What’s trending for the year ahead?
Times are a-changing and brands, ranging from comfort brands to outdoor specialists, are doing their best to be soothsayers of footwear trends for 2023. We asked a range of brands about a few specific outdoor trends in particular and let them weigh in on which trends are connecting with their brand ethos and trail-ready product launches.
Accepting ever-changing temperatures and designing accordingly.
Felicitas 22, $170
Felicitas 22 has a removeable soft insole, is faux fur lined and features the brand’s TEX water resistant membrane.
“This style features Flip Grip cleats for icy conditions.”
— Rich Rask, president, Rieker Shoe Corporation
The Helm bootie features double zippers for accessibility, along with a padded heel cup and instep for comfort. Naot’s removable, anatomic cork & latex footbed is wrapped in microfiber and leather and molds to the shape of the foot with wear. It contains a 1.5” polyurethane sole with a metal shank which is extremely lightweight, durable & abrasive to prevent slipping.
“The Helm bootie is one such versatile style that can be worn through any season. Whether it’s with a jacket in the winter or a sundress in the summer, the idea of weather evolving due to climate change is more than a mere concept. Versatility is something we see our consumers turn to our shoes for every day.”
— Ayelet Lax Levy, president of USA, Naot Footwear
BIOM 2.1 X Mountain, $200
BIOM Technology encourages the foot to move more naturally and efficiently, and has an anatomical fit, plus a low profile that helps the wearer feel connected to the trail. A flexible outsole unit (the PHORENE midsole) delivers energy return and bounce, while the ECCO PERFORMANCE RUBBER+ outsole provides grip and traction. It features a reinforced sole construction for extra stability, along with a rock plate to protect the foot from stones and rocks.
“Our new BIOM 2.1 X Mountain is our next take on the rapidly growing athletic-hiking market. With this very flexible product, customers can move at a fast pace even on rainy days. It features Gore-Tex to keep the product 100% waterproof and windproof – for off-road activities or the urban jungle.”
— Felix Zahn, product director, ECCO
4” Hiker Boot
The Blend85 footbed is made with 85% recycled foam and also features ecoTweed lining, made from recycled plastic water bottles. The creation of leatherTWX starts with clippings from the floor of the factory that are swept together, ground up, bound, and then able to be reused and repurposed. The waterproof boot is oil and slip resistant.
“We’re seeing a lot of trends related to waterproof and water-resistant products, so this product has a waterproof membrane for the consumer who lives an active outdoor lifestyle. Someone that wants to go from work to the mountains or work to hiking.”
— Lee Lemon, VP of sales, Twisted X
Moving on from eco features and components to a full-on, sustainable mindset.
Xerocole All-Weather, $189.99
Xerocole has become an all-weather option for 2023, offering breathability, rugged comfort, water-resistant leather upper, a full leather lining for comfort/temperature regulation and a hand- stitched construction that enables reparability and long-term durability. The lug pattern and natural bio rubber compound provide traction on wet/loose terrain, while a plant-based PU insole provides comfort.
“Our products come with a guaranteed responsible end of life option, which is a first for category. We have products that are biocircular, which means that they are made from materials and constructions that have a proven path back to nature and can be re-streamed into responsible next lives.”
— Noah Swartz, founder, Erem
The Phisis features a flexible knit upper that stretches for ease (wrapping the foot like a sock) when slipping on and off. Due to the technical characteristics of the yarn (100% recycled polyester) and its construction (double-sided knit with thermoformed resin on the sides near the sole), it has a higher repellency to water drop penetration than a conventional knit shoe. There is a removeable recycled insole, antiviral sole and the production process is zero waste.
“We have always been focused on eco-friendly footwear, but now there is even more emphasis on our ‘sustainable future’ marketing campaign. We are using recycled materials, and most of our shoes are vegan and biodegradable.”
— Sydney Simas, VP sales and marketing, Simco Imported Shoes
Zionic WP, $190
The Zionic WP is positioned as KEEN’s most comfortable, fast and light trail shoe. It boasts a lightweight, high-energy foam midsole for a more cushioned, springy ride plus a lower-profile lug pattern for better ground contact and fluid heel-to-toe movement. Zionic is made for any outside athlete looking to move faster and go farther.
“KEEN has been consciously creating products for almost 20 years. Zionic WP features an upper that is made from 100% post-consumer recycled materials and an innovative EVA construction that eliminates any solvents from the sole by using only water-based adhesives and co-molding. The shoe also features PFAS-free water repellency and natural, pesticide-free odor control.”
— Will Schuh, senior product line manager - performance, KEEN
Deckers X Lab
X-SCAPE SNKOUT GTX Low, $185
The X-SCAPE line is designed with the performance of a running shoe, the look of a classic sneaker and the comfort of a cozy slipper. The upper is a GTX invisible fit construction within a Sorona knit upper supported by Matryx ‘wings’ to maintain foot position. The midsole is a super critical foam similar to top tier running shoes.
“Sustainability starts for each individual by using fewer products in a wide variety of situations, thanks to the quality of the components being used. This is driving all of our designs. The complementary step is to use materials that require fewer fossil fuels (Vibram N-Oil), less water and limited waste (recycled polyester). For online customers, we ‘ship in own container’ (SIOC) – meaning no more shoe boxes inside cardboard cartons.”
— Jean-Luc Diard, global VP of innovation, Deckers X Lab
The newest version of the Breeze (a style that first launched in 2004) has been modernized to reflect the needs of today’s hiker. The shoe is eco-friendly, lightweight, versatile, comfortable, breathable and durable. Recycled content is featured in the collar lining, webbing, upper mesh, heel counter, waterproofing and midsole.
“Sustainability is now more of an expectation than a trend. As we build product, we continue to look at every aspect, asking how we can make it sustainable and without sacrificing fit, comfort and durability. Breeze is our most sustainable boot and we will continue to build on this strategy.”
— Jessica Sandrin, product line merchant, Vasque Footwear
Outdoor is an arena in which consumers seek wear-anywhere styles offering both performance and lifestyle components.
Jourdain Insulated B-Dry, $200
The women’s Jourdain lace-up mid boot features a Vibram Arctic Grip sole that grabs hold of all winterized surfaces for complete sure-footed traction, as well as 200 grams of recycled insulation for full winter warmth.
“Our customers want footwear that they can wear every day and get out on the trail with. Using 100% post-consumer recycled, Freezeguard Insulation and our B-DRY Waterproof technology and winter-weather ready outsoles, our new styles have everything to get out on the trail while not being over-designed. They are comfortable and casual enough for around town wear.”
— Dan Wehunt, director of merchandising and development, Oboz
This weather-resistant boot is suitable for casual-outdoor wear, as well as recreational hiking. It provides a fashion element and will keep feet toasty, even in frigid climates. The durable TP-engineered lug outsole translates into maximum stability and versatility, while providing excellent traction.
“The Vanya is a multifunctional boot combining on-trend styling with durable outdoor properties. Suitable for outdoor trekking and city-chic lifestyle charm, the boot includes duck boot uppers, a faux-Sherpa collar, a suede profile and bright colored laces for contrast.”
— Frank Cammarata, founder, The Enjoiya Group
Merger GTX Mid, $230
LOWA has being injecting shoes with a Monowrap frame for almost 20 years and now the brand is taking this design and technology into a more casual outdoor experience. A waterproof/breathable GORE-TEX lining protects feet from the elements. Merger GTX Mid is soft, comfortable and has a speed lace for everyday accessibility.
“We’ve seen the future of multi-sport boot design and it’s the Merger GTX Mid. It’s gutsy enough for a hike and stylish enough on-trend casual wear. Featuring a single-piece upper of digitally-printed rip-stop nylon with a 3-D molded cuff, speed lacing with integrated pocket and our patented PU MONOWRAP stability frame with toe bumper, this is next-level versatility, light weight and ease.”
— Peter Sachs, general manager, LOWA Boots
Sofia Lace, $170
This style is designed to be tough enough for the city trail and sleek enough for work. It features a waterproof, full grain leather and suede upper, along with a Peak-to-Pavement rubber outsole to maximize traction and support. The 1.5-inch heel height makes for an easy transition from outdoor to casual.
“The Sofia Lace is a perfect addition to your mountain-town chic wardrobe! The heel gives it a dressier look, while the waterproof protection and toothy outsole design give it some ruggedness.”
— Jake Anderson, founder, Forsake
Summer Sandal, $54.99
The Summer Sandal is designed to be your go-to all summer season for anything you do. It offers an elastic upper and a soft micro knit upper, as well as a molded PU footbed. A LâMO-LITE EVA outsole offers comfort.
“Inspired by today’s on-the-go lifestyle, we wanted a sandal that was truly built to travel with you wherever you go this upcoming summer season. You won’t have to worry about changing your shoes when you go from running errands, the beach and out to dinner.”
— Jerry Breig, COO, LâMO
Mary is a waterproof combo of casual outdoor and light hiking. It was designed with an upgraded footbed with Dansko Natural Arch Plus, which includes a propel forepart to support forward motion, arch support and a heel stability frame for all around support for the wearer. It features hand-burnished soft upper leather as well as a Vibram Eco EVO rubber sole.
“We feel that versatility is extremely important for our consumers who are on the go and like to be outdoors. The Mary has an upgraded look with luxe hardware, gorgeous, burnished leather, and is waterproof with a Vibram sole.”
— Kelsey Jayne Gomez, product development design director, Dansko