Arc’teryx Equipment just announced a new footwear line featuring their unique brand of advanced technology and function-focused design. The hallmark of both the Alpha and Bora lines of lightweight hikers is a two-piece construction using separate, tongueless inner liners with seamless hydrophobic outer shells that has more in common with ski boot construction than traditional shoe construction.
Arc’teryx spent four years developing the shoes. To illustrate how radical a departure these shoes are from the current market offerings, company representatives say that all of the materials and technology to make the shoes was developed in-house, marking a complete departure from currently available footwear. Some of the construction methods are so new that company had to make custom production machinery to manufacture the shoes.
“From the very beginning, our goal was to bring a fresh perspective to footwear that enhances the overall mountain experience,” says Arc’teryx footwear product line manager Federico Sbrissa. “By incorporating techniques like lamination, we developed shoes that offer unprecedented durability, comfort and precision performance in the most breathable mountain footwear construction on the market.”
Exclusive to the top-of-the-line Alpha² low-cut approach shoe and Bora² mid-cut hiking boot (shown above) is a removable Gore-Tex liner that can be swapped for an optional insulated liner for use in cold weather. The liners themselves conform to the shape of the foot and have few seams, no tongue and use a brand new stretch waterproof/breathable Gore-Tex membrane. The lack of a tongue increases water resistance and breathable surface area. They also contain an EVA foam core and can be used alone as camp booties.
Features common to the entire line include:
- A seamless upper made from four laminated fabrics that create a tough, hydrophobic and air-permeable outer shell to protect the inner liner while allowing it to breath. One layer is a proprietary textile made using a polyurethane coated nylon yarn that’s woven into durable, yet air-permeable base fabric.
- A tiny space between the waterproof liner and breathable outer shell that acts as a conduit for air exchange and moisture dispersion.
- A newly developed method of combining the sole and midsole that allows the two parts to flex independently beneath the heel, offering more cushioning and better traction and braking performance on uneven terrain.
- Three dimensionally molded rubber toe and heel caps instead of simple stretched and glued rubber. The molded pieces, customized for each shoe size, prevent the cracking and delamination normally found in conventional stretched rubber toe and heel caps.
The lineup of five lightweight hikers is split into two mid-cut, Bora, and three low-cut, Alpha models. Three of the new models will be available in separate women specific versions.
The mid cut Bora is available in two versions; the men’s only Bora² is the removable Gore-Tex liner version and the Bora GTX has a non-removable Gore-Tex liner.
The low cut Alpha is available in three versions; the men’s only Alpha² FL with removable, Gore-Tex liner, Alpha FL GTX with a non-removable Gore-Tex liner and Alpha FL with a non-removable, non Gore-Tex liner.
The entire line of shoes will be available in spring 2015. MSRPs are as follows: Alpha² SL $270, Alpha GTX $220, Alpha FL $190, Bora² $320, Bora GTX $270. The insulated liner is $95. Here’s a gallery showing a selection of the available colors in each model.