Outdoor Buzz: Keen, Vibram, Timberland & More

Warm Up
Portland, Ore.-based Keen Footwear will debut a patent-pending insulation technology, called Keen Warm Heat Trapolater, for fall ’11. The technology aims to keep feet warmer using a three-layer insole. The insole combines a Mylar bottom unit that reflects heat back to the foot; an insulating and cushioning felt layer; and an EVA foam piece molded to a honeycomb pattern that helps trap an insulating layer of air underfoot. The Heat Trapolater insole will debut in two styles: the $140 Revel hiker for men and women (above) and the $150 Helena winter insulated boot for women. All three will deliver to Keen accounts, including family independents and outdoor shops, in September.

Keeping Casual
Vibram will take its FiveFingers product into the casual market this fall with new leisure styles. For men, the Concord, Mass.-based brand will debut two styles built on the 4-millimeter Trek outsole: the Trek LS, a $140 casual sneaker; and the Bormio, a $160 side-zip ankle boot. Both are made with distressed kangaroo leather uppers. For women, the brand has created a tall boot, the $140 Cervinia, in a knit sweater material with Vibram rubber button accents on the shaft (at left). Vibram also will bring the men’s and women’s Speed, a mesh upper sneaker style for $100, from the brand’s European collection to the U.S. for fall. All the shoes will deliver in late August to Vibram accounts, including family, outdoor and running independents.

Into the Light
Timberland is bringing athleticism to outdoor this fall. The Stratham, N.H.-based brand will debut the Timberland Mountain Athletic’s Lite­Trace, a light hiking and multisport style available in both mid (at right) and low versions for men, to reduce weight and excess material for a fast, sporty feel. The LiteTrace uses the waterproof membrane as an upper, resulting in a seamless, lightweight, more-breathable upper that doesn’t need stitches or glue. The EVA midsole features a core made with a new foamed form of Pebax, a material that’s lighter than EVA but doesn’t have its temperature sensitivity and allows the midsole to be more responsive under extreme heat and cold. The $130 to $155 style will deliver this July to core outdoor accounts.

Cool Down
Sandal brand Chaco will take on winter with its first cold-weather collection for both men and women. Chaco, a division of Rockford, Mich.-based Wolverine World Wide Inc., will debut four styles for women, including clogs, slip-ons and mid-calf boots; and three styles for men, a chukka casual, slip-on and mid-calf rancher boot. All the looks feature Chaco’s signature footbed with a Vibram outsole and full-grain leathers and suedes. Many are waterproof or water-resistant, with wool or shearling linings for added warmth. The shoes, which range from $130 to $250, will deliver to outdoor accounts and family independents in July.

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