Upbeat Mood at Outdoor Retailer

Vendors and retailers at this week’s Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City told Footwear News they feel optimistic about fall business.

Retailers reported shopping the show for new brands and for more insulated boot styles for men and women. Fall product in both the outdoor and athletic markets showed the continued influence of the barefoot and minimal/lightweight trend, with an increased number of styles and options in the running, trail running and lightweight hiking categories.

Lexi Wornson, owner of Des Moines, Iowa-based Back Country, said she was looking to expand her SKU count on men’s cold-weather styles, as well as true performance boots for women. “A lot of the women’s styles we’ve seen are insulated, but aren’t meant for wet, icy conditions,” she said. Wornson said she would also try to bring in lesser-known brands that may not be carried by the bigger stores in her area. “We look for smaller brands that are building a following,” she said.

Frank Gibbons, footwear buyer for Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters in Brattleboro, Vt., said a snowy, icy winter has been great for sales of insulated product, as well as traction-adding accessories. And he was encouraged after his afternoon meetings, where he saw many strong offerings across vendors. “There’s too much good product,” he said.

The show floor featured several new and returning footwear exhibitors, including Adidas Outdoor (through distributor Agron), Clarks and Altra Running, a new Utah-based barefoot running brand. Rockport, a division of Adidas, showed a new outdoor sport collection.

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