The Boot Book: Sure Footed
Brands Express Optimism for 2022, with an Increased Focus on Sustainability, Communication and Transparency.
The Boot Book: Sure Footed
Brands Express Optimism for 2022, with an Increased Focus on Sustainability, Communication and Transparency.
What has become clear, as we navigate through trying times, is that communication will be key in the footwear industry for 2022. “In order to get through this tough time – we simply need to work more closely with our suppliers and customers and both understand that the challenges are great, but we can get through them together,” says Craig Hahn, senior partner for Dryshod West. The talking point applies to retail relationships as well, with Mike Roundhouse, VP and GM, Rocky Brands, finding success in being honest. “By trying to do the right things by our retail partners, we’ve maintained a level of service and delivery that we can be proud of,” he explains. Here is what we have heard from industry executives regarding challenges, opportunities and trends for 2022.
Puma Safety Fuse Knit Blue Women’s Low
The new women’s models from Puma Safety’s sport-inspired Motion Protect 2.0 performance safety line are designed to offer the perfect symbiosis of cushioning, energy return and design. Features include: slip-, oil-, and heat-resistant outsole, composite toe cap, energy return Impulse Foam midsole, and a custom-fit footbed. There are low and mid-cut styles in the line. MSRP $115-$125.
Georgia Boot FLXPoint Ultra
The FLXpoint ULTRA uses advances in direct attach footwear construction, known for its comfort. A seamless injection molded construction provides flexibility and durability when combined with a Comfort Core Next Gen insole and 3-pronged TPU Suspension Shank for support. The TPU outsole is oil, slip, heat, chemical and abrasion-resistant. Available Fall ’22. MSRP $ $185.
Twisted X Men’s 10” Work Pull On Wedge Sole Boot
This casual, square toe waterproof wedge provides a modern take on an iconic style in premium, full-grain oiled leather that only looks better with age. The boot features today’s comfort with double-stitched seams, leather reinforcements, padded air-mesh lining and a molded footbed. Available Spring ’22. MSRP $189.95.
Ariat WorkHog XT Wide Square Toe BOA
Designed for custom support and a precise fit, the micro-adjustable BOA Fit System allows the wearer to “dial in” quickly and effortlessly. An Energy Max anti-fatigue insole provides cushioning and rebound for ultimate comfort. The carbon safety toe meets ASTM F2413-18 standards for electrical hazard resistant footwear and an oil- and slip-resisting Duratread outsole provides maximum wear resistance. Available May ’22. MSRP $274.95.
Dryshod Legend MXT
Made for adventure, the Legend now includes an upgraded insole for extra grip and traction. An MXT cupped outsole has high sidewalls for improved support and protection around the sides, heel, and toe areas. Robust tread lugs and high void areas provide outstanding wet surface grip in mud, on wet rocks, or when climbing uneven surfaces. Available now. MSRP $134.95-$139.95.
Thorogood Midnight Series 6” Black Moc Toe
Practical, versatile, and stylish, these USA-made work boots deliver comfort and durability. The boots have removable Ultimate Shock Absorption inserts on EVA comfort footbeds, plus a composite shank for support. The moc toe offers added flex and comfort. Goodyear storm welt construction means they can be restored and resoled when needed. Available now.
CAT Women’s Invader ST
Designed for both comfort and style, The Invader is fitting for a modern work environment. It offers CAT protection and toughness with a steel toe, in a tough, chunky, hiker-inspired silhouette. Available April ’22. MSRP $120.
Reebok Athletic Work Harman Work
It’s not a boot, but it is built to “do work” on the job. This work shoe boasts heritage, Reebok throwback style that offers an athletic edge for every day. These kicks offer extra stability with a TPU heel clip and a high abrasion classic rubber outsole for added traction. Available Spring ’22. MSRP $117.99.
Wolverine Rev Ultraspring Durashocks BOA
Built to deliver lightweight responsiveness and extreme cushioning, the Rev UltraSpring DuraShocks delivers energy back to the foot thanks to an UltraSpring midsole. The Rev absorbs shock for long days on your feet, and a micro-adjustable BOA fit system makes for a fast and effortless on/off situation. A nylon shank adds extra strength. Available Fall ’22. MSRP $185.
Rocky Boot Rampage Collection
Rocky celebrates its 90th anniversary (Brothers Bill and Mike Brooks started the shoe factory in Southeastern Ohio during the Great Depression) with a collection of waterproof, full-grain leather boots featuring a proprietary Vibram Litebase outsole. A Rocky Rebound footbed maintains all day comfort. An EVA midsole is both lightweight and flexible. Available Fall ’22. MSRP $210.
Kodiak Women’s Whitton Steel Toe 6”
A six-inch moccasin vamp boot that features a full-grain leather upper, the Whitton has a 100% recycled polyester abrasion-resistant lining and 100% recycled plastic laces. The footbed is built with an OrthoLite Hybrid compound for comfort and minimal environmental impact. Its lightweight oil and slip-resistant outsole features algae blended foam from BLOOM. Available Fall ’22. MSRP $150.
What key trends are impacting the boots you are making for 2022 and beyond?
“The market continues to shift away from boots, hikers, and casual to more athletic and lifestyle patterns and looks. We see this across all of our brands and market categories.” – Brent Jennings, VP of marketing, Warson Brands
“As the world continues to get hotter, work is getting hotter. Our customers need a shoe that helps keeps them cool. We are seeing younger consumers start to enter the trades and they do care about their looks. They want athleticism and style in their work boots. There are tons of women flooding into the warehouse and logistics industry.” - Jordan Yob, brand manager, Cat Footwear industrial products
“Consumers are looking for products with multi-functional features to maximize their purchases. The athletic outdoor silhouette will be a popular model for those with an active lifestyle. This trend is a direct transition from athleisure transforming into outdoor athletic.” - Jordan Anderson, director, product development, Rocky
“When it comes to work footwear, the expectation from customers is to provide comfort 24/7. Today, all trends are subject to the global supply chain as dealers and end consumers are hungry for product in a big way. Our product focus continues to be comfort-driven without compromising manufacturing and shipping lead times.” - Matt Tucker, VP and GM, Georgia Boot
“We are developing footwear with more sustainable materials as part of the company’s push for B-Corp status in 2022. We are also re-inventing franchises like the Sawtooth. As we look further in the future, we are looking at ways to bring our trail footwear to more athletic pursuits by developing faster and lighter footwear for summer and winter use. We are also creating new lines around the camp and recovery categories.” - Rich Hohne, Oboz Footwear, director of brand + consumer experience
“At Twisted X, waterproof footwear is becoming a big portion of our business year-round. The initial perception of traditional waterproof boots has been displaced as consumers are now looking for protection and comfort in their footwear to avoid getting their shoes and socks wet. Another key trend in 2022 is comfort. We are seeing a migration of generations moving out of athletic footwear into work or light work/light duty.” - Lee Lemon, VP of sales, Twisted X
“Many consumers previously misperceived what causes the need for waterproof shoes. They think the need must be for standing in six inches of water when that is not always the case. The number of people with job requirements outdoors or who are highly exposed to damp environments is growing. Sustainable materials and practices are becoming more prevalent as our target audiences are getting younger and more self-aware. In 2022, we anticipate seeing the hunting and outdoor footwear space increase its sustainability angle.” - Brandon Forquer, director of sales, Twisted X
“The unpredictability of weather is definitely impacting the lineup of boots we are making for Fall/Winter 2022 and beyond. We will always continue to make great winter snow boots, but it is more important than ever to diversify our product offering to include styles that have ice-grip technology and waterproof features, and may or may not have insulation.” - Taline Djourian, brand manager, Kamik
“We are seeing an increase in outdoor activity, and our focus is on comfort and performance... AKU consumers’ values align with our sustainability efforts. In 2022, we will become carbon neutral across all our facilities.” - Canice Harte, VP, sales and marketing, AKU Outdoor, USA
“Key trends influencing 2022 and beyond include; the departure from materialism to wellness, community and family; responding to the evolving needs of the next generation of foragers, farmers, fishermen/women within utility & versatility and lastly; sustainability and the importance of setting the path to making a difference on step at a time.” - Jill Saunders, director of product management, The Original Muck Boot Company and XTRATUF
“Our commitment to being responsible – environmentally, socially and economically – is embedded in everything that we do. Sustainability, versatility, and key franchise models moving into different seasons are all things we’re focused on.” - Chris Hufnagel, global brand president, Merrell
“While we do keep an eye on trends, we focus mainly on solving for a consumer need like wider calf options, extreme sizes, and our U-Turn technology which allows high arches ease of entry. We’ve applied cutting edge technology to a traditional pull-on boot, which has not been done before. We drew inspiration from professional bull riders, motorcyclists, as well as skiers and snowboarders to design a boot with the micro-adjustable BOA fit system.” - Jake Rivas, VP of footwear design, Ariat
“The pandemic escalated the consumer’s desire for wellness, comfort and protection; it shifted the way we dress. Today, comfort is a key factor in the decision-making process. Consumers want the ease of a long-lasting, durable boot, but still want to be able to dress it up or down. It’s all about shoes that serve multiple purposes and work across multiple wearing occasions.” - Steven Holt, brand president, Rockport
“Sustainable materials, including recycled, renewable and organic, are a priority for Kodiak given the demand for more responsibly made products we are seeing from retail partners and consumers. We are prioritizing the use of eco-considered materials from our supplier partners like Evoco, Primaloft and Vibram, allowing us to advance our mission to introduce performance footwear with less negative impact to the environment.” - Karen McSorley, brand manager, Kodiak
OUTDOOR & BEYOND
Baffin Ice Monster
Suitable for cold-climates where both wet and icy conditions may be present, this workhorse has four-channel hollow fiber insulation for high loft breathability and IceBite Grip for enhanced slip resistance on ice. Upper features include corrosion-resistant, non-metallic hardware and a catch-resistant speed lacing system. Available Fall ’22. MSRP $260.
LOWA Renegade Warm GTX Mid
This cold weather boot has Gore-Tex Panda insulation, a grippy new Vibram Evo outsole with Winter ICETREK compound and a cozy, winter-inspired cuff with the same fit and function elements that have made the Renegade a favorite in the LOWA Outdoor collection. Available Fall ’22. MSRP $275.
AKU Aurai DFS GTX
A highly technical boot for high altitude mountaineering and ice climbing, it offers lightness, precision and comfort. The Aural has a Kevlar upper, with a Spider Frame over-injection, ensuring resistance to impact, along with freedom of movement. The sole is Vibram Croda Litebase for stability, grip and precision. A women’s version is based on specific female plantar anatomy. Available Fall ’22. MSRP $499.95.
Propet Ridgewalker Force
Offered in four widths up to size 16 for Propet’s men’s line, the Ridgewalker Force is built to perform. Ready for any adventure, on the trail or off, the Ridgewalker Force boot is waterproof and has a new heel anchor lacing system for a secure fit. Available Aug. ’22. MSRP $114.95.
Muck Women’s Apex PAC
This performance outdoor boot offers a new adjustable closure system for a tailored fit, along with Muckskin, an upper material technology that is flexible, durable and waterproof. Muck’s new Thermal Regulating Fleece is an open-fiber technology that wicks away moisture. Avaiable in men’s and women’s offerings. Available Fall ’22. MSRP $180.
SCARPA Rush Polar GTX
Insulated and built for performance, this boot is a good choice for anything from winter hiking to walking around town, and is designed to offer a secure grip in cold, icy conditions. A taller ankle collar with a comfortable stretch fabric collar, a suede upper backed by Gore-Tex Insulated Comfort technology and Primaloft Gold Eco insulation ensure protection and warmth. Available Fall ’22. MSRP $299.
Kamik Women’s Sienna 3
This cozy, women’s seam-sealed winter boot instantly ups the ante with a fashionable knit quilted upper and water-resistant flannel, while still keeping feet safe from the elements. Sustainability reigns with ISA TanTec’s LITE eco-friendly leather and an odor-eliminating, natural/non-toxic Cleansport NXT treatment. Available Fall ’22. MSRP $139.99.
Twisted X 12” Tech X
Twisted X has infused comfort into a stylish, timeless, Western boot with the Tech X. The brand uses a patent pending manufacturing process to make the boot, which features CellStretch comfort technology. CellStretch ensures that every step taken has cloud-like comfort. Available Spring ’22. MSRP $219.95.
Oboz Bangtail Mid Insulated B-DRY
The Bangtail has the goods to beat the winter elements: A Vibram Arctic Grip outsole, PrimaLoft Bio insulation and B-DRY waterproof breathable technology. ACT+ rubberized EVA adapts to varying terrain and delivers a softer heel strike landing zone. Available Fall ’22. MSRP: $220.
Merrell Women’s Bravada 2 Thermo Demi WP
The Bravada 2 Thermo Demi WP blends fashion and function seamlessly in a winter offering for women. A waterproof membrane is protective, while recycled components keep with Merrell’s sustainability message. A Super Rebound Compound offers durable shock absorption in a mountain-grade Quantum Grip rubber outsole. Available Fall ’22. MSRP $140.
XTRATUF Ankle Deck Boot ICE
The Ankle Deck Boot (ADB) ICE allows the wearer to function on wet ice and easily transition to other wet surfaces. This waterproof boot features Glacier Trek Pro, XTRATUF’s proprietary ice-gripping compound, paired with slip-resistant rubber. Men’s and women’s offerings. Available Fall ’22. MSRP $150.
Built to be worn after training and competition, the Apres-Ski Boot helps the wearer relax and rejuvenate. This recovery series incorporates a Novalon Footstrike Technology with cushioning and an energizing propulsion that helps cradle and guide the foot. A contoured footbed evenly distributes body weight. This boot is 100% vegan. Available now. MSRP $149.
Dansko Karmel Rain Boot
Made from over 50% I’m Green Biobased EVA, this lightweight pull on boot, with double gore for adjustability, features a removable insole with Dansko Natural Arch technology for exceptional support and comfort. Available Fall ’22. MSRP $120.
The Comox boot is a new modern utility boot for men, built to take on the urban outdoors. It features a 50% recycled plastic lining and 100% recycled plastic laces, PrimaLoft P.U.R.E. insulation, and Kodiak’s Comfortzone ECO footbed. It also has is a slip-and oil-resistant Vibram TC4+ rubber outsole for trustworthy traction. Available Fall ’22. MSRP $170.
GEOX Spherica EC1
Walk in style in this sleek chelsea silhouette from GEOX. It has a Zero Shock System outsole and is a breathable, lightweight and flexible boot. Elastic gore on the side makes it an easy on/off style. Designed with comfort and durability in mind. MSRP $160.
Taking inspiration from the technical functionality of the brand’s Women’s U.S. Ski Team boot, the weather-resistant Alana adds in fashion elements and features details such as a cozy Thermolite and faux fur lining, comfort memory foam insole, lightweight and flexible midsole and a grippy outsole. Available Fall ’22. MSRP $80.
An everyday water-resistant ankle boot, the Maestro has a removable, anatomic cork and latex footbed for comfort. Part of Naot’s Aura Collection, it features a 1.5” polyurethane sole with a metal shank which is lightweight, durable and abrasive to prevent slipping. This collection uses a hand-sewn Strobel construction making it strong and flexible. Available Fall ’22. MSRP $230.
This waterproof lifestyle boot covers many trends: Hiker details, stacked-heel height and lug-sole treads — serving “high glamp” to the max. Seam-sealed technology keeps moisture out. The Spencer boot features waterproof Unbuckle and waterproof zippers. Available now. MSRP $199.95.
Rockport Umbwe II Mweka
Boasting underfoot comfort on first wearing, this boot aims to stand the test of time and appeal to all generations. Features include quality leather uppers and textile linings, moc-toe styling, hydro-shield waterproof materials, an EVA midsole. A stylish Vibram Morflex rubber outsole offers lightweight engineering for upgraded mobility. Available Sep. ’22. MSRP $190.
Chooka Bellevue Chelsea
Designed for those looking for a fashionable choice in wet weather, this functional, stylish Chelsea silhouette delivers on all fronts. The waterproof Bellevue Chelsea rain boot has a lightweight EVA outsole and a comfortable memory foam insole, too. Available now. MSRP $80.
Stylish and designed with tech for cold weather comfort, the Suma boasts a statement sole and mixed materials for a fashion-forward outdoor look. The boot has Primaloft insulation, a felt collar, polar plush lining and is temperature rated for -24 degrees. Available Fall ’22. MSRP $180.
On the trail? On the town? This stylish hiker from Rieker will deliver in either situation. The Sabrina has a water resistant “TEX” lining and also features speed laces. Available Fall ’22. MSRP $145.
2022 BUSINESS OUTLOOK
With current challenges in the marketplace ranging from increased costs to supply chain issues; how are you navigating? What is your outlook for 2022?
“Instead of pulling back we found strength in continuously increasing our inventory. While there have been delays in product getting here, we’ve been able to maintain inventory because we know we have even more on the way. Our focus has been, and remains, solely on delivering products to our retailers so that they can meet their consumers’ needs.” - Tricia Mahoney, CMO, Twisted X
“Global supply chain constraints have led to delays in launches. The pause in some production timelines has allowed us to be more rigorous and thoughtful in our launch windows. These challenges will mean that Oboz will have fewer launches in some up-coming seasons, but we remain steadfast on our product roadmap.” - Rich Hohne, director of brand + consumer experience, Oboz Footwear
“We are very optimistic about 2022. Kodiak is well positioned to support the demand for work safety and outdoor footwear. As we navigate the ongoing supply chain and delivery challenges, we remain dedicated to a regular cadence of open and concise communications with our suppliers and retail partners. This effort has been met with appreciation from our partners that outweighs their expected frustration levels. Focusing on what we can control is a skill we’ve certainly mastered in the past 20 or so months.” - Karen McSorley, brand manager, Kodiak
“Despite the challenges we have faced since March 2020, the fact that we had three manufacturing plants in North America helped us get ahead of the curve. Our domestic manufacturing also contributes to our sustainability efforts, with a zero-waste target in our plants and overall reducing our carbon footprint.” - Taline Djourian, brand manager, Kamik
“Market challenges include cost increases, factory supply chain issues, transportation logistics issues, access to production capacity, as well as HR and labor availability at the factory level due to COVID-19. Overall, Asian supply chain issues are significantly worse when compared to related European supply chain concerns. 80% of our product offering is sourced through one of our three company-owned and operated manufacturing factories located in Europe. While we are facing inflation across our raw material sourcing, we have been able to hold our consumer pricing levels to date.” - Canice Harte, VP, sales and marketing, AKU Outdoor, USA
“Our products are in demand, a demand that has far superseded our ability to supply the marketplace. I believe the future of footwear manufacturing will be impacted long term, with factories and brands focused more on reducing complexity, time on the line, and constructions. Our 2023 lines are being developed now and we are very bullish about what those seasons hold and the ability for the supply chain to recover and keep up with demand.” - Chris Hufnagel, global brand president, Merrell
“Our approach throughout the pandemic has been transparency and working as closely with our partners as possible, and that will drive us into 2022. We’ve tried to keep them as in stock as we can while focusing on our top selling styles and keeping new product launches relatively condensed. We’ve asked our partners to navigate these challenges with us in an effort to continue serving our customers.” - Mike Roundhouse, VP and GM, Rocky Brands
“Our team is working hard to secure enough inventory in the face of unprecedented disruptions and delays. We are adding production capacity as quickly as possible, and feel very optimistic about the outlook for 2022.” - Beth Cross, co-founder and CEO, Ariat
“We have encountered shipping delays and supply chain impacts. We’ve been working tirelessly to ensure this has minimal impact on our customers. We are utilizing consumer insights to prioritize collections to inject into the market early to meet both retailer and consumer needs. Being agile and nimble has become the norm to keep ahead of the challenging environment.” - Steven Holt, brand president, Rockport
“We had a tremendous growth spurt in 2021 despite the worldwide shipping crisis. 2022 looks to be an even bigger opportunity for growth. We have worked with our suppliers and factories and challenged them to move up timelines, production schedules and shipping schedules. We have asked our customers to place orders sooner than they have in the past. We expect the shipping crisis to continue well into 2022, so moving up our timelines should help us meet our customers’ needs with regards to inventory.” – Craig Hahn, senior partner, Dryshod West