Open main menu

2650-Mile Socks, Shapeshifting Shoes, and Packs that Adjust on the Fly

Day 1 of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market brought a parade of wonders including a pack whose torso length can be adjusted without taking it off, a shoe with a unique outsole, and socks built to endure 2,650 miles of pounding.

Lowe Alpine

Lowe Alpine Alpamayo
Lowe Alpine Alpamayo

Lowe Alpine is introducing a new adjustable back system that permits wearers to adjust the torso length of packs without taking the pack off!

Many torso length adjustment systems require fussing with velcro, tabs or snaps. The Axiom Back System uses two straps located near the hip strap to adjust the torso length on the fly.

Samantha Killgore demonstrated this new system on the women's Alpamayo 55-75 Pack, which features easy access into the pack body, stretch water bottle pockets, and convenient hipbelt pockets, in addition to the Axiom Back System.

Weight: 5 lb 2 oz

Price: $290

Available: Spring 2014





Vasque Shapeshifter Ultra.

The Vasque Shapeshifter Ultra is an eye-catching trail running shoe with an outsole made from a huge wedge of flashy, injection-molded EVA foam. Vasque's Angie Houck claims that this new outsole improves both speed and traction by conforming more closely to the trail surface.

Vasque uses the Boa L5 lacing system to reduce weight and provide superior fit. The brightly colored foam outsole and the dial-a-fit style lacing system give the shoe a decidedly futuristic appearance.

Weight: 10.6 oz (Men’s size 9)

Price: $169.99

Available: March 2014




Keen Olympus
Keen Olympus, showing Dyneema heel and toe.

Keen sends socks to a lab for abrasion testing. Its new Olympus Collection of socks presented a unique challenge: The lab was unable to wear out the socks! Finally, after more than 95,000 cycles of wear testing, over the course of more than a week, they were able to wear through the socks.

The secret weapon is a healthy dose of Dyneema fiber in the toe and heel, the highest wear areas of the sock.  Keen claims that this unique fiber not only increases durability, but also helps prevent blisters.

Not satisfied with lab testing alone, Keen collaborated with the Pacific Crest Trail Association* to send these socks out for real-world testing with 14 thru-hikers who will attempt to traverse the entire 2,650 mile length of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.

Available: Spring 2014

Prices: $18-$22


More OR Photos!

Want more photos? Check out our ORSM Day 1 Photo Album on Facebook for more shots from the day.


*Disclosure: The author is a consultant to, and Trailspace is a proud supporter of, the Pacific Crest Trail Association.


I like to look of that pack from what I see.

Is that a BOA system I see on the Vasque's.

Keen sox(as spelled on the packaging that came with mine.) That is a pretty Hefty claim in regards to the lifespan. I have 4 pairs of Keen sox. They are marked R & L.

If you get them mixed up they definitely feel odd being they are cut to each designated foot.

I have a pair of rubber work boots I use for yard work that just eat socks.  If the folks at Keen really want a test I could wear their socks while I mow the lawn a few times ;)

Yes, that's the Boa L5 lacing system on the Vasque, Rick.

The pack looks good, I quite like Lowe backpacks, although the back system sounds very similar to one that Karrimor used 30 years ago, in fact I'm still using mine.

Dyneema is used in high-end UL packs and. Interesting to see it in a pair of socks!

Yes - it is a boa L5 lacing system. Dyneema is also incorporated into some ballistic vests, so it was very interesting to see it used in socks. Apparently the thru-hikers who were given the shocks have been encouraged to share their impressions here:

Wow! According to the link Seth provided, Keen is providing a lifetime warranty on these socks!?!?!

Does this mean a dramatic rise in the price of socks because you aren't buying new ones every few months?

I couldn't believe it either GOOSE! I'm tempted to get a pair of those sox to see if I can burn them out!

Seth said:

I couldn't believe it either GOOSE! I'm tempted to get a pair of those sox to see if I can burn them out!

 Keep me posted.

I'm envisioning an entire AT trip with 2 pairs of socks--one for walking and one for resting.

This post has been locked and is not accepting new comments