As we head to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Denver this week, we celebrate our 25thanniversary and look forward to seeing friends that have been part of our journey. Join us for cake (and margaritas courtesy of adidas Outdoor) at the adidas Outdoor booth #42069-UL on Tuesday, July 24that 5PM.

Before that, we always like to take a closer look at what makes this community tick — buying habits, product design, media coverage and everything in between. What we do know is that one constant never changes – this is a happy industry and we are fortunate to be part of it. Regardless of what is going on in the world, in politics, or with the weather, people just want to go outside and look good at the same time. We are incredibly lucky.

Craig Davis (left) and Chris Goddard (right).

Perhaps more than ever, the world of politics is finding its way into our world. Tariffs are knocking on our door, gender equality and #metoo are front and center and public lands will always be close to our hearts. All of these topics will find their way into conversations come show time – between showing new products and at the many happy hours we will attend.

But for now, let’s focus on the things that make this industry shine – innovation that encourages people to go outside and introduces first-timers to the joy of an outdoor experience – a  tent that can easily be set up by one person, the newest sticky shoe sole, a raft that packs into the size of a paper towel, apparel and footwear made from ocean plastic, a SUP for two, camp stoves that pack into a shoulder carry bag and (possibly most important) carrot cake pancakes that can be cooked over a campfire.

Here are a few key trends we’re expecting to see based on our observations and conversations with mainstream and outdoor media, industry influencers, clients and big and small brands, gathered by our teams in Marblehead and Newport Beach:

  • More athletic performance and style being infused in outdoor footwear and apparel: Innovation from the world of athletics is taking hold in outdoor footwear and apparel, resulting in new silhouettes and performance across a range of conditions, seasons, settings and activities: adidas Outdoor is using its years of athletic footwear prowess and applying it to hiking and trail running, while its functional, stylish apparel will be at home on any runway. Its Climb the City line embraces performance for indoor climbing with fashion that excels on a city street and a favorite local bar.
  • Dadcore (first there was normcore, then gorpcore): Why are light wash jeans and orthopedic footwear now cool? Some trend experts say it is the next progression from normcore. According to Brian Tunzo, senior menswear editor at the trend forecasting firm WGSN, “There is something uniquely American about it, and very real, red-blooded man, like, ‘I’m going to wear a baggy plaid shirt with relaxed khakis because I’m chilling and I’m comfortable in my manhood.’”
  • If you are not sustainable, don’t bother: This is standard operating procedure and some brands have it dialed better than ever. The train is leaving the station and if you are not on it, you will be left in the dust. Consumers and retailers are demanding responsibly sourced products without a compromising performance. PrimaLoft, a leader in insulation, will introduce three of its first high performing insulations made entirely from recycled plastics. adidas Outdoor is expanding its lineup of Parley for the Oceans footwear and apparel utilizing recycled ocean plastics.
  • No outdoor experience? No problem: The definition of the outdoor experience is changing and as a result, brands are designing their gear, apparel and footwear with enhanced comfort and ease of use for all types of outdoor play. Kelty’s new backpacking and camping tents feature Quick Corners technology for easy one-person setup in a rush. Nite Ize is launching an LED insulated drink holder and dog collars that change color.
  • Fashion meets function, still: The lines between fashion and function continue to blur as outdoor footwear and apparel carefully balances style and comfort — during a stroll through SoHo, on a hike in the White Mountains or during a trail run in Colorado. adidas Outdoor’s Urban Climaproof Jacket is inspired by the classic trench coat featuring a versatile hood design and functional, breathable back-yoke ventilation. An outdoor jacket with trench coat DNA… who knew?
  • The shape of water: This category is on fire. Reusable water bottles not only help reduce the amount of plastic consumed, but now they’re used as a fashion statement (think Yeti or Hydro Flask). You will find every style of water bottle (and flasks) at the show in every possible color, shape and size. Now, filtration is a factor, not just in the backcountry, but in daily life.LifeStraw’s enhanced water filtration products filter bacteria, microplastics and now lead, providing peace of mind when hydrating from the tap, at home, at the office, at school or during a backcountry adventure. LifeStraw Play is the first filtration water bottle for kids and is available in colors like Wildberry Pink and Sky Blue.
  • And yes, cannabis: We will see organic fabric, environmentally conscious fabric dye (Dope-Dye), recycled, repurposed, hybrids, odor resistant and UV protection, and yes, fabric using hemp.

Notice that not once was the word “athleisure” used – finally.

Now, we all know how quickly things can change over the course of one short weekend, especially in today’s fast news and shifting fashion cycles. We’ll just have to see how these trends take shape by show time, when the show officially kicks off at Demo Day tomorrow. However, we do know one thing that will hold true: there will be abundant cake, celebrations and thank yous for our incredible 25-year ride.  We’ll try and save you some frosting – no promises.

CGPR Marblehead team.