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Exclusive: REI Co-op Is Making Its Own Outdoor Footwear — Here’s What You Can Expect

Update: Oct. 20, 2020 at 3:15 p.m. ET

The release of one of the debut REI Co-op footwear styles has been put on hold.

In an email to FN, the outdoor retail giant said the Beyonder lifestyle shoe — which is one of three styles REI was ready to deliver early next year — will release later in 2021.

However, for adventurers looking to try REI’s shoes, the Traverse and Flash boots will still release in spring ’21 as planned.

What We Originally Reported on Sept. 11, 2020

REI Co-op stocks some of the best outdoor footwear from the market’s leading brands. Next year, however, the retail giant will deliver shoes of its own.

Speaking with FN, the company confirmed that REI-branded models will debut in April. The retailer is billing its range as “footwear with a lighter footprint.”

REI Co-op Brands footwear product manager Bennett Grimes labeled the initial styles as “some of the most sustainable footwear available” and explained that aside from environmental impact, the retailer is focused on delivering versatile product.

Watch on FN

REI will launch with three styles: Traverse, Flash and Beyonder. The looks will all make use of the same sustainability-driven proprietary technologies.

FirmaKnit, for instance, is the retailer’s upper material, which is 99% composed of recycled plastic bottles. Waterproofing will be provided by its HydroWall tech, the midsoles are made with TerraLoft (a compound developed with sustainable design company Bloom), the outsoles utilize REI’s anti-slip TerraGrip rubber and the insoles will feature its TrailBed tech.

Traverse, which will retail for $150, is REI’s backpacking boot. Flash is a hybrid look, a fast and lightweight style retailing for $130 that Grimes described as “51% hike and 49% trail run.” And Beyonder is a casual shoe that you can go hiking in, which will come with a $100 price tag. (The Beyonder is the lone non-waterproof style in the range.)

“The idea is for us to build something specifically for our members. We worked with our members to build the right shoes for them,” Grimes told FN. “This is building up to what hike and backpack can be, this is what the future of this product will look like and we used insights from our co-op members to help us get there.”

REI’s initial footwear range will arrive during for the spring ’21 season and more models will be added for fall ’21 and spring ’22.

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