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Nature Inspired Design

Nature Inspired Design

Stories Behind the Gear: Lizard
In conversation with Lizard’s Product Manager Peter Cable
Written by Harriet Osborne // Photography Courtesy of Lizard

Lizard was founded in Italy by shoemaker Luca Pedrotti over 30 years ago. Inspired by lizards darting in and out of streams in the Dolomite Mountains, he combined the breathability of a sandal with the performance of a shoe to enable people to explore without limits. We chat to Product Manager Peter Cable about the Ultra Trek, a high-performance sandal designed for big adventures on mixed terrain.

Over 30 years ago, Lizard founder Luca Pedrotti had an idea that would change how he experienced the outdoors forever. He was hiking in the Dolomite mountains when he spotted lizards darting in and out of the water while maintaining their grip on wet surfaces. He thought: what if he could design a shoe that enabled people to do the same thing?

With experience in shoemaking passed down through generations, Luca observed the market and identified what was missing: lightweight performance footwear for people who want to explore the outdoors without limits. His goal was to combine the breathability of a sandal with the safety and performance of a shoe. Luca launched the first Lizard sandal in 1992 – something he still describes as a ‘real turning point’ to this day.

Since then, the company has continued to innovate and evolve its products to meet the changing needs of its customers. Lizard was acquired by Scott Sports Group in 2019, which helped the brand expand its reach to a global market.

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Product development is carried out in Switzerland and the production is split between Italy and Vietnam. ‘A product must be fit for purpose; this means making well-made, durable, and technically correct sandals that are versatile and ready to use,’ Product Manager Peter Cable told us. ‘We focus on finding a balance of the correct performance and durability while reducing impact on the planet. With half of the collection now produced in Italy this allows for a substantial reduction in the carbon footprint from shipping.’

The brand remains committed to its core values of putting the foot first and designing shoes that enable people to move naturally with a strong connection to the ground. Peter says, ‘Comfort is key, but comfort is only possible if you are safe and secure wherever you choose to explore. That’s why we start all of our designs with how the foot moves. Then we consider the terrain and how your foot will interact with that terrain.’

Lizard continues to be guided by the environments the shoes are built for and the people who wear them. The brand recognised that customers were exploring further and for longer – and required footwear that supported them on their adventures, whether hiking, travelling, or wading in water. ‘We wanted to create a piece of technical footwear that could take the committed hiker wherever they wanted to venture during the summer months,’ Peter says. So they developed the Ultra Trek, a high-performance sandal designed for big adventures on mixed terrain. The result is a hiking sandal that responds directly to customer needs.

Nature Inspired Design

The Ultra Trek features a recycled EVA footbed that offers a comfortable fit while providing extra grip to maximise safety. It has a hiking Vibram ECO Step outsole, designed with original lugs, which ensure superior traction on rough terrains. To keep feet cool and dry, the sandal incorporates a breathable mesh padded upper and a TPU support cage that also offers additional protection. For a precise and secure fit on the trails, it is equipped with a static lace and a cord-lock wedding closure system.

So why should a customer wear hiking sandals instead of boots or trainers? ‘Our customers are active year round, but during the hot summer months they appreciate the breathability, light weight, and comfort offered from ventilated shoes. Versatile and quick drying after river crossing, our sandals offer an alternative to hot closed shoes and can act as a standalone or addition to your footwear choices in the hot summer months.’

As more people choose to spend their time outdoors all year round, more brands are helping to facilitate these adventures – presenting new challenges for companies to navigate. ‘We are delighted to share this passion with a wider audience than ever before, but as more players enter the outdoor market, our challenge is to remain authentic and keep that connection to core consumers.’

For Lizard, remaining authentic is staying true to the brand’s Italian heritage and faithful to three guiding principles: lightweight, agility, and grip, inspired by the lizards Luca observed on his hike 30 years ago.

Produced in Partnership with Lizard // @lizardfootwear //
Written by Harriet Osborne // @harrietosborne //



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