While some outdoor brands have ridden trends into the fashion space—as Salomon did with its now-iconic XT-6—others are solidly founded on the once-unlikely intersection. Italian footwear brand ROA is one of those, born in the center of the Outdoor x Fashion Venn diagram. The brand embodies the current zeitgeist of fashion-forward GORP trends, and has since its inception in 2015.
Until recently, one would have to seek out one of ROA’s very exclusive stateside stockists or e-retailers like SSENSE to get their hands (er, feet) on a pair of the high-end hikers—and pray that their size was actually in stock. But ROA’s new Cave collection comes with the launch of the brand’s own e-commerce site, bringing its boots to the masses of hungry GORP consumers.
ROA's shoes and boots don’t just look the rugged part though; the Italian-made footwear packs just about all of the technical features one would want in a legit pair of mountain footwear, like aggressively lugged Vibram soles and protective rubber rands.
Plus wild combinations of materials and patterns that appeal to luxury fashion audiences, too.
Within the Cave collection itself we are excited to see a new low-top hiker inspired by climbing approach shoes named Katharina ($454). The shoe features a nearly full wraparound rubber rand that protects its upper from abrasions as adventurers scramble across boulders or trudge through tallus. Underfoot, a heeled Vibram Megagrip outsole delivers an excess of traction across various surfaces.
The new Katharina launches in just two colorways: one a pale green synthetic woven fabric and the other a deep brown calf leather suede. The second comes with a set of purple laces that really set it off.
There's also the Andreas ($524), a staple in ROA’s line that’s been the subject of collaborations with brands like Stussy, Brain Dead, and, recently, a joint effort with Our Legacy produced a pair made of natural leather scraps that features a yinyang at the ankle, for some unexplained reason.
Using the same beefy Vibram Megagrip outsole as nearly every ROA piece, the ankle height Andreas is a sturdy boot fit for fashionable tromps and even some moderately hardy adventures up a hill or two. Each colorway highlights a different material on its uppers. Thick, round laces and metal hardware help round out the big mountain boot vibe.