Interview with Iiley Thompson, Senior Director Outdoor Footwear – Under Armour® Gives a Sneak Peek at the PrimaLoft®-Insulated Siberia Boot
Q. What is your involvement in the design of the Siberia boot?
I am the Senior Director of Outdoor Footwear at Under Armour® and I manage the product creation and sourcing elements of Under Armour Outdoor Footwear. We sat as a group and went through where we felt there were opportunities to get our point of view into the outdoor footwear world. From there we went through the briefing process and determined we were going to need a top of the line insulated boot as part of the arsenal. Once that decision was made, I went through the process of selecting the designers that could really reflect our brand and the performance aspect we wanted to bring. We worked with them to get things like the full 360 degree wrap, the lacing system, and then tied the whole package together with the material selection. PrimaLoft® was the story we wanted for this project from the beginning because we knew it had the technical performance we were looking for.
Q. What statement is Under Armour trying to make in the hunting world?
Similar to what we stand for in outdoor apparel, we want to establish a new level of performance expectations in outdoor footwear. In hunting, you really focus on a couple of key pieces of equipment, and footwear is one of them. The category as a whole has been very traditional when it comes to the look, fit and expectation. With our experience and heritage in performance, moisture management, fit, and durability, we believe we can raise those expectations and drive what a hunting boot can and should be.
Q. How does the ‘ultimate performance’ promise of the Under Armour brand translate to hunting?
The perspective around hunting has evolved quite a bit over the last 10 years. Hunters don’t just show up after driving to the woods and look to bag a deer. Serious hunters now more than ever look at hunting as an athletic activity. The hard core hunter physically trains for the hunt, outside of and during the season. They know that to put themselves in the best position for success, they have to push their body to run quickly from point to point, pack gear, sprint across a ridge or trek quickly up the side of a mountain over and over in a period of days or even weeks. Under Armour’s goal has always been to make the best performance gear for the next generation of hunter, the hunter that goes above and beyond to be the best. We specifically design products with a “zero distractions” guarantee so hunters can focus 100% on their task at hand and not be distracted by the performance of their gear - whether it’s shoes, apparel or accessories. We’ll make the hunter warmer when it’s cold, cooler when it’s hot, and insure that durability and fit enhance the chance of success rather than compromise it.
Q. What were your goals when designing the Siberia boots, and what innovations did you develop to reach them?
We challenged ourselves to make best-in-class product that upheld our Brand mission to make all athletes, in this case hunters, better. We wanted to develop an innovative boot with an athletic fit and feel that would hold up over time. We also wanted to ensure that we included technology that served the needs of the hardcore hunter. One of the unique features of our boots is our lacing system which includes our “brush guard” inserts that allow the boot to tighten where you want it to and loosen up when you untie it. Another cool feature is that the leather was specially developed for us…it’s tough, waterproof and is going to hold its shape longer than what most brands offer. The aggressive 360 degree rubber mudguard goes all the way around the boot, and there are no seams to prevent problems with leaks. As for comfort, our insole has a memory foam top layer for more of a custom fit. We have a long list of features in this boot that make it compelling from an aesthetic and lightweight performance point of view.
Q. Why was PrimaLoft® selected for these particular boots?
The discussion around PrimaLoft® was a very short one. When you look at the insulation value, the moisture management aspect of it, as well as the lower compression over time, it brings that technical advancement that is a perfect fit for our brand and what we wanted for our hunting boots. We tested it, compared it to other technologies and it just worked better. The PrimaLoft® team was also extremely responsive to what we were trying to do. The combination of performance and service made it an easy choice.
Q. Where can I get a pair of Siberias, and what’s the MSRP?
The boots launch August 1st and will be available at retailers – Cabela’s and Bass Pro as well as online at underarmour.com. The response has been great so far and at $269.00, we are expecting them to go fast!
Q. What other items can we look forward to in the collection?
We are hitting the ground running with our first collection which has some great technology stories. We have a boot called the Ridge Reaper which is an extremely lightweight boot that that uses high end performance fabrics, including some with Kevlar, along with our unique “brush guard” lacing system. Another lightweight boot in the collection, the Speed Freak, is a waterproof shoe that uses lighter, more breathable pigskin and has a super aggressive outsole for great traction. The Speed Freak fits like a normal sneaker but will set a new standard for the expectations around hunting footwear.
We also have a neoprene rubber boot that has a proprietary fit system in the heel utilizing memory foam….something this category hasn’t seen. Overall, we feel we’ve really put some innovative product out there and look forward to building the future of Under Armour Outdoor Footwear.
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