VOLUME 46 / ISSUE 2
AN OFFER WOLVERINE brand, a recognized leader in innovation for 130 years, has designed and built the best quality products since its inception in 1883 and continues to lead the market today. Fall 2013 is no different with the launch of the new Cameron and Rockford jackets. There are many duck canvas jackets on the market priced for around $100 that are very basic in nature, with minimal features and no technology. Wolverine believes that if you pay $100 you deserve $100 worth of jacket, which is exactly what these jackets deliver. “There are a lot of jackets on the market but the Cameron and Rockford jackets are truly different,” said Lisa Stoepker, Wolverine Product Manager. “We utilized 3M ™ Thinsulate ™ Insulation for warmth and 12 oz. heavy duty cotton duck canvas with DuraLock™ Defend technology for water and oil resistance. The jackets also feature Wolverine’s bi-swing back and fully articulated elbows for greater range of motion, and multiple interior and exterior pockets designed to meet the needs of every job. Combine all these elements and we’ve created the absolute best jackets for the price.” Wolverine has always backed its newest footwear technologies with a 30 day comfort guarantee. And Wolverine is backing the Cameron and Rockford jackets with the same confidence, a rare find in the apparel industry. “For $100 retail combined with all the features and functionality, we know consumers will feel these jackets are worth every penny,” said Todd Yates, President of Wolverine Brand. “We’re so confident, that if your customers are not completely satisfied with this jacket, we’ll take it back directly from them, no questions asked. We think that’s an offer you can’t refuse.”
YOU CA 1
Elasticized back combined with fully gusseted arm sockets create Wolverine’s entirely functional bi-swing back for optimum comfort and wear
Fully gusseted arm sockets for maximum flexibility without bulkiness
150 grams of 3M™ Thinsulate™ Insulation provides warmth in the harshest elements
12 oz. heavy duty cotton duck canvas with Wolverine DuraLock™ Defend technology for water and oil resistance
Triple needle stitching adds durability
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Articulated elbow pleats offer greater range of motion
Multiple interior and exterior pockets designed to securely store everything for the job Front kangaroo pockets lined with taffeta for wind resistance Concealed ribbed storm cuffs keep warm air in and cold air out Three-piece lined hood with draw cord provides extra warmth and protection
If you haven’t seen Wolverine’s Fall 2013 footwear and apparel line, contact us at 616.863.4774 or stop by our booth at one of the following shows: SHOT Show (booth # 10540), Outdoor Retailer (booth # 32155) or MAGIC.
3M™ Thinsulate™ Insulation with trusted warmth from the brand you know. The original warmth-without-bulk insulation, 3M™ Thinsulate™ Insulation enhances your ability to enjoy the outdoors, providing:
3M and Thinsulate are trademarks of 3M
• Breathable, lightweight warmth and durability • Up to nearly twice the warmth of other synthetics and one-and-a-half times the warmth of 550 fill down when equal thicknesses are measured • Highly breathable, “keep dry comfort” under damp, sweaty or rainy conditions • The freedom of movement to enjoy your time outdoors with less restriction • Dependable thermal performance through repeated washings
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D E R E E N I G ENFOR THE FIT T C E F PER Volume 46 / Issue 2
February 2013 Group Publisher / Editor In Chief James Hartford firstname.lastname@example.org 704.987.3450
Sof Sole® Fit Avoids: • Overcorrecting for improper fitting • Limiting natural range of motion
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Contributing Editors Aaron H. Bible Fernando J. Delgado Charlie Lunan Matt Powell
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Benefits: • Tailored foam density for better performance • Custom arch height for each specific foot type
MAGIC BOOTH # 62247
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ENGINEEREDFOR THEPERFECTFIT The Sof Sole® Fit Series was created to easily identify foot and arch types, resulting in an informed purchase of an insole engineered specifically for your foot. HIGH-REBOUND EVA FOAM SPECIFIC DUROMETER DENSITY CHANGES WITH ARCH TYPE, OFFERING OPTIMAL SUPPORT FOR SPECIFIC NEEDS.
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vendor focus Adidas and Five Ten Climbing Higher
THE KIDS ISSUE FEBRUARY 2013
kids color play With parents showing a willingness to pay more for quality, kids looms as an untapped opportunity
DAY PACKS A look at this fall's packs for Back-to-School
Kids On DECK Outdoor kids may be the fastest growing market segment, and just the thing to keep this country healthy and active
BEST OF OUTDOOR KIDS GAME
GIVING BACK Modell’s Fight Against Crohn’s Disease
Resource Guide Selling Spring Youth Baseball
2013 Baseball Rules Changes
ANALYSIS Digitally Enabled Kid’s Push Back-to-School Season Deeper into September
RESEARCH Fashion and Fitness Drove Growth for Athletic Brands in 2012 Back-to-School Season
I AM...SGB Tom Cove, President and CEO Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA)
The Shape That Feels Great™ INTRODUCING TWO NEW TOTALSUPPORT™ REPLACEMENT INSOLES
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Modell’s Fight Against Crohn’s Disease Like many sporting goods chains, Modell’s Sporting Goods puts a heavy focus on local programs that support families, youth, education, and physical activity. It’s earned a reputation in the northeast for its generosity around sports equipment donations. But in the medical community, the founding Modell family is known for its deep commitment to finding a cure, raising awareness and supporting research for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Bill Modell and his wife Shelby supported fundraising and building the foundation of CCFA.
By Thomas J. Ryan
The family’s dedication began, devastatingly, when Bill Modell’s son, Michael, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. At the time, physicians and researchers knew little about inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Surgery and a handful of medications were all sufferers had in those days to combat the excruciating – and at times, life-threatening side effects of IBD. Spending weeks on end at Mount Sinai Medical Center seeking help for their 9-year-old son, Bill Modell and his wife, Shelby, met another couple, Suzanne and Irwin Rosenthal in the hospital. In 1967, the two couples, along with Dr. Henry Janowitz, decided to establish the National Foundation for Ileitis & Colitis, which eventually became the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). Today, CCFA remains the only private national nonprofit organization dedicated to finding a cure for IBD. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are painful diseases that affect about 1.4 million Americans, or nearly 1 in every 200. Since its founding in 1967, CCFA has invested nearly $180 million in research, funding studies at major medical institutions and nurturing investigators at the beginning of their careers. But an equally critical part of the foundation’s mission is to provide education and support for people with Crohn’s or Colitis. Non-profits are often the positive side effect of a tragedy. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver. Nancy Brinker founded Susan G. Komen for the Cure
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after her younger sister died of breast cancer at the age of 36. Rick Geswell, CCFA’s president, said it still takes a herculean effort to launch any national non-profit, and he considers it “magical” that CCFA’s founders happened to meet since each had a special skillset that helped bring the foundation to existence. Irwin, a corporate lawyer, and his wife Suzanne focused on patient-service oriented goals and garnering support from Washington, D.C. while the Modells largely supported fundraising and building the basic structure of the foundation. Bill Modell was able to tap into his keen business sense in getting the foundation grounded, such as negotiating CCFA’s first and eventually larger office space leases. Moreover, his business, sports and political contacts proved beneficial in supporting the fundraising side. Effectively having run the company alongside his father, Henry, since 1963, Bill eventually led Modell’s to become the largest, privately-held sporting goods chain in the country. But Shelby Modell early on provided the energy and
throughout subsequent decades in spearheading fundraising efforts for the foundation. The couple’s connections helped support the first annual awards dinner in 1968 that provided the foundation’s first research grant to officially launch the foundation with its final founder, Dr. Henry Janowitz. A dedicated cadre of volunteers was recruited and chapters soon began opening around the country. “Bill was really the business guy no question about that – and Shelby was the take-no-prisoners fundraiser pit-bull,” said Geswell. “They put us on the map.” The annual dinner continues to be one of CCFA’s most successful fundraising events - raising over $1 million annually. With the support of CCFA’s team, the awards dinner is run largely “nuts to bolts” by the Modell family with assistance from many inside the sporting good chain’s organization. The efforts include reaching out to its business partners, including many inside the sporting goods industry, for sponsorships, as well as attracting many luminaries to attend to make the event a hot ticket. Over the last 45 dinners, Mario Cuomo, Abe Beame, Ed Koch, Jacob Javits, Donald Trump, Dick Ebersol, Dick Schaap, Joe Torre and Tommy Lasorda have been among the many feted at the dance. After chairing the event for 25 years, Bill and Shelby Modell in the early nineties stepped aside as cochairs and Michael and his wife, Abby, assumed responsibility for the event. Despite being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease in 1998, Michael remained staunchly committed to insuring the success of the annual awards dinner. Michael passed away in April 2001 at the age of 48 on the same day that the first gene for IBD had been discovered, considered a breakthrough by the
medical community. With his brother’s passing in addition to the loss of his father in 2005, Mitchell Modell, current CEO of Modell's, has stepped up his efforts to support the dinner. “Mitchell has picked up the baton and he’s been very impressive,” said Geswell. “He works the phones when we need it and he’s always there for me. He’s become the driving force for our annual dinner.” Geswell also noted that Mitchell has put his own “twist” on the annual event. For instance, the last dinner held in December at the Sheraton in New York City featured a casinothemed night. Said Geswell, “It was a great night. Everyone enjoyed themselves.” With the support from efforts by the CCFA, a newer generation of drugs has arrived over the last 15 years that have dramatically improved the quality of life for Crohn's patients. Doctors' understanding of Crohn's disease has also increased radically in recent years to offer more hope of even further treatment improvements and perhaps a cure. CCFA over the years has also significantly broadened its fundraising reach well beyond the annual dinner to bring in $43.5 million last year. The foundation now has two national fundraising events – Team Challenge, its endurance-training program, and Take Steps, a community walk program. But while the support group around those affected by Crohn’s disease and colitis has grown significantly since 1967, it all started in a Mount Sinai hospital room. “We celebrate the Modells every December and what Mitchell continues to do to support our efforts,” said Geswell. “It takes a lot of guts and risk to launch a national foundation but it’s been wildly successful and it continues to serve as the foundation for all we do today.” ■
Donald and Melania Trump, Mitchell and Bill Modell attend the annual awards dinner.
Mitchell and Robin Modell current co-chairs of the CCFA annual awards dinner.
Mitchell Modell is the driving force behind the annual CCFA dinner pictured here with CC Sabathia pitcher for the New York Yankees.
A N A LY S I S
Digitally Enabled Kids Push Back-to-School Season Deeper into September By Charlie Lunan
igitally enabled consumers, and particularly kids, are pushing the back-to-school season (BTS) deeper into September and even October to confirm fashion trends and take advantage of Labor Day and postLabor Day sales. The trend has important ramifications for vendors and retailers, who have traditionally used BTS sales to get an early read on what products and styles will sell best during the holidays. As more spending shifts from August to September, retailers and their vendors have less time to respond to consumer demand. “The shift in terms of the way the consumer is shopping to more online and the whole omni-channel aspect of what our businesses are going to look like going forward is shifting as we speak,” said Diane Sullivan, president and CEO of Brown Shoes, owner of Famous Footwear. “So there's a tremendous
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amount of strategic time and energy we are thinking about that because it is not going away, it is accelerating.” The shift came to light last year when the National Retail Federation said its annual BTS survey showed consumers expected to boost BTS spending to $688, up nearly 15 percent for 2011. By late August, however, many were predicting a disappointing BTS season. But same-store sales growth rebounded in September and October, indicating kids and their parents pushed more of their BTS purchasing deeper into, or even beyond, the six-week season. Foot Locker posted low double-digit
comps in the key BTS months of August and September, but then saw comps accelerate to the high single-digit pace in October. Brown Shoes reported its BTS sales comped up 5.5 percent, but also reported that the business spilled over into October. “We have definitely seen a trend with kids wanting to wait to go back to school to see what other kids are wearing before they buy,” said Matt Powell, chief retail analyst with The SportsOneSource Group, which monitors POS data from more than 20,000 retail doors in multiple channels to gauge sales of sporting
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goods. “Secondly, Mom thinks she is going to get a better deal if she waits longer, and there may be some truth to that.” At Zumiez, CEO and founder Rick Brooks attributes the trend to how the Internet has empowered consumers – and particularly teens – to act more autonomously. They know they can skip the big Labor Day sale, wait until the second week of school to see what’s hot on campus and find it on sale online almost any week of the year. Over the last four years, Zumiez has seen peak BTS spending shift out of August and into September and continue for up to two weeks after schools start. Over the next five to 10 years, Brooks sees digital empowerment spreading BTS spending in both directions. “We definitely believe that things are changing, that the dollars aren't as constant as they once were and they're extending into the rest of the year,” said Brooks. “We're going to see the spending spread out…[because]…kids want that new brand when it's new and when it’s viral, when it hits their smartphone and they see it. They want you to have it then and buy it then, and they’re not going to wait till August to buy it.” Retailers are responding to this change in various ways. First and foremost, they are investing heavily in digital technology so that consumers can find, research and buy their products when and where they want. Secondly, many footwear companies have been building up their single-pair drop-ship capabilities. Brown Shoes and Hi-Tec have seen the single-pair delivery side of their drop-ship business take off in recent years as they encourage more of their dealers to offer their entire product line online. In this consignment model, the retailer receives lower margins, but avoids the risk of stocking untested SKUs. The growth of single-pair drop shipments is being driven not just by consumers placing more online orders, but by brick-and-mortar retailers fulfilling more special orders via the Internet. When combined with in-store pick-up, these drop ship programs are helping drive traffic into stores. “We are also seeing more and more online offers being converted in person at local Famous Footwear stores, which helps validate the continued importance of multi-channel opportunities for our consumers,” Sullivan said. As with the holiday selling period, the challenge remains counteracting rampant discounting at the mall and online as retailers scramble for their share of the BTS pie. While parents steadily increased their BTS budgets from 2010 through 2012, surveys show the increase had more to do with keeping up with rising prices of school supplies than buying a new pair of shoes for Trevor or a new fleece jacket for Olivia. In its 2012 survey of BTS shoppers, the National Retail Foundation found 51 percent of people were looking for sales, up from 50 percent a year earlier, indicating consumers remain very value oriented. Indeed, 11.2 percent said they had cut back on their children’s extracurricular activities, up from 10.2 percent a year earlier. Perhaps more revealing was a Deloitte’s BTS survey that showed that 38 percent of more than 1,000 parents surveyed last July expected their children to spend at least $201 of their own money buying school supplies in 2012, up from 5 percent in 2010. This confirms that today’s kids are driving much more of the BTS spending decisions than earlier generations. The ubiquity of the Internet, meanwhile, has had an homogenizing effect, since most kids buy clothes and shoes not to stand out, but to blend in.
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“Kids are much more aware today of what the trends are,” said Powell. “We used to see the BTS business being very regional. The Internet has flattened the earth, so they are much more aware today in Iowa of what's happening in L.A.” To wean this new generation of consumers off discounts, retailers are experimenting on several fronts. Zumiez is rolling out Zumiez Stash, a new loyalty program that rewards customers not only for making purchases, but for subscribing to its email newsletter, sharing their phone number, filling out an online profile, participating in certain sports, responding to online surveys and attending Zumiez events. Rewards include access to limited edition apparel and autographed skate decks. Other big box retailers are spinning off specialty concepts in a bid to peel off more serious athletes who are more inclined to pay full price. Dick’s Sporting Goods, for instance, has opened two True Runner stores to cater to serious runners, Finish Line has partnered with Gart Capital Partners to launch the Specialty Running Group, a roll up of independent running specialty stores. In November, Foot Looker announced it was launching SIX:02, a new chain of specialty stores that will carry both major and emerging fitness apparel and athletic footwear for female athletes. ■
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Fashion and Fitness Drove Growth for Athletic Brands in 2012 Back-to-School Season The 2012 Back-to-School season demonstrated that Americans continue to turn to athletic brands not just for performance but for style and comfort. By Charlie Lunan
ots of technical innovation and an abundance of colors, materials and styling drove serious athletes, soccer moms and urban fashionistas to the shoe wall in search of performance and fashion combinations. Overall apparel sales growth lagged, however, as consumers spent on lighter weight activewear and team wear and postponed expensive mid- and outer layer purchases. Athletic Footwear Trend Remained Strong
Overall sales for Sport footwear during the six-week back-to-school (BTS) period grew in the high-single digit percent range in dollars and were basically flat in units, resulting in a high single digit increase in average selling price to $56.24. Sales grew in the low-single percentage range in the first three weeks of BTS, before accelerating to low teens in the last three weeks of the season as spending continued to shift out of August and into September. By comparison, comparable spending at clothing and clothing accessories stores and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores grew between 4.9 to 6.1 percent from the year earlier period in each of the months of August and September, according to U.S. Census estimates. Sales by non-store retailers, which include
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companies that sell online, on television or via catalogs, grew 11.9 percent in August and 15 percent in September. Sales of Men’s and Kid’s Sports footwear grew in the high-singles, while sales of Women's increased in the mid-singles. “There is an athletic footwear trend,” said Foot Locker chairman and CEO Ken Hicks last November while explaining what drove the retailer’s low, double-digit comps growth in the third quarter. “More people are wearing sneakers now than a year ago. Next year, more people will be wearing them. Because of what's happening with health and wellness, more people are being active.” Foot Locker posted comp store gains of 10.2 percent for the third quarter of 2012, but comps grew 20 percent at Kids Foot Locker and Champs Sports and at a double-digit pace at U.S. Foot Locker stores and Footaction. Lightweight Running, Training and Basketball Drove Growth
Much of the growth came from Lightweight Running, Training and Basketball - which were being driven by both fashion and fitness trends. Lightweight Running sales increased 50 percent to reach 43 percent of all running shoes sold. While the growth was fueled by the growing popularity of running events, the category also became a hit with women who bought into the advertised benefits of wearing minimalist-styled shoes and the products' feminine hues.
The growth, however, came largely at the expense of traditional Running categories, such as Stability and Motion Control, where sales declined in the high-single digits, and Cushioning, where sales declined in the low teens. “The Nike Free is clearly the running shoe of choice for many of our customers,” said Lauren Peters, executive vice president and CFO for Foot Locker. “But technical running shoes from the likes of Asics and Mizuno are also doing well. As are other Nike running models such as the Flex and Dual Fusion.” The pace of growth in sales of Minimal/Barefoot runners, excluding the Nike Free, cooled significantly to 25 percent in the BTS period after doubling through the first three quarters of the year. Nike Free sales, meanwhile, grew threefold during the BTS period. BTS sales of Training footwear rose 40 percent, Men’s grew 20 percent, women’s 30 percent and kids 250 percent. Again, most of the growth in Kid’s sales came from fashion-training styles such as the Nike Griffey and Primetime styles. Basketball sales grew by a third on strong demand for major releases of shoes endorsed by marquis athletes as well as many retro styles popular with urban males. Nike observed that the basketball shoe is even catching on with girls (in the form of ITS Dunk 2 High, which features a concealed built-in wedge for an elevated feel and look). “Within men's footwear, the basketball category continues to show great momentum, with a gain of more than 20 percent,” said Foot Locker’s Peters. “Our customers were drawn to the key player shoes such as LeBron, Kobe and Rose. The Jordan brand, including Jordan Classics, is exceptionally strong, with all of the retro shoes selling through very well.” Nike Built On Lead Across Multiple Categories
SportScanInfo data shows top sellers* for the BTS period were:
• Jordan 4 Playoffs in Men’s and Kids • Air Jordan 7 Raptor in Mens and Kids (released • • • • • •
September 1) 6&7 Golden Moments pack (released in mid-August) Nike Air Force 1 White Low Nike’s Lightweight Free Run+ 3 Nike Flex Run Nike Flex Trainer Air Monarch IV Trainer
*Nike made 39 of the top 50 selling models either under the Nike or Jordan name.
As can be seen from this list, Nike and its Jordan brand remained dominant, and even added market share in a few categories. Nike grew its share of sales in the Training category 400 basis points to 75 percent, including 86 percent of Kid’s Trainer sales and 76 percent of Women’s Trainer sales, according to SportScanInfo data. Jordan sales of Basketball shoes grew 30 percent, pushing the brand’s share to 64 percent, while its parent company Nike garnered 30 percent of Basketball sales. Nike also scored with its Elite Socks Collection, which has worked its way into the school uniform across many American high schools. “Nike is in a very good place now,” said Matt Powell, chief retail analyst for The SportsOneSource Group. “Technology is driving fashion and Nike has the best technologies and plays well in multiple categories, so they can shift with the market.” Powell called out Nike’s Free, Dual Fusion, FlyWire and Plus technologies as examples that are resonating with consumers and will likely continue to drive growth in 2013 and beyond. Apparel Spending Shifts To Active And Sportswear
On the apparel side, BTS sales grew in the mid-singles in dollars and the low-singles in units, resulting in a mid-single digit increase in average selling price. Spending on Active Tops and Active Bottoms grew in the highteens and low-teens respectively as consumers opted to add to their warm weather wardrobes rather than buy more expensive mid-layers and outerwear for a winter that might be months off. Sales of Compression Apparel also grew in the high-teens. Nike’s Compression sales increased
50 percent, pushing up its share by 1,000 basis points to 48.5 percent. The gains, helped by aggressive pricing, came at the expense of Under Armour, where compression sales declined in the high-singles. Outerwear sales declined in the mid-single percentage range while Fleece sales were down in the high-singles. Retailers Foot Locker and Hibbett said branded apparel continues to outperform private label at their stores. “Nike and Under Armour drove sales volume, and Adidas made market share in-roads in the men's area,” said Becky Jones, senior vice president of merchandising for Hibbett Sports, Inc. Basketball Apparel sales were up in the high-singles, while Running Apparel grew by a third, according to SportScanInfo data. “The BTS uniforms certainly seem to include at least one verbiage T-shirt, very likely produced by our Team Edition facility,” said Peters of Foot Locker. “Within accessories, our gain was led by high performance socks from Nike, Adidas and Jordan. Hats were also doing really well, as our customers are literally looking for us to provide them with a complete head-to-toe hookup." SportScanInfo data shows sock sales grew 50 percent. Powell attributed much of that to demand for Nike’s Elite Collection, which helped Nike nearly double its sock sales during the BTS period. Excitement surrounding the Elite phenomena also benefited rivals Adidas and Under Armour, where sock sales grew about 25 percent. ■
vendor foc u s
Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R GTX
FiveTen Team VXi FiveTen Freerider Pro VXi Elements
Adidas and Five Ten Climbing Higher The merger of Adidas Outdoor and Five Ten is helping drive innovation at both brands. By Thomas J. Ryan
Adidas Outdoor management spent time at this year’s Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trumpeting the launch of Terex Solo Stealth, its first approach shoe to incorporate Five Ten’s Stealth rubber technology for uncanny grip on slick rock. At the same time, Five Ten was honored with Gear Institute’s Best in Show award at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market for its Stealth MI6 rubber. The brand’s founder Charles Cole predicts MI6 will set the new standard for rubber and likely “be on everybody’s shoes in ten years.” In an interview with SGB at the show, Rolf Reinschmidt, Senior VP of Adidas Outdoor, said Adidas acquired Five Ten in November 2011 for two reasons. First, Five Ten was highly complementary to Adidas Outdoor’s own focus with rock climbing and biking. And second it was to utilize the brands “amazing technology” in Stealth. “It was clear from the beginning that as soon as possible we would like to use Stealth also in our Adidas Outdoor shoes,” said Reinschmidt. “We know the benefits of Stealth’s unbeatable friction and grip.” The Terrex Solo Stealth features Five Ten’s C4 rubber, which is ideal for approaches, but also for athletes who spend hours on vertical rock faces drilling, belaying or taking photos and need good grip, as well as comfort. Also offering light weight and stability, the midsole features EVA foam and is reinforced using a TPU film. In the heel section, Adiprene foam absorbs impact for comfortable yet dynamic movement, even on longer approaches.
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Charles Cole, CEO and founder Five Ten, predicts MI6 will set the new standard for rubber and likely “be on everybody’s shoes in ten years.”
“It’s perfect for scrambling over talus fields, light trails and boulder fields, with the added value of having a sole designed for light climbing,” said Greg Thomsen, managing director, Adidas Outdoor USA/Agron, Inc. A wider range of Stealth product with other rubber compounds is being planned for Spring/Fall 2014. Combined with Continental rubber, Stealth gives Adidas Outdoor two of the best outsole technologies, contends Jon Edgar, outdoor business unit director for Adidas. “What we do is choose according to the application which rubber type is best,” noted Edgar. “Stealth comes from climbing so it’s great on rock while Continental comes from mountain biking and is great on the trail. That’s the starting point and we get to play around with both of them.” Thomsen feels Adidas Outdoor’s commitment to the outdoor market has been strengthened by its partnership with Five Ten and with Stealth. “The immediate response from the climbing community was instant,” said Thomsen. “For many years Stealth rubber has been the benchmark of all climbing shoe comparisons, and the combination of Stealth Rubber with an extremely comfortable, lightweight approach shoe from Adidas makes perfect sense.” Cole, who carries the title of ‘rubber wizard’ at Five Ten, admits to hearing that some people are “weirded-out” by Adidas’ move to adopt Stealth rubber. But he’s still “surprised because I invent this stuff and I want as many people to use it and take advantage of it as possible. I think it’s good for everybody.” Cole pointed to his ability to get the message out about Stealth as one of the biggest benefits to come from the Adidas merger. “We thought we had something special at Five Ten, but we couldn’t get enough people to hear us,” said Cole. “I felt like I was in that movie, “Honey I Shrunk the Kids,” where I’m that little kid yelling but everybody’s so tall they can’t hear me. Adidas has given us a much bigger megaphone and a lot more people are beginning to understand the Stealth story and how it can improve their performance in sports and their life in general.” Other benefits already accruing from the merger include smoother and timelier deliveries. As a smaller company, Five Ten had been challenged with delivery issues, Cole said. Five Ten had also been continually hard-pressed to compete with “the big guys” on price, but is starting to benefit from the economies of scale around pricing as well as quality by tapping into Adidas’ sourcing network. Five Ten’s internal team has also become more sophisticated in understanding the costs involved in the manufacturing process. Cole stated, “We can now say, ‘Is it worth it to our
end consumer?’ Or ‘Is it something that’s going to cost them and nobody really cares?’ Once you can put a price on things, you can make a much more educated decision on what you can go forward with.” On a personal level, Cole believes he was “pretty good” at financial matters but also “hated it,” and is much happier focusing largely on the more creative aspects of shoe design and advertising. But Cole wanted to talk about the new Stealth MI6 rubber, which he initially created for Tom Cruise (and his stuntman) to climb a glass building in Mission Impossible 4.
"...more people are beginning to understand the Stealth story and how it can improve their performance in sports and their life in general.” Charles Cole, CEO and founder Five Ten
“I think it’s going to cause a ‘soft revolution’ in shoes,” waxed Cole. “No one has had reasonable soft rubber to work with before.” While making it to climb glass, he found that it packed incredible cushioning and shock absorption. For instance, dropping a weighted ball on a Vibram sole leads to about a 75 percent rebound; the same drop on MI6 rebounds only 8 percent. At the same time, MI6 has the same durability at Stealth S1 or C4. “It just has this insane wear residence,” said Cole. “In the lab it measures about 10 times the abrasion resistance of our normal climbing rubber. I was able to soften it so it has a Derumeter rating of 48. And most climbing rubbers are in the high 70s and basketball and skate shoes are in the 60s. It’s like taping a piece of Jell-O to the bottom of your shoe and you get
this plush feel when you’re walking. Finally, it has massive friction where if your foot just touches something it will interlock with the surface.” MI6 rubber debuts for Fall 2013 on Five Ten’s new Team VXi, the lightest performance competition climbing shoe available (5.10 ounces/shoe), and the Freerider Pro VXi Elements, a winterized all-mountain flat-pedal bike shoe. But Cole sees applications across virtually every category, especially trail and watersports. Cole added, “If you‘ve got a friction problem, we are the solution to the fiction problem. With the feel, the cushioning and the friction, it becomes habit-forming. People who have put the shoe on don’t want to go back to their old shoes. It’s a big change.” Overall, Cole said Five Ten’s revenues were up significantly in the first two quarters of 2012, slowed down in the third quarter, but bounced back in the fourth. Cycling is especially strong for the brand and will overtake climbing as its largest category in 2013. Said Cole, “All the demographics are good for cycling from the economy, the gas, the trends - you name it, cycling is an encouraging demographic and set to grow.” Five Ten also continues to gain a stronger foothold in outdoor and action sports activities fitting its “Brand of the Brave” mantra. He continues to believe that although both are sharing Stealth technologies, Adidas and Five Ten are clearly differentiated in the marketplace. Said Cole, “They’re always going to be a little more mass market than we are. Our shoes are geared a little more niche and a little more specialty. And the athletes who buy our shoes are the guys that do the things where everybody points and says, ‘That guy’s crazy.’” Reinschmidt agreed that the integration is going well. He said, “You can already see improvement within the Five Ten range because of our
support. And our athletes love the MI6. The MI6 is going to be the future of Stealth. You can bet on that.” Outside the Terrex Solo Stealth, notable Fall 2013 launches for Adidas Outdoor include new Swift R styles for men and women. The super-lightweight, breathable, allterrain running shoe tones down some of the technology of the award-winning sister shoe, the Terrex Fast R, to achieve a friendlier price but still packs plenty of performance. The collection includes the Swift R GTX, MSRP $135, with a waterproof/breathable Gore-Tex bootie built in as well as a non-Gore-Tex model, the Swift R, MSRP $115.
Terrex Solo Stealth
Holtanna Boot II
the Endosphere, that combines lightweight cold weather protection with the comfort and non-restricted freedom of movement by incorporating stretch panels and stretch insulation in this unique cold weather jacket. The Solo Stealth launch comes as the overall Adidas Outdoor business continues to expand since its re-launch a few years ago. In 2011, Adidas Outdoors’ revenues grew 40 percent to €300 million (U.S. $400 million) to make the brand one of the largest worldwide. Said Reinschmidt, “That shocked the outdoor world but we are truly a global brand. We are in Russia, China, Korea, Germany…outside of The North Face, there’s hardly any other brand that has the global exposure that we have.” Reinschmidt did note that growth softened in 2012 due to the unseasonal winter in 2011 that led to inventory challenges across the outdoor category, as well as some stagnant economies, particularly in Europe. But he said Adidas Outdoor is “absolutely on track to reach our 500 million euro goal that we plan to do for 2015. Add Five Ten to that, and we are set.” In the U.S., the brand launched in fall 2011 and business ended up ahead of forecast (and budget) for the full year 2012 and looks strong with good growth in 2013.
For winter wear, the outsole on the Holtanna Boot II, MSRP $150, incorporates Adidas’ proprietary "Thermal Sensitive Rubber" lugs that become hard and stiff in cold weather and act like a built in set of crampons. Insulated with Primaloft and constructed with a high waterproof rubber rand and waterproof materials, the Holtanna is ideal for wet snowy conditions. In apparel, Adidas Outdoor will deliver its first Gore-Tex jacket. The Advanced Jacket incorporates a built in face guard, the newest generation of Pro Gore-Tex material (28 percent more breathable) and unique merino wool-lined ventilated breath warmer to help take the chill out of frosty high altitude air. Adidas Outdoor will also mark the first use of stretch Primaloft insulation in a performance jacket, Adidas Outdoors Advanced Jacket
16 FEBRUARY 2013
Reinschmidt admitted that the brand did face challenges in 2012 in the U.S. with high inventories in the channel causing some dealers to be more cautious about taking a risk on a newer brand. But he said Adidas Outdoor still found an “extremely strong footwear offering” in the U.S., with online partners such as Zappos. Outside its core mountaineering and climbing shoes, the brand has also gained a strong foothold in watersports and with kids. Reinschmidt believes Adidas Outdoor’s more youthful positioning continues to differentiate it in the marketplace and is bound to connect with the future outdoor generations. “We are very colorful and very young while the U.S. market is a little older,” said Reinschmidt. “We see some challenges but we think they are more market-driven than productdriven. We know that all our athletes and our young kids love our product.” Thomsen noted that Adidas Outdoor footwear has earned numerous design awards and has experienced strong sell-through in both men's and women's styles. He pointed to an “amazing surge” seen this fall in its kids footwear business while its watersports, led by its CC Lace Boat Shoe, along with the functional Jawpaw and award-winning Hydroterra Shandal, drove its summer business. The apparel lineup continues to build momentum, where the athletic fit and bolder color selection strongly resonates with the highly active young climbing market. Added Thomsen, “Our challenge - along with all outdoor specialty retailers - is to bring this new generation of outdoor athletes into the specialty stores.” Looking to 2014, Reinschmidt is enthused about further rollouts of a wider range of Stealth-supported product on the footwear side. “While the market share is not that big, the mind share and reputation around Five Ten is huge,” said Reinschmidt. “We will be maximizing it.” ■
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18 FEBRUARY 2013
With parents showing a willingness to pay MORE for quality, kids looms as an untapped opportunity.
By Thomas J. Ryan
With splashes of brighter colors showing up on adult running and hiking shoe walls in recent seasons, the adults seem to be following in the footsteps of kids' trends for a change. The big sellers in kids continues to benefit from the ‘take-me-down’ trend, whether because kids want to dress like their older siblings or the ‘mini-me’ trend, where a girl wants to dress like her mom or a boy like his dad. Ranking as the second largest footwear category in the athletic space after running, it also remains a sizeable opportunity for retailers. Still, kids remains a challenging category for chains, in part because many SKUs are required to adequately fill the large size range (infant, preschool and grade school sizes). Parents also tend to be even more price-conscious given that kids often quickly outgrow their shoes. As a result, margins tend to be lower. “As designs and technologies advance in the adult space, it becomes more costly and challenging to take down the most compelling adult product into balance,” said Meredith Greeno, product manager, New Balance Kids, while noting that such product typically garners the highest demand. “In addition to cost, the actual kids takedown development is very challenging as the marketplace mandates that kids “mini-me” product truly mimic adults but also launch simultaneously,” Greeno added. “With that said, kids product-teams need to be extremely nimble and be able to flex as adult product changes during the development cycle but still get on retail shelves at the same time.” On the brighter side, parents are increasingly willing to pay more for
quality, versatility, durability and often a fashion play. Experimental colors and fashion-forward treatments are also more widely allowed in kids. “We've found that style, quality and comfort are most important to parents,” said Lorelei Davis, senior product manager at Timberland. “If you get those elements right, parents are willing to invest in a quality boot that children love, that keeps them protected from the elements and has versatile wearing occasions.” “The opportunity in kids footwear is growing feet!,” added Erin Simons, product line manager for kids at Keen. “Despite the margin and SKU challenges of the business, kids need shoes and they need shoes more often because their feet are growing. Increasingly, there are also fashion and trend elements to kids footwear. You have the “want” element of buying new shoes to stay trend-relevant and the “need” element of requiring new shoes that fit growing feet.” Simons said that where the adult side of the business has seen a toning down of neons, the kids’ marketplace is still receptive to bright colors and patterns because it reads young and fun. She added, “Classic styling is also being taken down into kids footwear…the mommy-and-me story continues with women’s and girl’s boots, as well as men’s and boys’ desert boots.”
Luna Boot Luna MJ
For Fall/Winter 2013, a kids’ highlight from Keen includes the Sorrento for boys, MSRP $55. Inspired by European styling, the leather and synthetic upper with a classic oxford lace design helps transition from school days to play days. On the trendier side is the fashion-forward Luna Boot, MSRP $70, and Luna MJ, MSRP $55. Both styles feature bright, colorful suede uppers with stitched floral details. The Luna Boot features a medial side zipper and the Luna MJ ensures on-and-off ease with adjustable instep straps. SKECHERS
Air-Mazing Kid: Fierce Flex
Fila has increased its focus in the kids business in the last few seasons after eyeing a greater opportunity in the marketplace. “We've found that our growth in adult sport categories like running and basketball has allowed us to expand our kids range to bring in more and better kids-specific shoes to market,” said Mark Eggert VP of footwear design and advanced concepts at Fila. “As our adult lifestyle range continues to experience a resurgence, we expect the kids range to expand into this category as well.” Fila Crater
Bella Ballerina: Prima - Sweet Spun
Hydee Plus 2
20 FEBRUARY 2013
Skechers is extending its newer push in performance shoes to kids. The Air-Mazing Kid: Fierce Flex, MSRP $45, is a lightweight and flexible sneaker with wrap-around side panels on the sole for added stability. For girls, the Bella Ballerina: Prima - Sweet Spun, MSRP $52, features a spin disc on the sole so girls can twirl on their toes like a ballerina. The Hydee Plus 2, MSRP $49, is a suede and glitter high top featuring a hidden two-inch wedge inside for a boost in height.
FILA Speedweave RUN
The retro Fila Crater, MSRP $50, features new tooling, a notably sculpted EVA midsole, minimal rubber outsole upper, and a hook and loop closure. In the Speedweave Run, MSRP $60, a lightweight injected DLS foam midsole provides lightweight cushioning while a minimal one-piece outsole offers traction without adding weight. Timberland’s Earthkeepers GT Scramble for boys and girls, MSRP $45 to $75, is TIMBERLAND'S made with leather and fabric and designed Earthkeepers GT for rugged durability. Rustproof D-ring Scramble supports a quick lace-up for kids just learning how to tie their shoes. Traditional lace closure provides a secure fit. Ecoconscious attributes include a Green Rubber outsole made from 42 percent
recycled rubber, recycled PET mesh lining and footbed cover. On the more stylish side, Timberland’s Earthkeepers Asphalt Trail TIMBERLAND'S Earthkeepers Bethel Buckle for girls, MSRP $85 to Asphalt Trail $95, features a padded collar around Bethel Buckle the ankle, a recycled PET lining, an OrthoLite footbed and a Green Rubber outsole for maximum traction and durability. At Lowa, the Kody Jr., MSRP $150, i s ideal for school, skate parks, trails and everything in between. Featuring Lowa’s PU Monowrap Frame midsole, a new, patented construction technique that reduces overall boot weight while retaining important lateral stability. Also includes LOWA Kody Jr. a Vibram Renovo Junior outsole; suede leather and Cordura upper; seamless, waterproof Gore-Tex lining; and climate control footbed with comfort perforations to improve breathability. Modeled after the popular Breeze, Vasque’s Breeze 2.0 UltraDry, MSRP Vasque Breeze 2.0 $79, provides parents with a fullyUltraDry featured hiker option for their kids. Includes a 1.6mm waterproof suede upper, rubber toe and heel cap, contoured EVA footbed, reflective piping, and Vasque’s UltraDry waterproofing system. Having seen a strong response Adidas with its initial U.S. kids launch of Outdoor approximately ten styles in Fall Terrex GTX K 2011, Adidas Outdoor is expanding its line to 24 styles for Fall 2013. The Terrex GTX K for boys and girls, MSRP $95, features a reflective Terrex print for enhanced visibility and safety, a GTX waterproof/breathable upper and speed lacing construction for fast and snug fit. In Fall 2011 Hi-Tec introduced its Big HI-TEC Fit System, which accommodates growing Nepal kids’ feet by allowing the boot to extend or WP Jr. retract at the midsole. For Fall 2013, the technology has spread across nearly all its kids’ styles. Besides the Big Fit System, the Nepal WP Jr., MSRP $60, features a waterproof suede and mesh upper for durability, versatile lacing system for a secure fit,
moisture-wicking lining, and a soft padded collar for comfort. From Tecnica, the Moon Boot Mini Jr., MSRP $75, features a nylon upper, a polyester lining and a natural rubber midsole with a winter formulated TPU outsole. Matt Hundley, director, marketing communications at Birki's, cited a number of trends working on the kids’ side, including vibrant, neon shades; strappy sandals; performance technologies; suede; sneakers; TECNICA Moon Boot Mini Jr. animal skin; prints; and sequins in addition to color. With more choices available, he believes kids are becoming more fashion-conscious and aware of new trends. Still, he feels parents are more open to paying up for durable, authentic footwear that packs better quality, construction and material use. “Quality and color are our sweet spots and with the trends moving in that direction we’re in a good position,” said Hundley. “And with the quality and wellness features of our products, parents feel good about the investment in their kids' feet.”
BIRKI'S Kay Stars & Stripes 2
Birki’s is seeing good dealer response in orders to its Retro Flags collection, including the Kay Stars & Stripes 2, MSRP $80. The Tuvala, MSRP $70, is part of the playful Monsters collection. Birki’s kids collections feature a cork/rubber outsole that allows more flexibility while still providing support and structure as well as a Birko-flor upper. At Teva, the Crank, MSRP $55, features Spider365 for traction on various terrain, PedalLink outsole design for integration with a bike petal and suede and mesh upper for durability and styling. TEVA Modeled after its women’s style, Lenawee the Lenawee for kids/youth, MSRP $85, features Durabrasion Rubber for traction, Tide Seal waterproof membrane to keep
COLUMBIA Youth Peakmaster Multisport Trail Shoe
COLUMBIA Youth Bugaboot Original Omni-Heat
dry and a suede and textile upper. Adam Garrett, The North Face’s director of youth footwear, said his team is putting a greater focus on taking it's successful adult styles into youth and will start to be seen in Fall 2013 with a more-aggressive push being set for Spring 2014. “Spring 2014 you will see more of a push into youth footwear,” said Garrett. “We will be debuting new technology and new silhouettes, almost tripling the number of styles in youth. There will be almost no carry-over. Once the volume is there, we will move THE NORTH FACE toward more youth-specific styles.” Nuptse For Fall 2013, The North Face’s kids’ offerings inFaux Fur II clude the Nuptse Faux Fur II for girls, MSRP $65, a winter walk-around favorite that delivers down warmth and comfort in a durable day-to-day construction. Columbia’s kids push starts with the Youth Bugaboot Original Omni-Heat, MSRP $75, a waterproof, warm and durable lace-up winter boot with Omni-
22 FEBRUARY 2013
Heat reflective for added warmth. The boot also benefits from waterproof suede leather, Omni-Heat reflective lining and is seam-sealed to keep out water. On the athletic side, the Youth Peakmaster Multisport Trail Shoe from Columbia, MSRP $60, features a breathable mesh textile upper with a suede leather overlay as well as a bungee-lace closure. For girls, Bogs, known for its signature handled, insulated neoprene footwear, is debuting the Adelaide, $78, a 100 percent waterproof, rubber riding boot made with 2mm EverDry with Bogs Max-Wick, a DuraFresh anti-odor protection insole, and a form fitting 4-way stretch upper to keep feet dry and comfortable. BOGS New Balance’s Greeno said the Adelaide colors are supporting kids on the run side. “Similar to the adult running category, color has been trending and is the biggest selling feature gravitating kids to the sporting goods footwear walls,” she said. “Whether it is colored midsoles, full colored uppers or both, kids want fun sneakers that will stand out in the classrooms and on the playgrounds.” The New Balance Kids 990v3 Neon Collection, MSRP $45 to $70, exemplifies this color trend. Said Greeno, “We have taken our most iconic, classic and heritage sneaker and 'kid-ified' it with a neon pallet and multiple color blocking options.” New Balance Kids 990v3 Neon Collection
New Balance Kids 750v2
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Let Fila take you out to the ballgame with style. Kidâ€™s shoes for all of your favorite teams.
Greeno also sees visual technology and lightweight running continuing to be hot for Back-to-School 2013, tracking the adult category. The New Balance Kids 750v2, MSRP $42 to $50, is a direct takedown of the adult 750v2 with the same aggressive sculpted Imeva midsole, rubber outsole and fast upper as men’s and women’s. From Asics, the GEL-Lyte33 GS, MSRP $65, is a new launch that allows kids to enjoy the unstructured performance similar to that found in the adult version. Kids will love the Rearfoot GEL cushioning while parents will appreciate the added durability of the enhanced outsole coverage. ASICS GEL-Lyte33 GS
For Saucony, kids’ offerings go hand-in-hand with the brand’s commitment to help end childhood obesity through its Saucony Run For Good Foundation. For backto-school, new styles include takedowns of its minimal model, the Kinvara 4, MSRP $60, as well as the Ride 6, MSRP $65, which touts a full-length SRC crash pad and an anti-microbial lining. SAUCONY Kinvara 4
K-SWISS Classic Lite Lightweight Sneaker Collection
For back-to-school, K-Swiss’ big kids story will be the launch of the Classic Lite Lightweight Sneaker Collection, MSRP $43, available in six bright colors. In response to overwhelming demand from current fans, Vibram will offer youth sizing in three FiveFingers models new for spring 2013. The Youth Alitza, MSRP $65, is a casual crossover for everyday, urban activities. The transparent mesh upper is soft and comfortable, and the contrasting colored straps across the instep offer security and style during fitness activities. Reebok is bringing its ATV19 VIBRAM Youth to kids, MSRP $70, for back-toAlitza school. Billed as the first all-terrain athletic shoe, ATV19 features irregular lugs, rugged overlays, a padded tongue and supportive collar. All of the outer lugs are beveled at a 28-degree angle, to act as stability-enhancing outriggers. Sean Finucane, head of classic's, kids and basketball at Reebok, said, “ATV19 is uniquely designed with it's 19 lugs inspired by the 'All Terrain Vehicle' - cushioning, traction, stability with independent suspension similar again to the ATV - ultimately allowing the kids to go where their minds take them.”
SAUCONY Ride 6
For Summer 2013, the big kids launch at Brooks is the ultra-light and flexible PureFlow 2, MSRP $65, that delivers tuned cushion for comfort and a reinforced toe for extra durability. BROOKS PureFlow 2
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DC Shoes builds on the 2012 debut of the Dyrdek Collection in partnership with Rob Dyrdek, the skateboard legend. In girls, the Alias Lite Hybrid Skate/ Running Shoe, MSRP $35, set for summer 2013 release is a lightweight, flexible jogger featuring DC’s Unilite technology. As part of the Wild Grinder collection, the Court Graffik Vulc WG, MSRP $50, features Dyrdek’s Wild Grinders Collaboration with DC’s Trademark “Pill Pattern” Tread.
DC SHOES Alias Lite Hybrid Skate/Running Shoe
DC SHOES Court Graffik Vulc WG
VANS Classic Slip-On VANS 106 Mid
Reef ’s Kids Bella Costas consists of take down styles from its new women's Bella Costas collection - Reef ’s collaboration with artisans in developing countries. The collection includes the Little Tropic, MSRP $44. Reef ’s signature women’s lines also come down to girls’ sizes with Little Reef Dreams, MSRP $26. REEF Little Tropic
Vans has partnered with the Disney Channel's animated comedy Phineas and Ferb for a new play on Vans’ Classic Slip-On, MSRP $42. Building on a strong trend around high-tops for children over the last few seasons, the 106 Mid for boys, MSRP $45, will be available in a color block scheme mirroring their adult counterparts. Sanuk, which was acquired by Deckers Outdoor in 2011, is rolling out girls and boys specific versions for 2013 after focusing on unisex models previously in its young history, including the reppy-ish Donna Girls, MSRP $38, on the girls side and the the Army Brat, MSRP $36, for boys.
SANUK Donna Girls
REEF Little Reef Dreams
For Back-to-School 2013, the Speedo Kid’s Surf Walker Extreme, MSRP $19, features an adjustable bungee closure for easy on/off as well as for a snug fit. The quick drying jersey upper allows for activities in and around aquatic environments. Moving into Fall 2013, Chooze, known for its focus on making the left shoe and the right shoe
SANUK Army Brat Speedo Kid’s Surf Walker Extreme
different, will introduce a new Adventure Series of hikers and water resistant. The Empower Drift Pastel, MSRP $23 to $47, features a neoprene upper, gore straps, rugged TPR outsole, webbed heel tab and molded EVA insole. At Ugg, the Butte for girls, MSRP $170, is a premium cold weather CHOOZE Empower Drift Pastel boot that fuses function and style. A Vibram outsole specifically designed for wet snowy conditions and breathable eVent membrane to guarantee comfort and wearability in the harshest weather conditions. For boys, the Mycah, MSRP $65, features top of the line suede with UGG Mycah breathable canvas.
At Kamik, the Scarlet J2, MSRP $100, is part of Kamik’s new Peak Collection, which are all boots built in the USA. Most noticeable is the faux fur snow collar and gusseted tongue. The bottoms are made with a waterproof and flexible synthetic rubber shell and Kamik’s PEAK outsole for traction on snow and ice. Also features a waterproof quilted nylon and suede upper, fixed 200B Thinsulate insulation, and salomon moisture wicking lining. XT Wings K Salomon has offered kids' trail running styles for several years, but the overall kid’s push continues to expand since it is now making kids' alpine apparel. The XT Wings K, MSRP $65, includes a quick dry breathable mesh, protective synthetic toe cap, mud guard, breakaway lace system with lace pocket, and non marking Contagrip. At Merrell, the Mix Master Jam Z-Rap Kids, MSRP $50, includes a synthetic and mesh upper with Merrell’s easy Z-Rap closure system for a personalized, secure fit in one pull so kids can easily pull it on and off all without help. Also includes M-Select Fresh that naturally prevents odors as well as M-Select Grip for traction. kamik Scarlet J2
merrell Mix Master Jam Z-Rap Kids
26 FEBRUARY 2013
Muck Boots’ Hale Boot Collection
Muc Boots’ Hale Boot Collection for boys and girls, MSRP $70, is offered in seven bold, bright colors. They are 100-percent waterproof to the top of the boot, not just to the mid-sole. Other features include a stretch-fit topline binding that snugs the leg; 4mm SBR flex-foam bootie with four-way stretch nylon; and a diamond tread selfcleaning outsole. Sperry Top-Sider A/O Gore
Sperry Top-Sider is putting a strong emphasis on animal prints and fashion forward shoes in its youth collection. Styles include the the A/O Gore, MSRP $55, with a nonmarking molded outsole for traction on wet surfaces.’ At Crocs, a more athletic-take in kids is the Dawson Washable Suede Sneaker, MSRP $40, that also benefits from an easy-on, hook and loop closure along with a rubber outsole for improved traction and durability. ■ crocs Dawson Washable Suede Sneaker
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DAY PACKS Carry the Weight of the Category
A look at this fall's back-to-school backpacks By Aaron H. Bible
Day Packs are one of the fastest growing pack categories at retail. Not only has there been a massive increase in the number of technical Day Packs available to retailers, but there is an increased emphasis on crossover styling and usability, allowing people to take their Day Pack on the trail or the slopes and crags, as well as on the subway, to school, or on a city bike. And speaking of bikes, the commuter market has been a major force in growing the category in recent seasons, driving innovations in devicecompatible bags and packs, and taking cues from shoulder- and messenger-bag styled designs. Retro styling, hydration compatibility, device pockets and padding, and safety are all keys to look for in trending Day Packs. Following are some of the top brands with pack performing potential for Backto-School and Fall 2013 overall. Photo courtesy of Jansport
COLUMBIA SPORTSWEAR Columbia introduces several packs that are trend- and value-leading for back-toschool. They feature laptop sleeves, water repellency, comfort and an outdoorsy vibe. The Montlake, MSRP $125, features Omni-Shield advanced repellency to protect contents from wet weather. The Montlake’s techlite everyday L.O.A.D. shoulder straps make for a lightweight and versatile pack while also enhancing performance and comfort. For those who will also use the pack to travel to work or the coffee shop, an externally accessible padded sleeve will fit a laptop up to 17 inches; the sleeve is compete with a dense EVA foam shock-absorbing insert on the bottom. A removable hip belt helps prevent loose ends and compression straps will help tighten down the load. The pack also boasts a sternum strap with rescue whistle, a feature parents will appreciate. Foam padded back areas deliver comfort and support while internal organizer compartments keep small items from shifting. The Spectre, MSRP $95, is another fine backpack featuring Omni-Shield advanced repellency, padded laptop and tablet sleeve, Techlite everyday L.O.A.D. shoulder straps, internal organizer and sternum strap with rescue whistle, dimensions: 19x12x8”. And finally is the Slyder Backpack, MSRP $85, also featuring OmniShield, padded laptop/tablet sleeve with EVA foam padding on bottom, internal organization and rescue whistle, and lightweight padded L.O.A.D. shoulder straps. Foam padded back pads add comfort and support all over.
and bottom panel provide a unique look while a zippered front pocket opens to reveal polyester lining inside. Available in three colors (material depends on color and is either cotton canvas, a polyester/wool blend or polyester). K2 K2, who has previously been known for its full-line hardgoods, is rounding out its collections with softgoods for Fall 2013 and introduces the new Jefferson Backpack from the K2 Snowboarding department. This pack is the ideal performance-crossover piece for Fall. It’s a 19-liter pack that includes a padded computer pocket, tuck away bottle pocket, and a skateboard mounting system. The Jefferson is also a perfect school backpack for kids of all ages. BERGANS OF NORWAY Bergans has two kids’ packs out this fall, the Birkebeiner Jr. and the Nordkapp. The Birkebeiner Jr. 40 L Kids Backpack, MSRP $109, is perfect for 9 to12 year old backpackers as a mini version of Bergans' adult packs. The small pack features a lightweight and comfortable padded back, hip belt, top lid with internal and external pockets, spindrift collar, compression straps, YKK zippers, two side pockets for water and munchies, and attachment points for hiking poles. It’s made from 600D polyester in Cobalt with Neon Green accents. The Nordkapp Jr. 18 L Kids Backpack, MSRP $39, is for the adventurous 6 to 9 year old backpacker. It features a ventilated mesh back, top lid with an external pocket, spindrift collar, compression straps, YKK zippers, bottle pocket, and attachment points for an ice axe or hiking poles. It’s also made from 600D polyester in Cobalt with Neon Green accents and Navy Blue with Red accents.
BERGANS OF NORWAY
DAKINE Dakine, known for creating stylish and durable packs with an eye toward action sports, has a couple great options for back-to-school packs under $50. The Capitol, MSRP $40,is a unisex pack with a volume of 23 liters from Dakine's Parkdale series, an American heritage-inspired line with vintage design elements. The Capitol is equipped with an organizer pocket and padded laptop sleeve that fits most 15-inch laptops. Available in seven colors (shown is the Lagrande, made from fabric of 100 percent recycled plastic bottles). The Darby, MSRP $45, is a women's pack with a fashionforward design and a 25-liter volume. Vinyl logos
Birkebeiner Jr. 40L
The Nordkapp Jr. 18L
JANSPORT Coho JANSPORT Thunderclap
JANSPORT Longtime pack maker Jansport introduces two packs for the back-to-school set. The Thunderclap is a new addition for fall to the company’s Outside Collection. It features a versatile sleeve designed to fit a 3L hydration system or a 15" laptop; bottom cord storage pocket; two main compartments; ergonomic S-curve shoulder straps; front zippered stash pocket; deluxe organizer with padded phone holder; custom carabineer key clip; a web haul handle and side water bottle pocket. And of course it is adorned with genuine leather JanSport label and trims. It’s available in black, swedish blue, desert beige, grey tar and grey rabbit. The new Coho features an internal sleeve for a 15" laptop; quick access loft pocket; dedicated organizer pocket; cord management pocket; two main compartments and gear storage pocket; ergonomic S-curve shoulder straps; side compression straps; a front zip pocket; daisy chain quick-clip points; side water bottle pocket and a web haul handle. It’s available in black, hedge green, red riff, Swedish blue and berrylicious purple. KELTY Kelty’s newest back-to-school packs combine function with contemporary style for a range of ages and both men and women. Designed for hauling school and lifestyle essentials, features of this line include padded laptop and/ or tablet sleeves, helmet compatibility, gear straps, and internal organizers, with six unisex packs and three made specifically for women. From the minimalist KELTY WATTS Watts to the fully featured Tannen and Lorraine, sizes and prices range from 15 to 30 liters, MSRP $39-$79. Each pack is named after a famous character
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from a school-themed movie from the ‘70s and ‘80s and features a humorous tagline and imagery on the hangtag. An extensive color palette ranges from bright to subdued. The Kelty Bueller is built with the starving student in mind, stripped down to the bare essentials at 28 liters, MSRP $40, while the Bender/Claire (women’s) offers a “helmet hammock” and room for bike clothes, a 17” laptop/hydration sleeve and fleecelined media pocket, MSRP $60. The Marmalard/Babs KELTY Marmalard/BABS (women’s) features tension hooks and flaps for skateboard or yoga mat, MSRP $70. The new Kelty Tannen/Lorraine at 30 liters features a TSA-ready, 17” laptop/tablet sleeve and a helmet compatible shove-it pocket, MSRP $80. DEUTER Deuter has been producing top of the line German-engineered packs for more than 100 years, and this fall they introduce two new days packs that provide ample space and all- around comfort. The Zea, MSRP $59, is an uncomplicated 22-liter companion for tours, school and city treks. Making travel easy and stylish with its clean design, the Dueter Airstripes back system reduces perspiration by 15 percent, and a front pocket along with side mesh pockets provide additional storage outside the pack. Anatomically formed mesh shoulder straps offer optimal comfort when using the pack and the two-way U-shaped zip is a perfect fit for folders, a jacket and other items. Available in three colors. The 25-liter Cross City Pack, MSRP $89, is a sleek and modern pack perfect for active students, creative types and commuters who opt for versatility and function. Again in this pack the Dueter Airstripes back system reduces perspiration by 15 percent. A helmet flap is extremely handy and load adjustment straps provide control. The padded laptop sleeve fits 15-inch laptops. Anatomically formed shoulder straps keep even the heaviest load feeling light. The detachable hip belt and side compression straps make it easy to condense the pack, while 3M reflectivity keeps the pack visible during nighttime. Available in two colors.
DEUTER Cross City Pack
BLACK DIAMOND From climbing specialist Black Diamond comes the Bullet and Shot packs for small usage days. The panel-loading Bullet Pack features versatility in a sleek, trim pack, an excellent rig for off-trail or high-mileage scrambles. Complete
BLACK DIAMOND BULLET Pack
with 20 mm webbing hipbelt, a front panel zipper opening and an outer stash pocket, the Bullet Pack has great accessibility and is also hydration compatible. The Shot Pack is a classically simple, compact climbing pack. Hydration compatible and featuring a removable 25 mm webbing hipbelt, this versatile pack is a staple for day-trips. Durable 840D ballistic nylon stands up to anything. The zippered front panel opening and outer stash pocket allow essentials to stay within arms reach.
MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR Mountain Hardwear has a line of packs for Fall 2013 called “Back to Campus,” featuring both office and trail crossover style and features. The Cronus, MSRP $149, has all the organization and support needed in a durable high-volume pack with streamlined features. It has an easy-access, airport-friendly butterfly opening fully padded laptop sleeve (you don’t need to remove laptop during airport screening); a split-open zip design opens wide and lays flat for access to gear and has a document sleeve; and a HardWave back panel with soft streamlined shoulder straps for comfort. The 840D HD Nylon provides durability in two colorways. The front pocket contains sized-right tablet sleeve and zippered MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR CRONUS and mesh pockets to stay well organized and deep, zippered, easy access side pockets to store water bottles, power cords or anything else you want to have quick access to. A large, fleece lined, easy access, top pocket for quick access to sunglasses, phone etc. and a low profile pocket on front of pack for small items.
KEEN Keen hits style and function with its top of the line Jamison as well as the entry level Gorge, added to make these hybrid packs available at every price point. Keen’s Fall/ Winter 2013 Hybrid Packs combine daypack comfort with messenger bag organization. Highlighting the brand’s hybrid heritage, Keen introduces new packs for fall 2013 that infuse organization-driven design with adventure-ready styling. The Jamison and Gorge join the Tilden, Ellwood and Aliso daypacks that debuted last season. “We’re thrilled to answer the call for a deeper daypack collection,” said Tim McGuire, Keen business unit director for bags and socks.
“The Jamison combines messenger-style side access with the comfort of a daypack, and is new to the marketplace.” The Jamison, MSPR $110, features the design and organization of a briefcase or messenger bag and the comfort and ease of a daypack. It features Keen TopoFoam with multidirectional perforated channels to increase airflow and ventilation and Wishbone strap technology to evenly distribute weight across the shoulders. A messenger-style side access pocket, four internal organizer pockets, a dedicated tablet sleeve, and a separate and suspended laptop sleeve make this pack officeready. The weatherproof TPU coating on the front pocket as well as the bottom of the pack combined with the grab-andgo front and side handles, give the Jamison a durable and functional exterior. Also new to the Daypack collection is the Gorge, MSRP $65, with versatility in the office and on the trail. A large U-shaped zipper opening, a padded and suspended 15-inch laptop sleeve and plenty of internal pockets for organization all provide easy access to essentials. OSPREY When it comes to innovation and craftsmanship in a versatile youth-oriented pack, Osprey is difficult to beat. The Sprint Series brings Osprey’s legacy of deluxe custom fit to youth backpacks. Combining ergonomically correct fit, technical features with Osprey design, quality and durability, these packs will provide years of comfortable trail performance for young hikers. Four packs make up the line: the Ace 48, MSRP $149, the Jib 35, MSRP $129, oriented to hiking; and the Zip, MSRP $59, and Jet, MSRP $49, for campus. Shared features of the Ace and Jib include: under-lid zippered pocket; top loading with drawstring closure; stretch woven front and side pockets; dual daisy chains; integrated raincover; reflective logo imprinting; top and bottom side compression straps; ice tool loop with bungee tool tie-offs; zippered fabric hipbelt pockets and sewn-in sleeping pad straps. They are made with 600D polyester and 420D pack cloth. The customizable Sprint harness features torso adjustability, mesh covered perforated foam shoulder straps, adjustable sternum strap with rescue whistle buckle and energy gel pocket. Packs also feature the Lightwire suspension system, backpad, and passthrough spacer mesh adjustable hipbelt.
OSPREY ACE 48
OSPREY JIB 35
commuters and Hydrapak's three-liter Reversible Elite Reservoir with Shape-Shift Technology for slosh-control and easy cleaning, MSRP $110. The Laguna, is an all-day pack with side compression straps and EVA padded shoulder straps for stability and comfort. Hydrapak's three-liter Shape-Shift Reservoir is surrounded by 360-degree insulation, while the front and top loading pockets provide storage for gear and essentials, MSRP $120.
TNF ROUTER CHARGED
TNF SURGE II CHARGED
THE NORTH FACE The classic North Face urban transit style packs are now super-charged with an integrated light-weight Joey TM T1 power supply for on-the-go recharging of your smartphone, mp3 player, tablet or other USB device. The Joey TM T1 power supply features a durable water- and crush-resistant lithium polymer battery that provides two-and-a-half full battery charges or several days of partial charges. The new Router Charged, Surge II Charged and Women’s Surge II Charged Daypacks offer the ideal power-management solution to keep users connected during long days of travel or overnight trips. The secure Joey T1 pocket allows you to remove the power supply so you can use it in other bags. The neoprene laptop and tablet sleeve lays flat for securitycheckpoint friendly travel. An integrated cable system allows you to route devices to the power supply from multiple pockets, including the neoprene tablet sleeve to customize your pack. External PU zippers on the electronics pockets offer added water resistance, and a satellite USB hub with a flexible holder allows you to charge devices and the power supply without having to remove them from the bag. HYDRAPAK The bus-ready Tamarack, is constructed with lightweight Cross Soft Nylon and Baby Rip-Stop, and offers quick accessibility to pens, textbooks and layering. This fullfeatured design includes an external helmet holder for bike
TIMBUK2 San Francisco’s Timbuk2 premiers its “Packto-School” series for Fall 2013. Students are trending toward functionality and style when it comes to back-to-school, and Timbuk2 introduces an upbeat color palette, including a textured, irreverent confetti tweed with pops of color and dark chocolate herringbone, and fall-inspired hues in a weathered canvas. The collection offers three new minimalist urban designs with fully padded laptop compartment, an additional iPad/tablet slip compartment and organization for essentials. The Timbuk2 TIMBUK2 Blackbird, MSRP $69, features a fully padded BLACKBIRD laptop compartment lined with quilted tricot fabric, (fits up to 15” MacBook or similar), an additional padded iPad slip pocket lined with tricot fabric, a side access iPhone/iPod pocket with premium tricot fabric lining and weatherproof port for headphones, a padded and vented back panel, dedicated compartment with organization for gadgets, cables, power bricks, pens, etc., and a stretchy side pocket for U-lock and water bottles. The Timbuk2 Sycamore, MSRP $79, is a sleek, well-designed pack with easy access to main compartment for iGadgets and exterior pockets to keeps things organized. The Timbuk2 Jones, MSRP $79, is a minimalist pack with easy access to a large main compartment that fits even the largest binders. It features a front organizer pocket, secondary quick-access pocket for iPad or other slim items, side water bottle pocket and front zip pocket, and an internal divider holds up to a 15” MacBook. Bottom compression TIMBUK2 JONES straps offer reflective tabs for night visibility. GRANITE GEAR The Kahiltna 29 from Granite Gear is a new, full-featured pack series. These tech packs serve double duty for campus and everyday use for both men and women. The packs are named after glaciers to remind users to be conscious about their transportation choices on a daily basis, MSRP $130.
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OVERLAND EQUIPMENT Overland Equipment's Urban Pack is light and durable, made from waterproof nylon and designed for daily city use. It features a quilted tablet sleeve, secure zipper compartments and a low-profile design. It handily converts from backpack to shoulder bag, MSRP $90. ■ HYDRAPAK LAGUNA
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Kids On Outdoor kids may be the fastest growing market segment, and just the thing to keep this country healthy and active. By Aaron H. Bible and Fernando J. Delgado Photo courtesy of Keen
Kids is one of the fastest growing segments at retail, from toys and games to gear and apparel. According to The SportsOneSource Group’s Chief Retail Analyst Matt Powell, “While total apparel has grown by a high single-digit rate this year, kids’ apparel has outpaced the industry with a low-teens increase.” And there’s no reason why retailers of every persuasion can’t capitalize on this important trend. Brands like Patagonia, Marmot, Spyder, The North Face and others continue to innovate in the youth market. According to Eugene Buchanan, author of Outdoor Parents, Outdoor Kids and the website RecreatingWithKids.com, getting kids involved in outdoor activities is one of the best things you will ever do as a parent, with plenty of gear options to make it more enjoyable. “No matter the outdoor pursuit, there’s a ton of great outdoor gear on the market for kids, and it keeps getting better,” said Buchanan. “Manufacturers are realizing that helping kids get outdoors along with their families is vital to setting the outdoor hook for life.” Take a look at a few picks for top back-to-school products and games for outdoor kids this fall. 34 FEBRUARY 2013
Old Town CANOES & KAYAK'S HERON JR. KAYAK
Old Town Canoes & Kayaks, an industry stalwart since 1898, introduces its new Heron Jr. Kayak, an extension to its popular, versatile and family-friendly Heron series and designed to be nimble and maneuverable for the smaller paddler. Extremely efficient for its size, the lightweight Heron Jr. glides well and tracks straight. Comfortable, contoured seats are designed for smaller bodies, while a large cockpit provides easy entry and exit. The Heron Jr.’s innovative Tag-Along Tow System is an essential for parents too, allowing users to tow kids if they become too tired to paddle. “We want to see more kids on the water,” said Old Town Marketing Director Sara Knies. “Getting kids away from the television and into the outdoors is just one of the many reasons we designed the Heron Jr. and we’re excited to get the next generation of paddlers moving.” The Heron Jr. isn’t a shrunken version of the Heron, but a kayak designed around a kid’s frame and engineered to perform for the smaller paddler. Built for paddlers around 50 to 100 pounds, the Heron Jr. is a kayak that will grow with kids and
make it easy for the whole family to enjoy time on the water together. It features an internal foam billet for extra buoyancy. Dynamic graphics make the kayak appealing to kids while bright, fun colors make the Heron Jr. stand out on the water for added safety. Key specs are: Length 7’5”, Width 25”, Weight 29 lbs., Max Capacity 115 lbs., MRSP $349.
new soft silicone spout makes the Sport Cap 3.0 safe for new teeth. The cap's relief valve has been redesigned to be classroom-friendly, no chirping or whistling. The 12-oz. size is great when space is limited in a lunchbox or backpack.
Protect your youngster’s eyes for a lifetime of mountaineering with sunglasses just for them. The durable Julbo Loopings for small children have a looping design so there is no “upside down.” They’re made with zero toxins and are virtually unbreakable and scratch proof. They feature Julbo's most protective lens, the Spectron 4, which guarantees 100 percent
Kids like to have their own pack that way they can carry their own snacks and toys and feel like part of the team. The well-made Kikki features 100 percent Bluesign approved fabric and is a great comDeuter Kikki panion for kids going to school, on hikes, travel or adventure. It includes a spacious main compartment, ever-important reflective detail at front and sides, two external Velcro pockets, and is available in two colors, MSRP $45.
Julbo Kid’s Sunglasses
KleAn Kanteen CANISTERS & BOTTLES
Plastic food canisters are so yesteryear. Pure, clean, no-maintenance stainless steel is the only way to go when camping, packing lunches and picnicking with kids. KLEAN KANTEEN FOOD CANISTERS
protection against harmful UVA, B and C rays. Full ocular development doesn't happen until age 25, so start protecting kids’ eyes at a very young age. For older trekkers, there are other kids models from Julbo, particularly the stylish new Booba. K2 Skates Youth Inline Skates
Food Canisters are the next phase of Klean Kanteen’s revolution in food transport for school, work, and play. Bulk ready Klean Kanteen Food Canisters replace a lifetime of throw-away plastic/paper containers and bags. Better still, vacuum insulated canisters can keep things warm or cold en route. Canisters keep food or dry goods fresh because they're made from high-quality, 18/8 food-grade stainless steel that doesn't absorb food flavors or odors. The wide opening KID KANTEEN allows easy scooping, pouring SPORT BOTTLE and cleaning. The lid creates a complete stainless-steel interior and locks in flavor with an airtight seal. Canisters are strong, durable, shatterproof and leak-proof. The new Kid Kanteen Sport Bottle allows kids to stay hydrated from a healthy, non-toxic bottle. The cap is BPA-free, durable and the OLD TOWN CANOES & KAYAKS Heron Jr. Kayak
K2 Skates, a global leader in inline skates, introduces two new additions to their youth line for 2013: the Sk8 Hero Boa and Charm Boa. The future generation can now skate with comfort, performance and style that until now was only found in adult skate technology. The Sk8 Hero Boa and Charm Boa are brother and sister by design and take youth inline skates to the next level of innovation using K2’s exclusive Boa Closure System and the K2 Original Softbook for “easy on, easy off.” Parents and kids alike will benefit from the new easy-to-use system as kids are able to get in and out of their skates in under a minute. With a simple turn on the Boa Closure System, kids can evenly adjust the tightness of their skates without feeling any pressure points or worrying about laces getting caught. Designed with best-in-class specifications, these durable new skates are built to last. They are adjustable to a range of five full sizes: simple push button adjustment allows for K2 CHARM easy adjustment as children’s BOA feet grow. The skates feature an original K2 Softboot, Junior Boa cuff, F.B.I. frame, 72mm wheels and Boa lacing closure system, MSRP $145.
Salomon Kids Apparel
POCito Iris Goggle
A brain bucket for kids is probably the best investment in action sport that money can buy. And for skiing, POC is a difficult one to beat. The new POCito Helmet, MSRP $150, features a shell of injected PC/ABS with a multi-impact EPP liner. The comfortable LD foam lining is removable for easy cleaning. POC features a turn-ring size adjustment system and on the back includes a goggle clip with contact information in case the child is lost. To go with this helmet is the POCito Iris Goggle, MSRP $80, featuring the same features as the adult Iris goggle but built for kids. The optical grade polycarbonate outer lens and cellulose proprionate inner lens features an anti-scratch/anti-fog treatment. The soft-coated polyurethane frame has triple-layer face foam and is compatible with all Iris lenses. Tubbs Snowshoes
Tubbs Snowshoes gave its kids’ line of snowshoes a makeover for 2013, carrying over technology from the easyto-use adult models to children-specific designs. “We’ve taken kids and parents into account in the redesign of our children’s snowshoes this year,” said marketing manager Sarah Rose. “With changes like more ergonomic frames, easier heel straps on the bindings and fun colors, these new designs are sure to be a hit next winter.” The new models come in colors kids will love with easy-to-use, comfortable bindings so that kids and parents can enjoy hassle-free fun in the snow. The completely redesigned Glacier Snowshoe is for “tweeners” headed on adventures with the family. The QuickLock2 binding locks easily and stays snug around the boot, providing security and comfort in the popular FitStep frame. For fast-moving kids, the Glacier’s tighter frame shape accommodates a kid’s narrower stance and a fixed toe cord helps the snowshoes stay close to the foot, MSRP $90. The Flex Jr. is designed for kids’ ages 6 to 10 years old and includes the award-winning Flex Tail design. 3D-Curved Traction Rails with rounded corners offer safe, go-anywhere grip, and the simple Quicklock binding - with an updated, easy-stretch heel strap - lets kids take control. In packed or variable snow conditions the Flex Jr. is appropriate for all weights. In powder snow conditions the Flex Jr. is best for kids 40 to 90 lbs., MSRP $60.
New for Fall/Winter 2013/14, the Junin Jr. Jacket, MSRP $80, is a softshell jacket with a protective fixed hood and two zipped pockets. It is a versatile piece that works in cool to snowy weather. Made with ClimaWIND softshell material, it offers protection and breathability. Also new for Fall/Winter 2013/14, the Sashay Jr. Jacket, MSRP $130, offers comfort and modern design cues inspired by freeski heroes, with toned-down colors for everyday winter use. It includes both ClimaPRO, a waterproof and breathable fabric and actiLITE fabric for comfort next to skin due to wicking and quick drying properties. The insulation is 160g/m2. It Salomon Sashay Jr. Jacket includes a removable zip-off hood with 3D adjustment, a powderskirt, left arm lift pass pocket, two hand-zipper pockets, goggle mesh pocket, and bottom hem fastening. Icebreaker Merino Kids Styles
Icebreaker’s Kids range for Fall/Winter 2013 features new mid-weight tops and hoodies, funky accessories, bold seasonal colors and bold graphics for kids aged 1 to 14. Star of the New Zealand-based merino specialist’s collection is a new series of tops and hoodies made from mid-weight 260gm merino wool for warmth in the outdoors. For girls, the Amity LS Crewe has a snap closure for temperature regulation, while the Amity LS Hood has a front kangaroo pocket and contrast binding for a fun color pop. The boys’ Fervor LS Crewe and Fervor LS Hood have cool contrast color blocking. Also new is the Aotearoa LS Hood for boys, with its hand-drawn line map of New Zealand. New accessories for junior Icebreaker fans aged 1 to 14 include the boldly patterned Flurry Beanie, the Snowfall Hat with its snowflake design, the Kids Balaclava and the Kids Flexi Chute for extra neck warmth. Kids collection colors include glacial blues, rich pinks and purples, and deep green, while graphics feature natureinspired subjects such as flowers and geometric ice patterns. Merino regulates temperature, breathes to prevent overheating, is soft and non-itch against the skin, is machine washable and dries quickly. ■ ICEBREAKER THE Amity LS Crewe
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ICEBREAKER Fervor LS Hood
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Kidsâ€™ Games By Aaron H. Bible
In surveying some of the outdoors and sporting goods industry's leading retailers and manufacturers, we uncovered a few of the best games out there to hone kids' skills in various sports, gain some team building prowess, and keep them away from the glowing screens for as long as possible. 38 FEBRUARY 2013
Franklin Sports Flying Birdie Toss includes seven pieces, featuring four extra large lightweight shuttlecock tossers. One or two players can play at a time. The game consists of a 24-inch square frame that stands eight inches off the ground, a nylon target net with three scoring zones players aim at, and a carry bag, MSRP $21. Brine Kids' Supertoss Lacrosse Set Parents can get their kids to sharpen their lacrosse stick skills early, or pass the time playing catch with the Brine Kids' Supertoss Lacrosse Set. The two-pack of sticks also includes a mini ball made of soft foam rubber. The Supertoss is an ideal starter set that makes it fun for young kids to play while also preparing them for recreational leagues and more advanced competition, MSRP $25.
Kan Jam Ultimate Disc Game is a four-player disc game, similar to bean-bag toss that uses teamwork to score. Two teams of two take turns throwing and deflecting the disc toward the goal - the “kan.” The first team to reach 21 points wins the game. Kan Jam is utilized in over 2,100 schools throughout the U.S. as part of the physical education curriculum. Includes two portable goals and a custom-designed official flying disc. Recommended for ages 12 and up. Made in the USA, MSRP $40.
Poolmaster Pro-Rebounder Poolside Basketball System features a hardbody backboard, a sturdy Polyform base that can be filled with water or sand, and a 14-inch PVC hoop with a durable, hand-woven polyethylene net. The all-weather hard-body backboard stands 25.5 inches high and 34 inches wide. A Classic Pro game ball with an inflating needle is also included, MSRP $130.
Fold-N-Go Golf Toss from Franklin Sports is a great family game that can be played in the backyard or at the beach and conveniently stores in a foldable frame, making it completely portable. The setup comes equipped with complete rules and assembly instructions, along with several components, including two collapsible golf targets, six golf targets (three per color), and one storage/travel bag, MSRP $30.
Dunn Rite AquaVolley Portable Pool Volleyball Set brings team volleyball to the pool. Easy to set up and move with a fully adjustable net height and net length offers parents the capability to customize it to the size and ability of their kids. The set, which is designed for residential installation, includes 2 stands with aluminum posts, a heavy-duty 24-foot net, and a hot colored ball, MSRP $133.
Park & Sun Sports Rally Pro Toss Set combines two different games: the beanbag toss and ring toss. One to four players of any age can play at a time. The combination set is easy to set up and features an angled base station. Parts include two 16”x24” wooden targets, six bean bags and six toss rings (in blue and red) and one carry bag ready to assemble, MSRP $59.
Dunn Rite Splash & Shoot Portable Regulation Size Pool Basketball Set lets kids and families shoot hoops at the pool. All stainless steel hardware - including the 200-pound water-filled base, heavy-duty post and reinforced backboard with vinyl coated steel rim. Includes a regulationsized color-matched game ball. Variable adjustment heights up to 49 inches give kids the option of raising the hoop to increase the degree of difficulty, MSRP $242.
Selling Spring Youth Baseball
When parents and their kids trek down to the local sporting goods store in search of the right baseball equipment, the process can be overwhelming. SGB offers tips for selling youth baseball and t-ball equipment. By Fernando J. Delgado
Now that pitchers and catchers have reported to big league spring training, kids will be walking into sporting goods stores with their parents in tow, eager to buy baseball equipment for the new season. Many times, it will be a child’s first time playing baseball, meaning that their parents will often be looking for help in the store. For retailers and their sales representatives, understanding the needs of various age groups of youth players under the age of 13 will help kids and their parents find the equipment that makes the playing experience safer and more enjoyable. Tom Luke, general manager at Modell’s Sporting Goods in Parkville, MD, helps guide young players with their purchases at his store location every spring. Luke
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shared that his store identifies age groups and organizes products by those groupings, making the buying experience simpler and more convenient. “T-ball is the starting point for almost everybody,” he said. “We sort the various age groups out so that, for example, people who are looking for t-ball merchandise will find it all in one location, so that they’re not looking through a bunch of adult gloves to find t-ball gloves. T-ball balls are also together, and close to the other t-ball products. We try to group youth-sized batting gloves together with the youth bats. And then it goes into the older youth groups and, again, it’s all arranged together so that the customer that comes in looking to outfit, for instance, a 9-year old baseball player, can find everything in the one location. That’s the main thing.” Luke stressed that the key to his store’s approach is to make sure that sales associates are hands-on when assisting kids and their parents, and to know that each player will have different needs based on their age, size and
experience. Furthermore, sellers should be prepared for the fact parents may not be familiar with baseball products, especially if their child is getting ready for their first season. “We try to make associates understand that, when the customers are coming in to purchase something, a lot of the parents are first time buyers,” said Luke. “A lot of times it’s mom coming in with no baseball experience whatsoever. Sometimes dad’s at work and can’t make it there, so they might not know much. We try to walk them through what they need to buy. If they’re buying a baseball glove, we’ll let them know that perhaps they need glove oil to help break the glove in because we don’t want the child to show up to practice or a game and the coach says, ‘Hey, your glove is too stiff, you need to buy glove oil.’ And then the player comes back to us upset because we didn’t tell them what they needed.” In addition to a sales approach rooted in customer interaction, it helps for salespeople on the floor to know their product offerings and the state of youth t-ball and baseball – as obvious as it sounds. Chris Barry, a certified baseball sales associate at Sports Authority in Nottingham, MD, grew up playing competitive baseball and shared some selling tips culled from his time covering the retail floor. “For t-ball bats, the best thing to look for is the weight and the inches of the bat,” observed Barry. “Most of the bats are probably going to be about the same in terms of grip, but the height and length of the bat are important. A shorter kid who’s around four or five, they’re not going to want to use a 29-inch bat. A 25 or 26-inch bat is probably going to be the best thing for them.”
“You also always have to watch out for the rules which affect bat specifications,” continued Barry, who noted that the rules-making bodies for the youngest league levels such as the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) will approve certain bats with stamps on the bat barrel that certify that the bat’s weight and size meet USSSA standards. Barry also advises that young players stay away from wood bats for safety reasons. “I don’t recommend wood bats for kids because you don’t want them to get splinters, and the sweet spot on the wood bat barrel is smaller than the sweet spot of a metal bat,” he said. According to Barry, effectively selling gloves is rooted in identifying which positions players play, and understanding the nuances of the game as players get older. “What I usually look out for, because I was a baseball player myself, is how the players actually catch and field the ball,” offered Barry. “For example, an outfielder won’t want to buy a shorter glove, because an outfielder needs a big glove to catch fly balls.” Barry also pointed out that the youngest players, especially those under 10 years of age, are less likely to play one specific position in the field until they are older. Coaches at t-ball and the youngest rec league levels often move their players around the field in order to give each player experience at a variety of positions so that the kids better understand the game. “Younger players are going to be more versatile,” Barry explained. “They’re going to be pitching, playing shortstop, first base, second base, and the outfield - many times within the course of one game. Most parents aren’t going to be spending a lot of money just for their kid to play 10 or 15 games a season, so they want to get a generic glove - usually one that’s 12 inches - that can be used for any position.” Barry singled out the Mizuno Max Flex Fielding Glove with V-Flex technology in particular as a very popular model with young players making purchases at his location. “It’s easier for you to close your glove on the ball, and you don’t have to break it in as much,” he stated. Sizing is also essential when helping a kid find the right equipment. Bats from t-ball through youth levels and all the way up through Little League are labeled with sizes, measurements, specifications and certifications, and big box retailers will often display sizing charts or color-coded systems to help customers identify the appropriate bat for the player’s age group and body size. Such sizing charts as well as sizing information on various manufacturers’ product packaging - are similarly used for helmets and other protective equipment like catcher’s gear and cups. Modell’s Sporting Goods’ Luke said that sizing charts also come into play for players and parents who are repeat buyers and more familiar with equipment purchasing. “More experienced customers can update themselves, and
Wilson’s A500 Game Soft Youth Glove line is the lightest all-leather glove on the market. Designed for youth players, the 10.75" model (pictured) features an H-Web which works well at all positions, MSRP $50.
Louisville Slugger’s Helix Youth Glove Series features gloves with a pro mesh back for an ultra-lightweight feel and easy closure. Made with oil-treated steer hide leather which is strong and durable. Pictured is the HXY1052 model, MSRP $45.
DeMarini’s Versus Batting Gloves make hitting more comfortable for youth players with a one-piece leather palm and a compression back designed to move with the hand. The gloves feature an embossed “D” logo and a neoprene wrist strap with custom molded closure, MSRP $25.
Mizuno’s Prospect Glove Series helps youth players learn to catch the right way - in the pocket. The multiple technologies in the series make it easier for younger players to close the glove and catch the ball. Pictured is the new GPL1154 model, MSRP $69.
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there’s a lot of information on the sizing charts and product packaging that will guide them to the right glove,” said Luke. “But, again, we try to get oneon-one with the customer.” He added that Modell’s will often request sizing charts directly from manufacturers. “We tell them what we want and our specifications, and they design it for what we’re asking for, so that’s why the charts work so well. A sizing chart can be a silent salesman that stands here, so that if an associate isn’t handy nearby for whatever reason, the customer can guide themselves a little bit.” At Luke’s store location, a glove sizing chart provided by Rawlings is prominently displayed at the end of an aisle to assist customers. Entitled “How to Size a Glove”, the display breaks down three categories: age (5 and under, 6 to 8, 9 to 10, and 11 to 13), glove size (4 different size ranges) and position (infield, outfield, and both). The chart then corresponds the three categories to a color-coded system which identifies the level of play: light blue for t-ball; red for youth baseball; green for regular baseball; and two other colors for fastpitch softball and slowpitch softball, respectively. Using the chart, customers can find gloves by looking for the colored labels, making the search easier. When it comes to determining the best-fitting fielding gloves, having kids try on gloves in the store is the best way to find the perfect fit. “Our general rule of thumb that we use is that we take the player, along with their parents, over to the glove section and pull out several different sizes - which are almost always marked either right on the thumb or on the little finger,” stated Luke. “We pull out a few sizes because a lot of times parents think the gloves are either too large or too small when the kid is trying them on. He pointed out that young players will try on different gloves and parents mistakenly think that the glove is too
small because their child’s palm will “stick out” too much from the base of the glove. However, according to Luke, the key to determining the right glove fit is based on the positioning of the player’s second knuckle of their index finger upon the bridge of the glove. “We explain to them, ‘Try it on, and then when the child finds the glove where their second index knuckle is sitting right on the edge of the bridge, that’s the right size glove for them.’ We walk them through the process, and we don’t let them stand in the aisle without our help, trying to figure it out for themselves.” When selling bats, sizing and finding the right bat for each individual player is extremely important. Luke said that he puts each player through a bat holding test to determine if a bat is the correct length and weight. He places the bat in the child’s hand, and asks the child to straighten his arm and hold the bat straight out so that it is parallel to
the floor. He then times the hold for 10 seconds. “If they are still holding the bat straight [and parallel to the ground], it’s just the right weight. But if they’re struggling to keep their arm straight, it’s too heavy, and if they can easily lift the bat [over the plain of the child’s shoulder], then it’s too light,” Luke explained. As a young player gets older and more experienced, he will often demand a better performing bat, and as a player gets taller, he will need a longer or heavier bat. BBCORcertified bats will also dent very easily over the course of a season. Thus, every new season, sellers should be prepared for players coming into the store to be ready to buy a new bat. Luke shared that his Modell’s location sees a lot of business with Easton bats, while for gloves his store sells through a high volume of Rawlings products. He also noticed that Mizuno gloves are in demand with “upper end” players. Retailers, team dealers, and sales associates on the floor should also be mindful of add-ons and complementary items when selling to youth baseball players. Luke explained that it’s a good idea for sellers to find out if a young player has already purchased socks, as first-time baseball players and their parents might not consider certain uniform accessories. Another key complementary item for players buying bats is, of course, batting gloves. Luke recommends finding out if the youth player being helped is
aware of the comfort a batting glove provides throughout the course of a baseball season, and to also find out if the player plans to work on their hitting in batting cages. “If they’re old enough to go into batting cages, we always try to direct them to use batting gloves, because batting cages will tear their hands up, especially young hands that aren’t used to the wear and tear,” he said. “I don’t like to see people buying bats without thinking about the batting gloves, because repeated swings in a cage can lead to soreness and calluses, and batting gloves help prevent that.” Sports Authority’s Barry said that it’s a good idea for sellers to suggest to young players that they consider
purchasing a cup. “I don’t want to have a little kid out there on the field without a cup for protection, so I always recommend it,” he said. Breaking in gloves is important for newly-initiated kids and experienced youth players alike, so that stiff new gloves are softer and easier for the player to handle once they get to the baseball diamond. For that, retailers have glove treatment products that sellers should keep in mind. “There
Louisville Slugger’s TPX Attack Tee Ball Bat is Slugger’s newest high performance bat. The Attack is made from a composite material and has a lightweight, balanced design to keep players in control and inspire confidence at the plate, MSRP $50.
Rawlings’ Velo Youth Bat (-13) is designed with a comp-lite end cap with Bifusion technology for the ultimate bat speed. It is 1.15 BPF- approved for Little League, Babe Ruth, Pony League, AABC, Dixie League, USSSA, and all other associations, MSRP $170.
Franklin Sports’ Deluxe 3-Position Batting Tee To Go lets kids practice their swings without needing a pitcher. Includes a high impact rubber post, durable rubber ball holder, and built in carrying handle for easy portability, MSRP $20-$30.
are different technology levels to be aware of when we’re talking to customers about glove treatment,” said Modell’s Sporting Goods’ Luke. “We have to explain the differences.” He went on to say that players buying fielding gloves have three options for breaking them in and softening the leather: glove oil, conditioning cream, and heat treatment sprays. Luke also suggests that glove-buying customers look into buying a baseball to help break the glove in. “For first time buyers, I always recommend that they buy a baseball with their glove for a breaking-in purpose. Even though their team has baseballs, the player has to have something to practice with at home,” Luke shared. Meanwhile, products safeguarding against players getting jammed are another add-on item sellers can offer their customers. “Little kids are going to be swinging at everything that they possibly can when they’re first playing the game, so they’re going to get jammed a lot and feel that uncomfortable vibration in the bat,” said Sports Authority’s Barry, who suggests youth players get a power pad to reduce bat vibration and stinging. He has also noticed that kids enjoy eye black, while batting gloves and glove oil are also staple complementary products at his store. ■
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Schutt’s AiR Maxx T Youth Batting Helmet utilizes the TPU Cushioning Technology from Schutt’s football helmets and is one of the most innovative batting helmets on the market, MSRP $50 (graphics and helmet finishes available at extra cost).
Shock Doctor’s 201 Bio-Flex Cup is a protective item suggested by retailers for youth players when they shop for bats and gloves. The vented bio-shape cup is designed to shield areas where protection is most crucial, MSRP $9.
Franklin Sports’ MLB® Dr. Glove ® Oil Conditioner is great for breaking in fielding gloves. The conditioner softens, enriches, and preserves leather gloves, Made in the U.S.A. and available in a 4-ounce bottle, MSRP $3.
Easton’s Natural Grip Two Tone Junior Batting Helmet offers performance, comfort and protection for kids. The helmet comes with a high grade ABS shell for strength and an EVA impact foam for durability and protection, MSRP $40. Mizuno’s Youth Samurai Chest Protector G3 is designed with an innovative construction for durability, comfort, and very lightweight performance. Made for youth ages 9 to 12, the Samurai employs a low rebound technology to keep bounced balls close to the catcher, MSRP $94.
2013 Baseball Rules Changes A Rundown of Key Rules Changes That Will Be Implemented By Various Governing Bodies and Youth Leagues NFHS Baseball Rules Changes for 2013
New rules for the upcoming baseball season adopted by the The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) - the leading rules-making body for high school sports across the nation - will have a trickle-down effect on youth baseball leagues in subsequent years. Rule 3-3-1f restricts the use of any video monitoring or replay equipment for coaching purposes during the course of the game. Rule 3-3-1i restricts the use of any electronic devices in the coach's box. The above rules prohibit the use of any object in the coach’s possession in the coaches' box other than a stopwatch, rule book (hard copy), or scorebook. Use of video monitoring or replay equipment for coaching purposes is prohibited during the course of the game Exception to Rule 6-2-2c clarifies that an incoming pitcher be treated equally. If a pitcher is ejected, an incoming pitcher should be afforded the same warm-up criteria as if he were replacing an injured player. Note for Rule 1-3-2 clarifies and places additional emphasis on the importance and legal repercussions of altering non-wood baseball bats. Rules courtesy NFHS
Little League Baseball Rules Changes for 2013
Rule 8.01(f) has been amended to read: A pitcher must indicate visually to the umpire-in-chief, the batter and any runners the hand with which he/she intends to pitch, which may be done by wearing his/her glove on the other hand while touching the pitcher's plate. The pitcher is not permitted to pitch with the other hand until the batter is retired, the batter becomes a runner, the inning ends, the batter is substituted for by a pinch-hitter or the pitcher incurs an injury. In the event a pitcher switches pitching hands during an at-bat because he/she has suffered an injury, the pitcher may not, for the remainder of the game, pitch with the hand from which he/she has switched. The pitcher shall not be given the opportunity to throw any preparatory pitches after switching pitching hands. Any change of pitching hands must be indicated clearly to the umpire-in-chief. This rule applies to the Baseball Rulebook. Summary and Implementation - For the 2013 season, language was added mandating a pitcher must indicate which hand the player intends to pitch with to a batter. Rule courtesy Little League
Recent USSSA Baseball Bat Marks and Grandfathering Rules
The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) has recently approved new specifications for bats used by several youth and t-ball leagues. Official USSSA marks are found on many bats manufactured for use in such leagues. Big Barrel Bat Rules (2” or 2¾”) – 14U and Below - Effective January 1, 2012 - Bats must have the new permanent USSSA Mark on its taper OR be a qualified BBCOR bat OR be a Wood Bat. All of the above bats must be manufactured by an approved USSSA Bat Licensee. This rule applies to all Big Barrel Bats, including Coach Pitch bats. Small Barrel Baseball Bat Rules (2¼” or less) for 2012 and 2013 - Bats must have the new permanent USSSA mark on its taper OR have the old permanent USSSA mark (“USSSA 1.15 BPF”) OR be a Wood Bat. All of the above bats must be manufactured by an approved USSSA Bat Licensee. This applies to tee ball bats longer than 23”. For 2014 - Bats must have the new permanent USSSA mark on its taper OR be a Wood Bat. Both of the above bats must be manufactured by an approved USSSA Bat licensee. Rules courtesy USSSA
Babe Ruth League Rules Changes for 2013
Bat Rule for the Cal Ripken Baseball Division (ages 4 to 12), the bat may not exceed 33 inches in length, and the bat barrel may not exceed 2¼ inches in diameter. Only 2¼ inch barrel non-wood bats marked BPF 1.15 will be allowed. Wood 2 ¼ inch barrel bats are allowed. 10th Hitter Rule for the Cal Ripken Baseball Division, a team may elect to add a tenth hitter to the batting order for district, state and regional tournament competition as well as the Cal Ripken 10-YearOld World Series, Cal Ripken Major 60 World Series and Cal Ripken Major 70 World Series. Prior to the beginning of the game, this player will be indicated in the line-up as the "EH". The "EH" will be treated as any other starter, and cannot be eliminated during the course of the game. NOTE: If a team's line up starts with 10 players, the team must finish with 10 players. Penalty shall be a forfeit. Rules courtesy of Babe Ruth League
For full year calendar go to sportsonesource.com/events
1-5 NBS Spring Semi - Annual Market Fort Worth, TX
ISPO Munich 2013 Munich, Germany
5-7 FFANY New York, NY 6-8
ASI Dallas Dallas, TX
13-15 Magic Marketplace Las Vegas, NV 13-16 Sports Inc. Outdoor Show Phoenix, AZ 14-17
ASA-ICAST Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sport Show Oaks, PA
SOS Leadership Development & SGB 40 Under 40 Awards South Beach Miami, FL
5-8 N.S.G.A. Mgmt. Conference Palm Beach Gardens, FL 8-9 ASI New York New York, NY
JUNE 18-20 Licensing International Expo Las Vegas, NV 26-28 TAG Spring/Summer Show St. Charles, MO 27-29 Sports Inc. Athletic Show Denver, CO
17-20 WDI Worldwide Spring Show Reno, NV
23-25 Atlanta Shoe Market Atlanta, GA
10-12 BCA International Billiard & Home Recreation Expo Friedrichshafen, Germany
26-28 MRA On Snow Demo Boyne Mountain, MI
European Outdoor Trade Fair Friedrichshafen, Germany
A.D.A. Spring Show Milwaukee, WI
ASI Chicago Chicago, IL
6-10 ASA-ICAST Fred Hall Shows Long Beach, CA
17-19 NBS Specialty Outdoor Market Fort Worth, TX
ASA-ICAST Saltwater Fishing Expo Somerset, NJ
18-19 NBS Summer Market Fort Worth, TX
ASA-ICAST Fred Hall Shows San Diego, CA
ASA-ICAST World Fishing & Outdoor Exposition Suffern, NY
22-24 ASI Long Beach Long Beach, CA
AUGUST 2013 1-4
APRIL SGB Golf Outing Charleston, SC
46 FEBRUARY 2013
Outdoor Retailer Open Air Demo Salt Lake City, UT
Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Salt Lake City, UT
1-4 SGB Active Lifestyle Investors Conference Salt Lake City, UT
TRADE ASSOCIATIONS | BUYING GROUPS
Athletic Dealers of America 1395 Highland Avenue Melbourne, FL 32935 t 321.254.0091 f 321.242.7419 athleticdealersofamerica.com National Shooting Sports Foundation Flintlock Ridge Office Center 11 Mile Hill Road Newtown, CT 06470 t 203.426.1320 f. 203.426.1087 nssf.org National Sporting Goods Association 1601 Feehanville Drive / Suite 300 Mount Prospect, IL 60056 t 847.296.6742 f 847.391.9827 nsga.org Nationâ€™s Best Sports 4216 Hahn Blvd. Ft. Worth, TX 76117 t 817.788.0034 f 817.788.8542 nbs.com Outdoor Industry Association 4909 Pearl East Circle / Suite 300 Boulder, CO 80301 t 303.444.3353 f 303.444.3284 outdoorindustry.org SFIA 8505 Fenton Street Silver Spring, MD 20910 t 301.495.6321 f 301.495.6322 sfia.org Snow Sports Industries America 8377-B Greensboro Drive McLean, VA 22102 t 703.556.9020 f 703.821.8276 snowsports.org Sports, Inc. 333 2nd Avenue North Lewistown, MT 59457 t 406.538.3496 f 406.538.2801 sportsinc.com Sports Specialists Ltd. 590 Fishers Station Drive / Suite 110 Victor, NY 14564 t 585.742.1010 f 585.742.2645 sportsspecialistsltd.com Team Athletic Goods 629 Cepi Drive Chesterfield, MO 63005 t 636.530.3710 f 636.530.3711 tag1.com Worldwide 8211 South 194th Kent, WA 98032 t 253.872.8746 f 253.872.7603 wdi-wdi.com
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Tom Cove President & CEO Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) What did you want to be when you grew up? The starting catcher of what was then the Washington Senators or the quarterback of the Redskins following in the footsteps of my idol, Sonny Jurgensen. Were you into sports AS A KID? I was a traditional kid – football, baseball, basketball - from the earliest stages. I begged my parents to put the football uniform on and was the manager for my older brother’s team when I was around six years old. I played football through high school and went on to the University of Maryland where I realized was too small, too slow, and not strong enough to play D-1. I played rugby from there and competitively for the next 15 years. What was your proudest athletic moment? When our high school football team beat our rival on their field on their homecoming day. We all knew each other so there was a lot of trash talk and they were favored to win. Afterwards, our principal was so fired up he ran on the bus and told the team we could take off Monday. But my coach, in a rare case of him being more rational than the principal, said, ‘‘I don’t think we’re going to do that. You all better get to class on time on Monday.’ It reflects the central tenant of how important high school football is not only to youth development, but also to a community. It was a real Friday Night Lights moment. How did college prepare you for your career? I went to the University of Maryland, double majored in economics and political science. I worked most of my way through college on Capitol Hill parking cars, running parking lots and facilities management. I got a different view of politics and what makes people tick. Coming out of college I wanted to get away from traditional politics and do something real. After majoring in international economic development in graduate school, I landed a job with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). I had a lot of choices but I went with the DEA because I wanted to see how it worked on the ground and around the world making a difference to stop a bad thing from happening. How did you make your way to the SGMA? It’s a convergence of the planets in some way. When I worked at the DEA, the Reagan administration had a very aggressive public campaign against drugs and they used a number of sports celebrities to carry their messages. I knew people working in that area who had worked with SGMA, and when the job of running the Washington, D.C. office opened up, they suggested I apply. I didn’t know the SGMA and I didn’t really know much about the sporting goods industry. But given the opportunity, I leapt at it and never looked back. What do you like most about your job? It is a privilege to work in an industry that I believe in to my core. The role of sports, fitness, outdoor recreation and active lifestyles is central to the well being of society. And while it sounds goofy, it’s a great business to be in because you’re always working on something that other people find great joy in and get great value from. With our industry in a state of rapid change, the work is different all the time. It’s never boring. It’s always challenging. And we feel we can make a difference. What advice WOULD YOU GIVE to someone looking to get a job in the sporting goods industry? Follow your passion but the way to be successful in this industry is to have particular skills to match that passion in sports so you can make a difference in a work environment. Also, create opportunities and be ready to make an important decision when given the opportunity. 48 FEBRUARY 2013
Summer Market JULY 31-AUGUST 3, 2013
Open Air Demo JULY 30, 2013
UR S YO AR K D R A EN M L CA
Winter Market JANUARY 22-25, 2014
All Mountain Demo JANUARY 21, 2014