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Technically fashionable: Knee-high boots, moccasins and structured flats lead lifestyle footwear designs

Outdoor products for men dominate much of the show floor, but in footwear, women are queen of the hill, and at January's Outdoor Retailer Winter Market a whole new batch of lifestyle footwear debuted.

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Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2013 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Jan. 23-26. 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.

Outdoor products for men dominate much of the show floor, but in footwear, women are queen of the hill. 

If you’re talking shoes, you had better be talking women, said Mark Nenow, vice president of global footwear at Columbia Sportswear. While there are certainly offerings for men in the lifestyle footwear category this Winter Market, it’s a festival of choices for women — including knee-high boots that can be worn with just about anything.

Nenow said Columbia’s Sorel brand is focusing on autumn after building a reputation as a winter work boot maker. “It’s a smart way to enhance and build our consumer relationship,” he said. Sorel will offer several items for women in two categories: “Done Up” and “Undone.”

The Medina Rain Heel (MSRP $200) is a spinoff of last season’s Medina Rain Ankle. Though the heel is high, it’s rubber to absorb impact. The outer is of vulcanized rubber to protect from rain. If customers aren’t feeling the high heel look, they can go for the Conquest Carly Glow (MSRP $130), which has a low heel.

Sorel Medina Rain Heel

Sorel Conquest Carly Glow

“Consumers are looking for versatility in their purchases,” said Keen’s Johanna Koeberle. “This season Keen will continue our dedication to producing the best hybrid products by blending performance technologies with fashionable looks. For example: waterproofing underfoot protection and insulation built into city ready styles.”

One such functional lifestyle item is Keen’s Arabella Bern boot, an equestrian-styled piece with a waterproof full-grain leather upper (MSRP $185).For those wanting more edge, there are the Arabella Bern Fold (MSRP $165) boots, which feature a fold-over design.

 Keen Arabella Bern

Companies are focusing on timeless knee-high numbers. Hi-Tec introduces its Talia Hi (MSRP $120), with a waterproof suede upper and Vibram sole, and its Talia Shell (MSRP $90), a shorter version with a nylon upper.

Hi-Tec Talia Hi

Hi-Tec Talia Shell

Patagonia Footwear combines technical and work-inspired function with a casual, urban style aesthetic in its Fall 2013 offerings. Among the more classic pieces are the Tin Shed Rider (MSRP $230), a tall, double-buckle leather boot, and the men’s Waypoint 6 (MSRP $185).

Patagonia Footwear Tin Shed Rider

Patagonia Footwear Waypoint 6

Chaco brings the Lucia (MSRP $145) and Calla (MSRP $150). Both lace-up boots stand 13 inches tall and integrate soft-oiled nubuck and suede with jersey knit and quilted details. Oliberte, known for its footwear handcrafted in Africa, brings two updated combat-style boots in the Tompa (MSRP $175) and the Gando (MSRP $160).

Chaco Lucia

Chaco Calla

Aussie Dogs aims to deliver products at competitive price points with its new Sol by Aussie Dogs line for men and women. On the men’s side is the Martin (MSRP $99), a casual shoe with a sheepskin and cow suede outer that can be worn with slacks or jeans. One unisex product, the Payton (MSRP $54), is a slipper with an elastic gusset to make it flexible.

Chukka boots continue to be popular, as do moccasins, flats and boat shoes. Oliberte combines the chukka with a moccasin in its updated Mogado Hi (MSRP $150), a handcrafted chukka boot with hand-sewn detailing at the back. Patagonia Footwear brings its Men’s Advocate Chukka Smooth (MSRP $110) and the women’s Advocate Chukka Smooth (MSRP $110).

Patagonia Footwear Advocate Chukka Smooth


Tribal looks remain in style, and Aussie Dogs brings the Kendall (MSRP $150), which has a 100 percent sheepskin lining and a cow-suede outer. Moccasins are on fire, and Sorel brings the Dude Moc (MSRP $85), a cozy slipper shoe with a herringbone design and a rubber outsole. It can be worn indoors or outside the house for a laid back look.

Birki’s introduces the Suede Sailor shoe (MSRP N/A) for men and women, a three-fourths slip-on with a suede upper and the company’s proprietary Dynamic Footbed of viscoelastic foam, designed to stabilize the foot.

No woman wants to settle for low-quality flats
on winter days when it’s not quite cold enough for boots. Patagonia Footwear’s women’s Advocate Ballet (MSRP $90) features a substantial leather upper and The North Face offers its Skinny Mule comfy flats, which feature a puffy outer and grippy outsole.

Want to wrap all these trends into one? Though it looks like a winter boot up top, Columbia’s Minx Moccasin (MSRP $120) has the style of a moccasin down below. Its technical features include Omni-Heat Thermal Reflective lining and waterproof membrane construction.

Columbia Minx Moccasin

–Ana Trujillo