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Watershoes go mainstream

Check out the top new water footwear products and trends for 2013 that we encountered at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market.

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Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2012 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Aug. 2-5. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and upload the articles to our searchable archives.

This SNEWS Outdoor Retailer Summer Market recap is brought to you by Cordura:

Expect better traction, visibility, weight savings and a dose of cool in this year’s watershoe line-up, which features a fresh crop of footwear for floating. “This season, there’s a huge emphasis on bright colors in watershoes, similar to trail running and outdoor in years past,” said Jeff Dill, business director of Keen’s footwear division.

At Keen the trend can be seen in the sleek Cascade CNX (MSRP $100), a hybrid water sandal featuring a synthetic upper welded to a seamless microfiber lining, with a 4-millimeter midsole drop and multi-directional flex grooves for traction.

Keen Cascade CNX

Addressing traction and comfort, Chaco debuts the Mighty (MSRP $90) in its new NearGround collection, offering support, a minimal, lightweight platform and siped outsole made from 20 percent recycled EcoTread rubber (also available in the new women’s Fantasia).

Chaco Fantasia

Five Ten hits the streambed with revamped versions of the Water Tennie (MSRP $130) and Canyoneer (MSRP $155). Made with the company’s AquaStealth rubber from its climbing line, the Water Tennie has been re-designed with a slim fit for rafts and kayaks. “We’ve seen surprising growth in our watersports category,” said Five Ten’s Nancy Prichard Bouchard, adding that the company is projecting a 22 percent increase in the sector going into 2013.

Even newcomers are capitalizing on Five Ten’s traction hold. Partnering with former Salomon footwear guru Reglan Brewer and Five Ten’s AquaStealth, Astral Buoyancy enters the footwear market with a four-model line spearheaded by the Brewer (MSRP $99), a lightweight, flexible, Cordura-upper kayaking shoe that dries and drains quickly and comes with a barefoot last that keeps the heel even with the bottom of the foot. “It’s great for kayaking because your foot isn’t tilted forward,” said President Philip Curry. “Plus, you feel good wearing it outside your kayak.”

Astral Buoyancy Brewer

Another newcomer is Baffin, whose new lightweight, 10-model Trail to Rapids (T2R) series (MSRP $75-$85) employs a five-layer internal channeling system to allow for water and air flow and to keep stones and grit out, with a choice between two traction-oriented outsoles.

Baffin Trail to Rapids series


Your feet have more sweat glands than any part of your body, so Columbia brings its new Omni-Freeze Zero technology (polymers, which when wet, draw energy to cool the skin) to the inner linings of its Powerdrain Cool (MSRP $90) water shoe.

Columbia Powerdrain Cool

Tried-and-true players are re-investing in the category, especially with crossover SKUs. Targeting both paddlesports and wakeboarding, Teva unveils its new Slimkosi (MSRP $100), a lightweight water sneaker for wakeboarding and all-around watersports with a flat, Spider Original Rubber sole for traction, synthetic and mesh upper for lateral support and a quick-draining design. NRS is sticking to its rafting and kayaking roots with the new Desperado Shoe (MSRP $55), made from a 3-millimeter Terraprene neoprene upper and the same thickness rubber sole with 2-millimeter plastic shim and HydroCuff ankle closure.

Teva Slimkosi

NRS Desperado

–Eugene Buchanan