Since introducing footwear in 2015, performance outdoor equipment company Arc’teryx has relied on the insights and expertise of fellow Amer Sports brand Salomon. That is about to change.
Starting with the spring 2024 season, Arc’teryx is now designing and creating its own footwear collection entirely in-house.
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“Footwear was on the side of the desk,” Arc’teryx chief creative officer Katie Becker admitted to FN in an interview. “We had two people internally focused on it, so we were kind of drafting off of what Salomon had done in the past and iterating on it. This new focus is having a team of experts that actually is building footwear. We’re approaching it differently.”
She continued, “It’s almost complimentary. It doesn’t feel overlapping. It feels like there’s room for both of us. We use the mountains very differently.”
To ensure footwear was a priority, Arc’teryx has expanded its team dedicated to the category to 12 people, up from just four last year. The team is led by industry veteran Ovidio Garcia, vice president of footwear at Arc’teryx, who joined the company in 2021. Prior to joining Arc’teryx, Garcia spent 15-plus years at Nike.
In this role, Arc’teryx tasked Garcia with building footwear to solve critical problems for the mountain athlete.
“I have admired the brand for many years, specifically for the product and the way it was created and built — the perfection and the obsession around it,” Garcia told FN. “The other thing was the environment the brand plays in. I come from the mountains and my background is in skiing, so I have passion for the activities we do. And from a business perspective, the opportunity was what I dream of, creating something from the very beginning and seeing it through.”
What’s more, in addition to its Canadian headquarters in North Vancouver, Arc’teryx opened a footwear office in Portland, Ore., in 2022.
“It’s been cool getting some of the design team out of the North Vancouver bubble and starting to think more globally,” Becker said. “The interaction and the learning around footwear materials and apparel materials and how we’re sharing, it’s evolving.”
Becker also confirmed with FN that Arc’teryx is targeting Tokyo for its next office.
The New Era of Footwear
With its spring 2024 collection, Arc’teryx is aiming to deliver footwear that sits at the intersection of climbing and running, with an aim to defy human limits in vertical mountain terrain.
“If you think about somebody starting their athlete missions in the valley, going up to the mid mountain and all the way up to the peak, the terrain is diverse and different,” Becker said. “We started approaching footwear for somebody using the entire mountain. They don’t want to change shoes. We have shoes you can do everything in. It is a new space and we’re super excited about that.”
Garcia added, “The first thing [the athletes] told me when I started was the shoes we have today are obsolete for what we do. That’s an amazing challenge for a product team. We created the reset of our line directly from the insights of our athletes. The way they move when they travel through mountain terrain is quite different from most people. The outdoor world is siloed in terms of activities. When you talk to an athlete that plays in the mountain space, they hybridize a lot of the activities.”
The range features three new silhouettes, including the Vertex Alpine GTX, which Arc’teryx described as a “complete rethinking of the approach shoe.”
The shoe, the brand explained, was created with the lightweight agility of trail runners with the durability and grip required for approaches on steep, technical terrain in mind. To pull this off, Arc’teryx included sticky Vibram XS Flash 2 outsoles, tough Cordura uppers with recycled PET and TPU shanks and toe caps for protection. Arc’teryx also will release an iteration built with Gore-Tex liners with Invisible Fit Technology to keep the wearer’s foot dry.
The Arc’teryx Vertex Alpine and Vertex Alpine GTX will retail for $220 and $250, respectively.
The second look in the range is the Sylan GTX, a race-oriented mountain running shoe designed with speed in mind. It is built with rocker geometry, which the brand said drives propulsion on steeps and flats, and has an aggressive 6 mm lug pattern on its Vibram Megagrip outsoles with Litebase technology that “gives it bite.” There is also a version of this model with Gore-Tex liners.
The Arc’teryx Sylan and the Sylan GTX will retail for $200 and $230, respectively.
The third style is the Kragg, a model Arc’teryx described as a pull-on approach shoe for before, during and after the climb. It is made with stretchy Spacermesh uppers with comfort and durability in mind, as well as collapsible heels so it could be worn as a slipper. It also features sock liners made with a 50 percent bio-based poured PU compound with an open-cell foam top layer containing 25 percent bio-based content, removable Insite Contoura foam insoles cushions and durable Vibram Megagrip outsoles.
The Arc’teryx Kragg will retail for $160.
All of the shoes will arrive at retail in March.
“The Arc’teryx strategy is more focused on direct to consumer and so we opened 12 stores in North America and 2023. We’ll open more than that in 2024. And we see footwear as a key part of the strategy as we look to grow more relevant and grow our business in hiking, trail running and climbing,” Arc’teryx chief executive officer Stuart Haselden told FN.
This footwear reveal comes a month after Arc’teryx parent company Amer Sports went public on the New York Stock Exchange.
Although sparse on details, Garcia confirmed Arc’teryx already has innovation stories prepared for the market for every season in 2025 and into 2026.
Additional reporting provided by Shoshy Ciment.
About the Author
Peter Verry is the Senior News and Features Editor for Athletic and Outdoor at Footwear News. He oversees coverage of the two fast-paced and ultracompetitive markets, which includes conducting in-depth interviews with industry leaders and writing stories on sneakers and outdoor shoes. He is a lifelong sneaker addict (and shares his newest purchases via @peterverry on Instagram) and spends most of his free time on a trail. He holds an M.A. in journalism from Hofstra University and can be reached at email@example.com.
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