Brooklyn-based clothing label Outlier began with two friends in search of a decent pair of pants. "Riding my bike around the city, I just wanted durable pants that looked a little nicer and could handle rain," says co-founder Abe Burmeister.
Three years later and the company is producing its first shoe in that same spirit, but sourcing the right fabrics and construction took Burmeister and co-founder Tyler Clemens around the world. The soles are Vibram sheet rubber, from the Italian hiking and dress shoe manufacturer famous for those five-fingered shoes Sergey Brin loves so much. The interiors are vegetable-tanned buffalo leather ("traditional leather tanning is quite toxic," says Burmeister) and the midsole cork.[The heel sports a reflective strip]
But the real technology is in the cotton exterior: it's a 21st century version of a World War II-era woven cotton used by the Royal Air Force to keep pilots from dying of hypothermia, in the event of a crash-landing over water. "In general, we don't like cotton," says Burmeister, "but this is an exception."
The constituent parts are bench-made by high-end craftsmen in China, and two colors are available come June: flat black and olive. Available for pre-order now for $260.