It may not look like it, but the just-announced collaboration between Topo Designs and Fronteer pulls its inspiration from rock climbing. Yes, rock climbing: a sport that can be described objectively as badass, but maybe not cool — not, at least, in the mainstream, James Dean sense of the word.
But the Topo Designs x Fronteer Super Gratton is another matter. The shoe calls back to the footwear of the same name that was created by the French climbing company EB in the late 1960s. At the time, the original Super Gratton was a significant innovation, but it’s markedly distinct from the curved, claw-like peds that rock climbers jam their feet into today. Jon Tang, the founder of Fronteer, recognized the latent style potential of the original and brought it back with an updated look and new materials.
In keeping with current trends, the Topo Designs x Fronteer Super Gratton blurs the lines between outdoor gear and everyday urban wear to such an extent that the shoe can be worn anywhere, and is likely less suited to climbing than it is to hanging out downtown. The two outdoor lifestyle brands also teamed up to make a small bag called the Quick Pack to match the shoe.