Sunday, August 20, 2006

OR Summer Mkt-Timberland Outdoor Performance

Previous posts covered the introduction of the GoLite high performance trail running line which Timberland developed under license from GoLite. Mion another Timberland brand covers the high performance side of water shoes.

Timberland Outdoor Performance products are for outdoor recreationalists, folks who make the most of their free time: "Wear Now, Play Now" as Jay Steere, VP Outdoor Performance explained. The Timberland booth featured a collage of time-defined photos depicting activities throughout a day of fun: running, kayaking, scrambling, mountain biking The positioning is that the Outdoor Performance line truly is multi-sport capable. And, most all models are now available in women's sizes which a significant positive change.

Of course, from a company known for their boots, there are some fantastic hikers such as the Cadion, my personal favorite for hiking the rugged Whites of NH: light weight and as agile as a trail runner yet at the same time very supportive. Coming for Spring 2007 is an all leather Cadion, the Long Reach featuring a ceramic dot toe/forefoot wear protection system "SuperFabric tm" in place of the usual rubber rands. This approach seems to offer great flexibility in the toe area with bullet proof protection, almost literally.

Two of the speed shoes in the Spring 2007 line are the Cadion Hiking Sandal and the Vaporate Low fastpacker. Both feature the B.O.Atm Lacing System. This system uses a very fine durable stainless steel cable and a LSR Reel to easily tighten and loosen the fit with a simple turn of the reel, and without laces. First found on snowboard boots, and more recently on some NorthFace trail shoes, I had never tried B.O.A until my visit to Timberland at OR. Jay had me try the Cadion Hiking Sandal and I found the system to be fantastically easy and apparently very rugged. Ideal for fast hikers, maybe a bit heavy for trail runners. Adding to the comfort, the insole is covered with a removable and washable SmartWool "sock", a feature found on other shoes in the line and an extension of the success of the recent SmartWool lined PowerLoungers.

I liked both the Cadion Hiking Sandal and Vaporate. The Cadion, which should be available in some subtle colors, might be an ideal single shoe for travel, trail hiking, and even business if the place you go is business casual. The Vaporate would be an ideal White Mountains day hiker and on more foot friendly terrain such as Western trails an ultralight backpacker.

Reducing its environmental impact even further, Timberland introduced a Greenscapes collection of outdoor performance shoes and apparel for Spring 2007 featuring organic cotton, EcoStep Vibram outsoles made of 30% recycled rubber, and organically tanned leather. And, yes the organically tanned leather Mountain Sneaker featured that comfy SmartWool covered footbed. Timberland was not alone at OR in reducing impact on the environment. It was a major healthy trend.

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