfort factor along with all the performance features,” Combs said. “In a nutshell, our customer wants shoes that work and last a long time—shoes that are comfortable and work in the variety of environments. Performance is key, but the product must look right or they will never get tried on in the first place.”
The need to create good-looking product is a demand that Sorel knows well.
“At Sorel, we live at the intersection of fashion and function, and that’s what our customers value,” said Erin Sander, Sorel director of product. “Our unique designs are confident and bold with an implicit functional purpose, which makes us unique in both the outdoor and fashion worlds.”
Dixon pointed out that winter trends are following the same summer trends millennials have set, mainly the demand for lighter, faster and more stylish outdoor products.
“You see it even in the big cities, where the sidewalks are cleared of snow, people are wearing heavy duty, technical product on their morning commute,” he said.
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