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First Look: 2015 Columbia Sportswear Line

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An architectural shell comprised of 9,000 titanium panels graces the exterior of the Denver Art Museum, a modern building in the city’s core.

It was here tonight that Columbia Sportswear unveiled its fall 2015 collection, including a re-launch of the company’s high-end Titanium clothing and outerwear line.

It won’t come to market for a full year. But the line, which includes multiple pieces influenced by freestyle ski uniforms that Columbia designed for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, has some stand-out tech that might be worth the wait.

Columbia launch event at the Denver Art Museum

I liked the looks of the Heatzone 1000 TurboDown Hooded Jacket. The substantial parka was touted by a Columbia spokesperson on stage as “the warmest puffy on the planet.”

The heat comes from reflective shell and liner fabric and a new baffle design (TurboDown Wave) that eliminates areas where cold air might seep through. It uses 900-fill down with the company’s Omni-Heat Thermal synthetic insulation and a wave-like fabric design.

Hannah Kearney of the U.S. Ski Team speaks at the event

I tried it on inside the museum and was instantly hot at room temp. Columbia justified the “warmest on the planet” claim by third-party testing, including noting that the jacket’s “heat-retention capabilities” are better than similar puffys from The North Face, Arc’teryx, and Patagonia.

The Heatzone 1000 was one of several high-end outerwear pieces, many visibly influenced by the U.S. Ski Team uniforms Columbia unveiled earlier this year.

Heatzone 1000 TurboDown Hooded Jacket

From aesthetics to tech features like the LightRail Zipper, and down to tiny details like tabs on the boot gaiters of ski pants, Columbia notes its time working with the Olympic athletes netted design that will continue to “trickle down” to skiwear seen on public slopes.

In all, about 35 new pieces will be included in the Titanum line. The prices will start at around $100 for fleece tops and range to $450 for jackets like the Heatzone 1000 TurboDown.

Footwear also saw enhancements. There was a boot with rubber tread that changes its grip (via hardening and softening of the rubber) as per the temperature outside.

I was most intrigued by a line of shoes with something called Vent + OutDry. Much like Gore’s Surround technology, the Vent + OutDry design adds breathability to the sole of a waterproof boot or shoe.

Waterproof boot with vent holes in the sole

Columbia does this with ports or vents on the side of the rubber sole. A waterproof footbed has two membrane areas (holes under the heels) where the company touts moisture can escape, passing down through the fabric and out the port holes.

The upper on the shoe line has an OutDry treatment to keep it waterproof. The brand is citing the to-be-released shoes as the “most breathable, waterproof footwear Columbia has ever produced.”

It was a cold fall night as our group left the Art Museum and Columbia’s show. I’d forgotten my jacket, wishing I could have nabbed an uber-puffy off the Columbia wall. Sadly, the company is keeping these pieces under lock. We’ll test the line out soon as the products become available and the winter winds come back again.

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