ARTICLE BY Chris Danforth

Norse Projects Talks Nuts and Bolts of New ARKTISK Footwear


Danish technical menswear brand Norse Projects recently announced their first-ever footwear collection. Titled ARKTISK, the range comprises three functional silhouettes, the Zip-Up Runner, Lace-Up Runner, and the Mountain Boot.

The collection was conceived in partnership with leading outsole developer Vibram, who allowed Norse to create a proprietary outsole for the brand’s Zip-Up Runner. Additional outdoor credentials also appear in the form of a water-resistant Hydro Guard membrane used for the Lace-Up and Cordura used for the Mountain Boot.

Each purpose-driven silhouette was created to work in both urban and natural environments to fulfil Norse’s mantra ‘Created for Life’.

We tapped the team at Norse to find out more about the impressive ARKTISK footwear range. Check out our conversation below.

First up, we’re big fans of your new footwear collection. Producing footwear is a huge undertaking. How long has this project been in development?
Thank you. We’ve been developing the footwear program for more than two years, so we’re extremely excited to see it released. Creating a footwear line felt like a natural category to expand into as the brand grew and pivoted to a more progressive design language with the release of Norse Projects ARKTISK, our new research-and-development line.

Why was Vibram the right choice for this collection? I know Vibram sometimes lets partners develop proprietary soles – are any of these soles proprietary to Norse?
Vibram has always been a pioneer at the forefront of outsole technology. For us, teaming up with them was a no-brainer. They’re industry leaders and provided assurance to allow us to bring these products to the level we wanted. The outsole used on our Zip-Up Runner is a completely unique outsole exclusive to Norse Projects and was only in the prototype stage when we began our dialogue with Vibram. From the outset, we wanted to find something new for one of the styles that had not been used before, as that has always been a sort of guiding maxim for ARKTISK. Doing something we would not normally do with our main collection, Norse Projects.

Were there any features or details that were most laborious to get right or required the most sample rounds?
Definitely, the Zip-Up Runner was the most challenging. Being the first ones to use this wrapped outsole technique meant pushing the manufacturers and ourselves during the assembly process. It was not easy, and we are still learning from the process, but that’s the nature of R&D and ARKTISK – research and development.


How did you go about wear-testing these? I imagine wearing them around the office wasn’t adequate to test their performance.
About a year ago, when we received our first samples, our Creative Producer tested out the Mountain Boot in Svalbard, a Norwegian island in the high-arctic, while on a shoot. The Arctic Grip sole on those is intended to be used on icy surfaces, and fortunately or unfortunately, we were not able to test out this feature in Copenhagen. Our design team and studio staff were also involved in the testing process, as it was equally important to test the shoes in an urban context. Hiking and trail shoes are more popular than ever right now, and we understand that goes for people who don’t hike or hit the trails every weekend – so it was important to make something adaptable for all lifestyles.

How do you think these stack up against other outdoor footwear brands at the moment?
Time will tell. We’re new in this market, but we take this program very seriously and know that the Norse Projects customer demands a lot of the lifecycle of a product. Our customers are also extremely educated and do their research. We fully expect to receive feedback about the ways in which these shoes can better adapt to the demands of the user, and we will use that feedback to inform the next stage of development.

Around the Norse office, is there one style or one colourway that people are the fondest of?
We have an interesting blend of styles in the studio, so it depends on their personal taste, of course. The Zip-Up Runner garners the most reaction and conversation for sure. It’s one of those styles that you either like or don’t, whereas the Mountain Boot or Lace-Up Runner are a little less provocative aesthetically.

The Norse Projects ARKTISK collection is available now from Norse Projects and END.

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