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Outdoor Apparel Highlights from Outdoor Retailer

by Alicia MacLeay
August 5, 2012

With 1,000 outdoor brands and 20,000 attendees, the Outdoor Retailer trade show can be a busy, overwhelming scene. Here are a few footwear and apparel highlights we spotted from Keen, Arc'teryx, Mountain Hardwear, La Sportiva, Icebreaker, The North Face, Sierra Designs, and DownTek.


In the evolution of lightening and streamlining footwear, Keen introduces CNX technology for spring 2013. CNX shoes are lower profile, have a more secure heel and slight reduction in width and volume, and all weigh less than 10 ounces. Found in waterfront to light hiking models, CNX marks the largest launch in the footwear company's history. "We have a solution for them," says Keen of users who want lighter, lower profile shoes. That includes the Cascade CNX ($110) and Clearwater CNX ($100) sandals for men and women above.



"The lightest, most breathable waterproof jacket in its category," says Arc'teryx of the Tecto FL Jacket for men (above) and women. The minimalist, waterproof Tecto FL uses GORE-TEX Active 3L fabric and a trim, close-to-body fit. Features a low profile StormHood, single sleeve pocket, and a narrow center front Vislon zipper with chin guard. Weight: 292 g (men's), 261 g (women's).


Mountain Hardwear

Cool.Q ZERO (sweat-activated cooling), Q.Shield Down (water-repellent down), Wick.Q EVAP (moisture management), Dry.Q EVAP (wicking waterproof-breathable) — Mountain Hardwear is pushing out a host of fabric technologies to keep you dry and warm. The Plasmic Jacket (above) for men and women uses Dry.Q EVAP for "faster, drier moisture management." A network of tiny channels disperses moisture more efficiently, improving evaporation and keeping the wearer cool and dry, says Mountain Hardwear. And at $140 the price will keep you comfortable.


La Sportiva

We're excited about this one! With new trail runners (including the quick-draining Helios above) and its first (huge!) line of trail running apparel pieces for men and women, La Sportiva has you covered from head to toe for serious mountain running. The 39 pieces include racing tanks, long sleeves, jackets, tights, shorts, skirts, and even a beanie, designed to mix and layer for flexibility and adaptability.



"Wool is super sexy now, which is fabulous," says Icebreaker. It's also in running wear at Icebreaker, including a lightweight, hybrid softshell jacket and a vest for men and women. The Gust Jacket (above) and Vest for women and Blast Jacket and Vest for men have merino next to your skin and softshell on the front, sleeves, and top half of the back to protect against wind and rain.


The North Face

The four-piece North Face Verto Climbing Collection lets you layer together the Verto Pro Jacket made from Pertex Quantum GL and Gore Windstopper, the merino wool Litho Tee, the harness-friendly, stretch-woven Satellite Pant, and the 800-fill Verto Micro Hoodie. It all weighs in at two pounds for a multi-pitch, big-wall climbing kit.


Sierra Designs

The three-piece Cloud Layering system from Sierra Designs eliminates the need for a three-layer jacket. The outer Cloud Airshell is a super light 4-ounce, waterproof-breathable jacket. It's so light you can see the Cloud Puffy or Cloud Windshell underneath (see above). Made from proprietary Illusion (nylon tricot) shell fabric, put the shell on top, when it's raining. "It feels light, but is abrasion-resistant," says Sierra Designs. 



DownTek, supplier of water-repellent down, continues to show up in more down apparel (like that of EMS and L.L. Bean), as well as in sleeping bags. Below, Brooke Guigui gives us a presentation on the performance of DownTek versus untreated down. As for its competitors, DownTek believes it outperforms other hydrophobic down technologies and "has a more compelling story to tell."