CEO of shoe startup OB/VS talks about exploration-focused footwear

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Today on Digital Trends Live we had CEO and Founder of the shoe company OB/VS, Kelly Dachtler, to talk about their unique shoes and what they are doing to be innovative in the footwear industry. For anyone who is just hearing about OB/VS, Dachtler gives a quick rundown of his company.

“First and foremost we are a footwear company, specifically we make footwear to enable people to better enjoy exploration and experiences around the world in new places and unfamiliar terrain. We make shoes to better equip people to do that than anything that has been out there before.”

OB/VS started in the unofficial shoe capital of the world, Portland, Oregon, which gave Dachtler the unique opportunity to have the best of the best join his shoe journey.

“Our team for instance has more than 40+ years of combined experience, working for the big brands, Nike, Adidas, Puma as well as technical  smaller brands like Salomon. We really came together because, candidly, we just got tired of business as usual. The playbook right now for the big brands is to make shoes using lower and lower quality materials for less and less money and selling for higher and higher prices. They are doing that to pay for athlete endorsements…we really wanted to focus on the quality of the materials to give the wearer a better experience.”

Dachtler brought their Flagship model the Explora One to talk about it’s features.

“What we did is just a ground up rethinking of what an adventure shoe could be. It’s a sneaker silhouette, but it gives you all the performance and durability of a hiking boot and then some…It came down to not only the material, but the fits as well. Our commitment is that this shoe fits like no other on the market, it’s going to lock in your heal in a way that no other shoe is going to lock you in, it’s going to give you comfort in the forefoot and it’s going to give you traction like no other shoe on the market. In that way it’s a one of a kind piece that does more for the wearer.”

One of the features of the Explora One is the martial that it’s made from, Merino Wool.

“An added benefit is it’s made from Merino Wool, which for the unfamiliar, is one of the most incredible fibers on the planet. It gives your foot temperature regulation, it keeps you warm when it’s cold out, it keeps you cool when it’s warm out, it also wicks away moisture better than any fiber and it’s super comfortable.”

As a kid, Dachtler grew up as a sneaker head, he mentions that he always loved the design of shoes more than anything else, but as he grew older he realized that shoes are more than just an accessory, they are one of the most important thing for your everyday life.

“We like to say it’s your most important gear to have with you and I think we are just entering a time in the footwear landscape where you know half the shoes on the market are, to be honest, socks glued to a foam piece and not giving you what you need out there.”

OB/VS’ newest shoe, which will be released in January, is the Adapt, a shoe that will work in any environment.

“The Adapt was born with an experience that I had, a travel experience, I found myself on four different continents, three or four completely different climates, from the glaciers in Iceland to the beaches of southern California in one trip…but I also found myself packing six or seven different shoes for that experience. If it wasn’t for the shoes I could have done the whole thing with just a carry-on, but instead I am lugging around a bunch of footwear. That was really the “ah-ha” moment, we started thinking about whether or not there could be a single pair of shoes that could actually adapt to all those different environments. So we came up with a three in one system that allows you to have the optimal piece of footwear for any environment that you are in.”

The shoes are fully drainable, meaning that they can be fully submerged into water and no part of the shoe will take will be wet. It also features an insert for the wintertime, the liner they the “dry mock,” turns the shoe into a waterproof insulated trail boot.



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3 thoughts on “CEO of shoe startup OB/VS talks about exploration-focused footwear

  • December 8, 2018 at 09:04

    Fashion and function rarely meet like this, Bravo. I want to buy one in every color. I have no problem spending money on high quality product. I reserved on their website. I want four colors it would be cool if I got deal for buying that many.


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