There is 256,000 square feet of exhibition space in the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. After Day 2 at Outdoor Retailer, my feet feel like they’ve walked every inch. But the shoes on display are worth every step.
Teva‘s Blue Line collection for spring 2012 couples Spider rubber, with high friction and durability, and J Step technology, which was first used in non-slip footwear for chefs. Together, these surfaces take grip to a new level—enough to stand still on a ramp coated with vegetable oil at the booth.
On the other side of the floor, Merrell had its new kicks on display as well. Bringing barefoot technology to water shoes is a new theme for them. For mountain bikers, they’ve developed a hiking boot with removable inserts in the sole to make them SPD compatible. Check out the women’s model below.
For the fast and light hiking crew, Salomon has head to toe options. The booth was buzzing with the recent accomplishment of Salomon athlete Jennifer Pharr Davis, who finished thru-hiking Appalachian Trail (2,181 miles) on July 31 to set a new speed record of 46 days 11 hours 20 minutes. She broke the men’s record by 26 hours and 11 minutes, and the Salomon Synapse was with her every step of the way.
La Sportiva has a new climbing shoe for spring 2012 called the Futura. The new design features an edgeless toe maximum edging on even the smoothest surfaces.
If your summer schedule is filled with picnics and outdoor concerts, Keen has a backpack for you. Called the Backseat Backpack, the rear panel and slide straps form a handy chair that shows the influence of a Crazy Creek. It also has an interior sleeve that can carry a hydration bladder or a laptop, and is priced at $100.
And if you’re looking for the perfect gear for your 80s cover band, try a neck brace, red suspenders, and fake buck teeth. They take karate-kicking, belting Journey songs, and guitar solos to new height, as proven by the performers at Teva’s party last night. —Olivia Dwyer