Vans is preparing for the worldwide release of their new UltraRange, the brand’s first-ever co-molded shoe, which marks a major milestone in Vans’ design history.
Vans sees the UltraRange as an opportunity to extend the brand’s products through innovative technology, while still staying true to the iconic Vans style that fans love. With the UltraRange, Vans aims to provide a shoe with versatility, comfort and traction that can perform in a variety of terrains and activities.
A product two years in the works, Dave Solomon, Vans VP of Global Product, Footwear, says the UltraRange is designed based on early input and insights from Vans surfer Pat Gudauskas and the Vans surf team. Pat expressed a need for a shoe that could take him through a day of travel, straight to a surf spot.
“That allowed us to create a brief around this whole idea of versatility,” said Dave. “When an athlete comes in and says I need a lightweight shoe, something I can wear all day, that can get me from the plane to the place I am surfing, even if it is a light hike down, that was a little bit of an ‘aha.’ That is a lot of insightful information we can take in and can translate into a product both for our athletes and consumers.”
The increased comfort provided by the UltraRange is achieved through the co-molded midsole, which merges UltraCush Lite foam cushioning with rubber inspired by Vans’ original waffle outsole. Dave says it is a completely different construction for the brand.
“We don’t just want to stand for heritage as a brand,” said Dave. “We want to be a modern, progressive brand as well, and products like the UltraRange help that bubble out a little bit for us and for our consumers. Young consumers are looking for those types of exciting products from us. Our goal is not to walk away from our heritage products. Ever. That is such an important part of who we are as a brand, but the thought is to give that stool another leg, so that is where this product comes in.”
The UltraRange is described as having a modern shape, slim profile, and sock-fit construction.
“However,” Dave added, “when you look at the shoe it is clearly obvious it is a Vans shoe, and that is the fine line we’ve got to walk. You know it’s a Vans shoe, but you know it is different. That is the way we approached it.”
The UltraRange is Vans’ major back-to-school launch, and the unisex shoe has a number of colorways, upper materials, and upper adaptations that will launch throughout this year and until the end of next year. The brand also released an UltraRange Pro last month.
Price points range from $80 for the most basic mesh upper, to $90 as the opening price point for the skate version.
With the UltraRange, Dave says the brand is targeting the Vans loyalist consumer. Vans retail will be a huge play for the UltraRange and a number of surf shops will receive the shoe, as well.
Vans also expects the UltraRange to appeal to lifestyle consumers, noting that a comfortable, versatile shoe touches all Vans consumers.
“We think Vans’ consumers are hungry for this type of product,” said Dave. “We are confident in the approach we took with this product. We rallied around this as a global team, and locked arms on the UltraRange more than a year ago. We all agreed this is a great thing for our brand. We have a lot of confidence in this product because of all we’ve done to line it up, and we’re getting great marketing support.”
Dave says that early reads on the product through Vans retail stores have been positive.
“I’ve worn the product in Hawaii on a hike to a waterfall -- taken it from land and then jumped into the water with it,” said Dave. “It held up tremendously well, performed well, and was extraordinarily comfortable. Getting this shoe on people’s feet is the key because this product really does speak for itself.”
The worldwide release of the Vans UltraRange is Saturday, July 15. Visit Vans.com/Ultrarange to learn more.