I noticed that the FOOTWEAR product category has been removed from the Kuiu website. Does that mean that their foray into the hunting boot business is over, postponed or taking a new direction? Don’t know yet.
Remember their pre-order and limited run campaign of the Zamberlan KUIU Pamir Boot. My impression of that model was that it was well suited for hunting sheep in the steeps of AK but too stiff for broader field use.
I appreciate the new Kuiu one-stop-shop approach to expanding their product line, I really do. In fact, I have been advising that once you attract a customer, for whatever unique reason, it is advantageous to keep them “in the shopping cart” for as long as possible buying as many products from you as possible for at least three years. However, coming out with your own line of packs, sleeping bags, boots, and tents has to be expensive not to mention bold or arrogant (take your pick) considering the established competition in each of those segments. Shell layers are one thing because all we are really talking about, until the noise issue is addressed, is changing colors and adding camo patterns to designs and technology already offered by Arcteryx, Patagonia, Marmot, etc (there would never have been a niche for Sitka Gear or Kuiu to fill if the bigs had just been willing to offer their products in hunting friendly flavors) but am I supposed to believe that Kuiu in just a couple of years has bested the likes of Eberlestock, Western Mountaineering, Lowa and Hilleberg? And that it is all because of a Japanese company named Toray?
I am not saying it is impossible and I will be the first to shout it from the rooftops if it is indeed true but that is a very, very tall order to fill. If it does turn out to be true then Toray will have been the the best kept secret in the outdoor equipment business and Jason Hairston will deserve everything he gets for going all in with their products because he is the only one that is. Maybe he knows something the rest of the industry doesn’t or maybe he couldn’t/wouldn’t use Gore-Tex because of the Sitka sale but then why not go with eVent. Maybe Toray was just willing to make a sweet deal.
Only time and field testing will tell.