2019 Gear Preview: New Hiking Shoes at Outdoor Retailer

Hiking footwear gets decked out with proprietary components, race car rubber, and laceless cinching systems.
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Hiking Shoe Trends We Saw at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2019

Ankle Huggers

The popularity of sock-like construction in running shoes has prompted hiking boot manufacturers to get on board, according to Tabatha Bendezu, footwear buyer at Kittery Trading Post in Kittery, Maine. More brands are unveiling hiking footwear with a stretchy knit ankle that keeps feet snug, often paired with a nontraditional lacing system like bungees or drawstrings. “This allows for quick lacing and a tighter fit than a standard lace system,” she says.

Bringing it Home

A few years ago, brands like Vibram and Gore-Tex dominated the footwear market. But Chris Ransom, footwear buyer at Mast General Store in Banner Elk, North Carolina, says more brands are moving toward proprietary outsoles and waterproof/breathable uppers. “In-house, you can control the design process from start to finish,” he says. This means less fiddling to make the shoe’s components work together, as well as lower costs. “It makes good sense to use your own products,” he says.

Rubber to Road

If you think your car and your hiking boots have nothing in common, think again. Rubber outsoles from tire manufacturers like Continental and Michelin are increasingly popular, promising to grip the trail with the same trusted stickiness of their tires. “Their tires last a long time, so if they put a piece of rubber on a hiking boot, they think it will be a long-lasting rubber,” says Michael Cronin, shoe department manager at Ramsey Outdoor in Ramsey, New Jersey.