Material Girl: The Best Women's Gear at Outdoor Retailer

As I mentioned in a Facebook post that went up during Outdoor Retailer this week, skorts are everywhere. Practically every gear company that makes women's apparel--be it Mountain Hardwear, North Face, Patagonia, or Arc'teryx--is making one of these lady-like additions for your running wardrobe. No matter how much backlash I saw against shorts (and I'm a shorts girl, so I took this to heart), I also saw plenty of other great women's items coming out for Spring 2011. And hardly any of it followed the well-known motto: "Shrink it and pink it." --Alicia Carr Troxell

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Olukai Footwear, inspired by the Hawaii lifestyle, knocked it out of the ball park with their women's sandal collection for next spring. Not only are they totally fashion-forward and adorable, they're so comfortable.
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The Kukuna sandal (at left), $90, has compression-molded EVA in the midsole so your foot will feel like its on memory foam every time you put these on. Another favorite with similar construction is the Hili sandal (at right), $120, named for the braided rope down the back of the heel.  

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A woman in Baja California Sur on the Baja Peninsula, Mexico on April 28, 2010. Model released. Kelsey Gallegos, Katherine Carter, Jai Greenlee.

Carve Designs, known for its sporty swimsuits and casual beachwear, is launching a more technical line of yoga- and active-inspired sportswear. The line--known as Balance--includes a lot of cotton, polyester, and spandex mash-ups built into modern, fashionable pieces, like the Cerulean tank (at left), $42, complete with a built-in shelf bra and mesh underlay for ventilation.

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Silver Sky Computer Brief

Lilypond--the little sister to fishing company Fishpond--is launching a 17" laptop shoulder bag called the Firethorn (at right), $99. It's never easy to find a computer bag that's slim, functional, and fits a laptop with more than a 15" screen.


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Horny Toad never ceases to amaze me with their non-wrinkle, travel-ready collection. It's one my favorite appointments at the trade show--and probably the main one where I start to plan my own personal purchases for the coming year. Next spring, they're coming out with more of the same. But that's a good thing. The Bivalent Dress (at left), $78, for instance is perfect for throwing in a suitcase when heading off to almost any summer adventure--the beach, a foreign city--or even just to wear around town.

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Patagonia's Guide Jacket has been a staple in their line for a couple of years now. Next spring, it comes out in a hooded vest for the ladies. And it's helmet-compatible, no less, so it should come in handy on the ski slopes as well. The Women's Hooded Guide Vest (at right), $125, comes in bright, fun colors and is also recyclable through the successfully-growing Common Threads program.

What type of gear are you looking to add to your stash throughout the rest of the summer?

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