OR Panel Pursues Future of Outdoor Market

Performance outdoor and athletic footwear has never been hotter, but where do the markets go from here?

On Saturday, Jan. 21, Footwear News will host its fifth semiannual seminar at the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City to take an in-depth look at the technical footwear category as it exists now, but also preview what’s to come for the outdoor and athletic worlds.

In “Footwear: Forward,” a panel of industry experts will examine the game-changing innovations that are driving technical footwear.

“[I expect] minimal will be top in a lot of people’s minds. Minimalism is [here] for sure, and that’s where the industry is trending,” said Andy Tate, footwear development director for The North Face, who will be a speaker on the panel. “But a lot of people are going to be interested to see if barefoot is a fad. We’re going to have to start paying attention.”

Matt Powell, an analyst with SportsOneSource and another panel member, agreed: “The first round of [minimal] products is being discounted right now, so what does the next round look like and what applications are there for it?” he asked.

Also on Powell’s mind was the increasing overlap between the worlds of athletic and outdoor, a subject he said will merit discussion going forward.

“One of the [hot] topics is this blending of athletic and outdoor,” he said. “We saw a major move in that direction at the last show, and I want to try to understand where that’s going.”

Tate and Powell will be joined on the panel by Matthew Schreiner, global footwear product specialist for Gore-Tex; and Travis Zarins, footwear and apparel buyer for Great Outdoor Provision Co. FN Outdoor Editor Jennifer Ernst Beaudry will moderate the discussion.

The panel will take place at 8 a.m. in the Salt Lake City Marriott Downtown’s Deer Valley Salon and will include a light breakfast.

The one-hour event is open to all Outdoor Retailer attendees.

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