This fall, Spanish comfort brand Camper will introduce Link, a series of cycling styles for men and women that are engineered for city biking. The collection, which has the appearance of a fashion sneaker, incorporates functional details such as padding at the ankle, a tongue pocket to store the laces while biking, brightly colored soles, toe bumpers and a Velcro ankle strap on the high-top style to keep pant legs free of bike chains. The three-style collection comes in water-resistant leathers. Tim Patwell, head of sales for the U.S. and Canada, said the line is designed to complement the overall Camper collection and will target the brand’s current accounts rather than core bike shops. “It’s an opportunity for a niche business,” he said. Set to deliver in August, Link retails for $130 to $180.
Minneapolis-based Palidium Inc., a research and development firm, is applying its know-how to the footwear industry. The company has developed the ZeroTie system, a proprietary wheel-activated shoelace tightening mechanism that allows for hands-free tightening and loosening of shoelaces. The self-contained mechanism is installed in the heel of shoes, with the wheel projecting slightly from the rear. When pulled across the floor, shoelaces tighten around the foot. A small lever is depressed to release the laces so the shoe can then be slipped off or stepped into with ease. According to President and CEO Tom Lehmann, the technology is available for licensing to footwear manufacturers in a range of categories, from outdoor to the therapeutic and children’s markets. The lacing system will be produced by an approved outside source, said Lehmann. To date, ZeroTie has been licensed to Korea-based Treksta, an outdoor footwear brand.
Nashville, Tenn.-based Johnston & Murphy is taking a new look at an old art: shoe shining. The company has updated its Find-a-Shine iPhone and iPad application that uses GPS to provide a list of shoe shiners in a given area. Video profiles spotlight leading shoe shiners, starting with the manager of the Magic Hands Shoe Stand in Nashville’s Opryland Hotel. Three additional shoe shiners from the Nashville area will be featured as part of an ongoing initiative. And for interactivity, the app allows users to rate the shoe shiners. Rachel Donahue, marketing manager for Johnston & Murphy, said this fall, brand will show its admiration for shoe shiners by having its store managers present plaques of recognition to those who are top-rated. “We’re connecting customers to folks who take care of our product,” said Donahue, “and who do a good job.”