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Federico Sbrissa of Arc'teryx shows how the new footwear line has been designed around the anatomy of the foot
UKC Gear, Jun 2014
© Jack Geldard ast weekend was a HUGE weekend for the high-end outdoor brand Arc'teryx. Not only did they host the successful third edition of their Arc'teryx Alpine Academy, bringing around 300 people in to the mountains of Chamonix to learn essential alpine skills (read more here), but they launched in to a whole new arena - footwear.
Some of the weekend wasn't spent in the high mountains, instead a team of designers, manufacturers and product specialists used their time to show off the new shoes to a whole bunch of journalists and judging by the amount of camera flashes going off and notes being scribbled, these shoes are clearly going to make headlines.
Arc'teryx being Arc'teryx (very high end and usually high priced kit manufacturers), they haven't just made a bling pair of trainers. They have come up with a whole new 'footwear system'. This actually involves a Gore-Tex liner (removable on some models) that sits inside a very fast drying outer shell. It looks a bit space age.
I've got to say that whilst this was billed as something revolutionary, I have 2 pairs of mountain boots and 2 pairs of ski boots sat at home with a similar design principle of shell and inner, although having the waterproof membrane as part of the liner instead of the outer is something new, at least to me.
With loads of funky features, hours and hours of R&D, the highest performing fabrics that are available on the market today (so we were told), and a very unique style, time will tell if these new Arc'teryx shoes become a market leader.
They are light, apparently hard wearing, very comfortable and very breathable. Usually I'm not a fan of waterproof trainers or approach shoes, as I get too sweaty, but Arc'teryx are sending some of these new shoes to UKC for a thorough testing, so we shall report back in due course and see if this really is something to this 'Adaptive Fit Technology'.
Until then here is the Arc'teryx Press Release:
Arc’teryx Technical Performance Footwear: The Adaptive Fit Advantage
Vancouver, BC – The design and construction of footwear hasn’t fundamentally changed for years. Canadian company Arc’teryx, pioneer in thermoforming and lamination, now introduces their new line of Technical Performance Footwear for Spring 2015: a line that defies current methods of shoe construction and sets a new standard in comfort and durability.
Outdoor boots offering the comfort of hut slippers have long been wishful thinking. The rugged and technical nature of mountain terrain requires sturdier materials; the need for warmth and waterproofness adds more material and diminish the wearer’s comfort.
After an intense R&D phase, the Arc’teryx footwear team now introduces the new Arc’teryx Technical Performance Footwear: Eight shoe styles for men and women, separated into low-cut approach shoes (Alpha FL) and mid-cut Hiking and light trekking boots (Bora Mid). All of them share the ‘Arc’teryx Adaptive Fit’: separately manufactured inner and outer shoes that work together for the best fit-adaptability, breathability and weather protection. In the top-of-the-line styles Alpha2 FL and Bora2 Mid, the liners are completely removable and interchangeable for improved wash and dry-ability and to extend the use and climate adaptability of the shoes.
The durable outer shell is made from a seamless one piece upper that is laminated from four layers of technical, hydrophobic materials. A large breathable woven PU coated nylon yarn insert area allows for air exchange while increasing durability. Those four layers build the upper shoe:
- a non-woven DWR-treated microfiber for smooth internal surface
- a textile woven with PU coated Nylon yarn for air flow and abrasion resistance
- 0,2 mm TPU film build integral upper support
- 0,35 mm high abrasion TPU film reinforcement on more exposed areas
This laminated one piece upper covers the light EVA mid sole, reaching down to the Vibram® rubber sole to improve its protection and durability. Each product line is equipped with an activity-specific exclusive Arc’teryx Vibram® sole. A cushioning EVA Midsole moves freely in the heel area to provide secure and flexible treading. Shaped individually for every size available, three-dimensional rubber components protect heel and toe area from rock contact. A quality Ortholite-insole rounds up the outer shoe construction.
The liner aspect of the shoes is the secret to the outstanding Arc’teryx footwear fit. All liners are separately manufactured, using Gore-Tex® Performance ComfortTM Stretch membrane for the whole bootie. The special construction reduces glue points and the absence of a tongue gives the liner an even better breathable surface area and increased waterproof coverage. An air permeable EVA foam integrated in the liner adds air-flow between skin and outer shoe. The whole liner package is stretchable and conforms to each individual foot shape for a new level of fit comfort.
In the top styles Alpha2 FL Men’s and Bora2 Mid, those liners are completely removable for improved wash-ability, dry-ability and can also be used separately of the shell as a hut/camp shoe. To extend the use and the climate adaptability of the shoe Alpha FL2 and Bora2, different liners offering higher water protection and insulation are available separately.
“From the very beginning, our goal was to bring a fresh perspective to footwear that enhances the overall mountain experience. We have a rich history of thinking beyond current materials and construction and everything about these shoes reveals the Arc’teryx genetic code of understanding what a products needs to be at its most essential level.” Federico Sbrissa, Arc’teryx Footwear Product Line Manager. “By incorporating techniques like lamination, we developed shoes that offer unprecedented durability, comfort and precision performance in the most breathable mountain footwear construction on the market.”
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