Columbia Taps EDM Star Zedd to Push Its New Stylish-Yet-Functional Shoe Line

Nature belongs to everyone. It’s not just hardcore adventurers; it’s also for the city dweller who gets out whenever he or she is able to. To cater to this consumer, Columbia has created Sh/ft, a line of trail-ready footwear with street-style aesthetics in mind.

“We see a movement taking place as more young people are looking to nature and the outdoors to find balance and recharge from their busy lives in the city,” Columbia VP of footwear Peter Ruppe said in a statement. “To answer that call, we’ve created an entirely new collection of footwear that speaks to their sense of urban style while delivering trail-worthy performance for the outdoors.”

Aside from stylish aesthetics, the functional line features several proprietary Columbia technologies, including OutDry waterproofing and its new energy-returning and long-lasting Sh/ft midsole cushioning. Also, the shoes are executed with all-terrain traction and comfort-driven deconstructed knit uppers.

Columbia Sh/ft OutDr Mid "Energy Purple"
Columbia Sh/ft OutDry Mid “Energy Purple.”
CREDIT: Columbia

To introduce the line to the masses, Columbia is working with Zedd, an electronic dance music (EDM) Grammy Award winner. (The artist will grace the FN cover on Aug. 12.)

“I’m a huge sneakerhead, so when I heard about the concept behind Sh/ft, I was immediately intrigued,” Zedd said in a statement. “After wearing the shoes, I love how they look, fit and feel. Whether I’m in the studio, outdoors or on stage for hours, they strike the perfect balance for me between comfort and style.”

At Monday’s launch event for the collection in Brooklyn, N.Y., Zedd shared a story about the first time he wore the shoes on stage, at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado.

“A show was a real test for me to see if they are comfortable,” Zedd said. “[They] worked incredibly well. . . . “They are soft but they have a good amount of support.”

The first four looks (two colorways each for Sh/ft OutDry Mid and Sh/ft Low) are slated to hit Columbia stores and its website, Columbia.com, on Aug. 9. The styles will be available in men’s and women’s sizing. On Aug. 16, retailers Foot Locker, Champs and Dick’s Sporting Goods will stock colorful Sh/ft styles. Limited-edition Sh/ft collaborations with premier sneaker boutiques Atmos, Shoe Gallery and Ubiq are also slated to hit stores on Aug. 9.

“The idea for us is to develop that external creative muscle,” Ruppe said at the event launching Columbia’s choice of collaborators. “You bring somebody else in to help elevate the experience.”

Below, watch the career advice Saucony president Anne Cavassa shared with FN.

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