The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 40

Ideas
D E E P D I V E
Women rip.
The end.
In Pursuit of Ski
F Boot Equality
ocus on fit and performance, not gender,
when it comes to giving your customers the
best possible product. By Berne Broudy
ON A CHAIR LIFT RIDE IN EARLY
January, when I asked the president
of a prominent European
ski company why women's boots
don't come in stiffer flexes, he got
angry, defensive, and frustrated,
before we eventually had a good
conversation. At a launch for
a different ski and boot brand,
the company proudly presented
their new must-have light and
fast touring boot in an extended
size run-up to 30.5, but with no
22.5, to the sales reps' chagrin.
At brand after brand, ski executives
dismiss the question of why
women's boots don't come in stiffer
flexes, because anecdotally none of
the hardcore skiers they know ski
in women's boots. Which demands
the question: Why make them?
Like the bike industry, the ski
industry needs to buckle up its
story, tighten down its boot line,
and chuck out the BS marketing
and alleged physiological data
that leaves women unsure as to
whether we should hit the slopes
wearing men's or women's. Gender
neutral is on trend culturally,
and it's not a fad.
If you want your customers in
the best gear for them, the focus
should be on fit and performance,
not gender. So, let's ditch women's
boots and sell boots appropriate
for skier type and personal preference,
not whatever genitalia is hidden
under their Gore-Tex bibs. At a
40
time when brands are making an
increasing commitment to inclusivity,
ski brands need to invest in
full size runs of their best boots
for every type of skier. If I wear
22.5, I want this year's showcase
new boot in my size. I don't want
to settle for inferior product. I
want to be able to buy a boot in
my size that's 120 or 130 flex.
If ski-boot brands don't deliver
a full range of boots for everyone
who wants to hit the slopes,
you're missing an opportunity to
contribute to the health of the
industry and to being inclusive.
TWENTY YEARS AGO, THE BIKE
industry insisted women needed
gendered bikes, and they mostly
sucked. Short top tubes and upright
geometry didn't help women
progress, it held us back. The
highest-spec bikes were always
men's only. The day I got off a
women's bike and onto a unisex
or men's bike, my riding improved
exponentially. Since then, almost
every bike brand has moved to
unisex. If a brand sells a " women's "
bike, the difference between
it and men's is usually just the
paint. It's time for the same to
happen in skis and boots.
In the shop, gendered ski boots
translate to confusion, self-doubt,
and second guessing amongst
female customers. Ski executives
says they make women's
/ OUTDOOR RETAILER SNOW SHOW 2022
IF NONE OF THE WOMEN WORKING IN
YOUR SKI DEPARTMENT WANT TO SKI
WOMEN'S BOOTS, WHY SHOULD YOUR
FEMALE CUSTOMERS SKI THEM?
boots because there's a market
for them, and they blame retailers
for selling female customers
on gendered boots. By having
a women-specific wall of product,
retailers say they're selling
more. I challenge retailers to
rethink your strategy. If none of
the women working in your ski
department want to ski women's
boots, why should your female
customers ski them? If you don't
have women working in your ski
department, that's a bigger issue.
Brands: Work it out with your
retailers. You're partners in promoting
your product. If it's colors
men and women can't agree on,
and aesthetics are the perceived
deal breaker, offer interchangeable
cuffs that can be swapped at the
shop, multiple colors in your most
popular boots, upsells, add-ons,
and other creative solutions.
The highest-end market won't
ever be huge. But it'll be bigger if
you give everyone access. If you
claim inclusivity because it's PC
but don't rethink your marketing
strategy and put product behind
your claims, you're missing an
opportunity to build brand loyalty
with underserved skiers, and you'll
be left behind.
RYAN MOONEY (@MOONEY_RYAN) / U.S. SKI TEAM (@USSKITEAM)

The Daily - January 28, 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Daily - January 28, 2022

The Daily - January 28, 2022 - Cover1
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - Cover2
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 1
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 2
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 3
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 4
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 5
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 6
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 7
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 8
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 9
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 10
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 11
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 12
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 13
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 14
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 15
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 16
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 17
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 18
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 19
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 20
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 21
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 22
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 23
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 24
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 25
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 26
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 27
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 28
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 29
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 30
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 31
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 32
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 33
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 34
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 35
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 36
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 37
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 38
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 39
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 40
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 41
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 42
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 43
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 44
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 45
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 46
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 47
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 48
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 49
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 50
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 51
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 52
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 53
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 54
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 55
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 56
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 57
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 58
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 59
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 60
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 61
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 62
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 63
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 64
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - Cover3
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - Cover4
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https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailySM2022_Day1
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/february_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/january_2021
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