Dan Ferenczy navigated the thousands of name-brand booths last month at the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Denver with an exacting shopping list.
Boots and gear capable of withstanding minus-60 temperatures. Clothing for both jungle and arctic conditions. Everything must be 100 percent made in the U.S., and every material — from the cow that provided the leather to the rubber in the boot soles and the threads in the stitching — by law must be sourced in the U.S.
Oh, and one final thing: He could only pay cut-rate prices.
Instead of getting laughed off the floor, U.S. Army Capt. Ferenczy was embraced at every stop. The Virginia-based assistant product manager for soldier clothing and equipment was one of several military buyers scouring the show for top-tier gear to outfit America’s fighters.
The armed forces for years have pushed top companies in the outdoor industry to improve technology, lower prices and employ American manufacturers. Soldiers’ rigid demands have fueled innovation that trickles down to weekend warriors who can credit their warm winter wanderings and dry rainy-day strolls to American fighters. And, more recently, those fighters can credit their warm, dry and long-lasting gear to weekend warriors who are pushing just as hard for toys and tools to keep them adventuring.
Helen H. Richardson, The Denver PostAndy Burke, national sales manager for Prana, takes down a mannequin in his booth as the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show comes to an end at the Colorado Convention Center on Jan. 28, 2018 in Denver. The show is the nation’s largest outdoor sports expo and conference. Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show is the first time in nearly 30 years that the outdoor and snow industries will be together. This was the first year the show took place in Colorado.
“We have learned a lot about durability. There are a lot of testing standards that we have been able to bring across our entire line and brands. So, yeah, there is a huge benefit for us to go through the process of co-developing this stuff with the military,” said Danner account manager Ryan Cade, showing off the Rivot, a roughly $100 boot designed with input from thousands of Army soldiers. The boot is built at Danner’s factory in Portland, Ore. “There’s a lot of pride for us as a U.S. company teaming up with the American Army and helping them serve our country.”
And it’s not just quality. Lower prices also …
Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle