Lightweight Tech & Modern Looks Define Next Season’s Boot Assortment.
Brand execs weigh in on the key outdoor and work boot trends to watch for in 2021.
“Versatility in footwear continues to be extremely important to consumers. More shoes for the outdoors are being purchased than ever before, as consumers continue to spend a significant time there. Footwear that combines functionality and style is integral to be able to wear for multiple activities. We also continue to see sales of soft toe boots grow, as consumers can wear them for their work needs, but also doing projects around the house and casual wear.”
Lauren Poole, Brand Marketing Director, Wolverine
“Athletic inspired. Work brands are realizing there is a large portion of consumers that have never worn a boot and look at them as being heavy and uncomfortable. Hytest is focused on incorporating materials and technologies from the athletic brands to bring performance, comfort and lighter weight styles to traditional work boots without sacrificing durability.”
Matt Gould, Product Development Manager, Hytest
“One trend that is set to impact the outdoor boot category substantially in 2021 is the need for cooling technology. Additionally, as the industrial work and outdoor footwear category grows, we are seeing a demand for different styles of workwear — similar to the lifestyle category. For customers, function and safety come first, but a close second is style. We’ve seen the division between work and life grow increasingly blurred, and consumers now expect pairs that can be worn on and off the job site.”
Soyala Breen, Senior Director, Footwear Merchandising, Work, Ariat
“We see the continuation of multi-functional, multi-occasion wearable products combined with comfort and value. Specifically, in the outdoor industry, we are seeing more and more customers exploring the great outdoors – some technical, true hikers and explorers; but mainly families & “weekend warriors” spending more time outside due to the pandemic, for exercise, safe social distance “socializing” and simply to mentally recharge / decompress during this difficult year.”
Brandy McCarty, CMO / SVP Global Brand Strategy, The Eastman Group
“With the advancement of mills being able to produce sustainable or recycled fabrics and materials at lower cost than previous years, suppliers have been more aggressive with those offerings. Since they will be at a comparable price to non-recycled materials, I think brands will follow suit organically. Smart fabrics are continuing to trend, with technology that can cool or warm your foot based on the atmosphere inside the shoe, in addition to offering anti-microbial aspects.”
Jordan Anderson, Product Development Director, Rocky Boots
“New performance technologies. There has been little meaningful technical innovations in outdoor footwear in many years – and we’re excited about disrupting the category with a visible technology that has a measurable positive benefit for our Fans – making their days on the trail easier and happier.”
Erik Burbank, VP Keen Effect, Keen
“We see growing consumer expectations on how brands address corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Today’s consumer wants to understand what brands stand for, and how they are addressing these issues. Having programs in place to address these issues is now required. Specific to product, versatility and hybrid design continues to be a strong trend, but increasingly sustainability features such as recycled content, biodegradability, or plant-based materials sourcing is becoming more and more important in these products.”
Mark Mathews, VP of Sales, SCARPA North America