Kelly Dachtler is fed up with the footwear industry. He’s made his career there, consulting and creating products from some of the most recognizable companies including Nike, Adidas, Puma, Salomon and Merrell. “The playbook for the sports/streetwear guys is to build more and more disposable products while increasing prices to pay for athletes and rappers to hype them,” he says. “For the outdoor guys, it is to rehash the same clunky, overbuilt designs and technologies year after year.” The system he describes is one built on planned obsolescence via fast-moving trends and marketing speech that makes old feel new, all at the expense of the final product. So Dachtler put together a team and made his own brand.
It’s called OB/VS, or Objective Virtues and it’s based in Portland, Oregon. Currently, OV/VS has one shoe available, the Explora One, with another coming in 2019. The Explora One is a lightweight trail shoe built with leather, Vibram rubber and a merino wool sock liner. Material ingredients are essential to Dachtler — he says the leather used in the Explora One “is typically reserved for $350 to $400 hiking boots.” Not only does this make his shoes more functional, but also longer lasting.
Dachtler and OB/VS’s second shoe will be the ADPT, a three-in-one model designed to work in a wide selection of environments. The ADPT uses two pieces: one is a wool-lined moccasin-style shoe that has a rubberized bottom, and the other is a breathable, water-repelling sneaker. Worn simultaneously, they become an insulated trail boot. As always, the risk in attempting to create a product to handle various uses is that it will do so satisfactorily but without excelling at any one. But it’s clear that Dachtler’s head is in the right place. “We created OB/VS to speak to the customer that is not interested in hype but seeks newness and innovation as well as enduring quality and superior performance,” he says.
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