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Columbia Sportswear Goes for Gold With New Thermal Tech

Columbia Sportswear unveiled a new material innovation designed to warm outdoor adventurers as the autumn season is just weeks away.

This week, the performance brand announced the launch of its new Omni-Heat Infinity insulation, which builds upon an existing program with a material upgrade for thermal-reflective warmth. A new gold metallic lining, configured in a pattern that the company’s product developers scientifically engineered to promote heat and breathability, was inspired by technology used by NASA.

Columbia says the technology relies on a pattern of metallic dots, which reflects the body’s natural heat and creates instant warmth without adding bulk to outerwear or compromising its breathability. Omni-Heat Infinity, which has been patented by Columbia, will be available in 80 jackets, boots and accessories this fall. The launch is one of the brand’s largest tech pushes to date.

Columbia Sportswear's Omni-Heat Infinity technology.

“Omni-Heat Infinity expands upon our best-selling platform of patented technologies and we’re looking forward to showcasing this revolutionary innovation in what will be Columbia’s largest campaign in our 83-year history,” Joe Boyle, president of the Columbia Brand, said in a statement. “The campaign injects Columbia’s signature light-hearted style but makes it clear that there is a new gold standard in warmth.”

The launch comes amid rising consumer interest in outdoor exploration, and Columbia chose to launch a number of products, from technical jackets to footwear, hats and gloves that employ the new technology. The collection, which will be available through Columbia’s e-commerce site and select retail locations, includes the multi-layered, wind-and-rain-blocking Titan Pass Double Wall Hybrid Jacket, as well as the stretch-infused, mountain-ready Aerial Ascender Jacket, which Columbia characterized as “perfect for frigid ski days.”

Displaying the material’s versatility, the Labyrinth Loop Hooded Jacket is, by contrast, lightweight and packable for easy everyday wear. Meanwhile, the women’s Keetley Shorty boots will also feature Omni-Heat Infinity technology, and are made for a number of weather conditions and activities.

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The Keetley Shorty women's boot.
The Keetley Shorty women’s boot. Courtesy

To kick off the launch, the company is planning an ad campaign starting Oct. 1 via broadcast, audio and print channels that promote the new insulation’s capabilities. Columbia also plans to leverage its ambassadors, athletes and social media personalities to promote the line, and launched a nationwide sweepstakes on Wednesday giving one entrant the chance to win a lifetime supply of the brand’s jackets.

Columbia Sportswear has reported exceptional sell-through on its fall 2021 and spring 2022 order books, which led the company to raise its full year financial outlook for 2021 following the second quarter ending June 30. CEO Tim Boyle noted that while the business is seeing a “powerful fundamental recovery” post-Covid, “ongoing pandemic-related supply chain disruptions and higher ocean freight costs” continue to impact the brand’s wholesale performance in several international markets.