Columbia OutDry – a day of testing

At the end of April Snow+Rock partnered with Columbia and OutDry to host an event where members of outdoor press were invited to witness the key properties of OutDry being tested at SATRA (the world’s leading research and technology centre in Northampton).


SATRA is a remarkable facility used to create benchmarks for standards across the world. Formed in 1919 with the original purpose of helping manufacturers and suppliers to evolve. Since their early years, SATRA has developed significantly and today the brand is recognised and respected in over 70 countries across a diverse spread of product sectors.

Through its commitment to innovative research, SATRA has contributed to many advances in product industries. One better-known example is the boot worn by the British Expedition in conquering Mount Everest in 1953, which was designed and built by SATRA to help the climbers stay safe and comfortable and ensure that no-one suffered from frostbite (the original boot which was worn by John Hunt is pictured at the centre).


SATRA also revolutionised footwear production with a process that became known as ‘heat setting’, which reduced production times and achieved consistent and high levels of shape retention. Heat setting was seen as one of the most significant technological contributions to shoemaking and received the Queen’s Award for Industry. Advances made in footwear design, materials and process since then have led to a multi-billion dollar global industry.


The day commenced with a short but convincing presentation on the properties of OutDry waterproof technology compared to ‘bootie’ construction methods.

Bootie construction methods were introduced in 1983 and are still used to make a waterproof lining in footwear. A seam-sealed, sock shaped,‘bootie’ is inserted into the footwear and anchored at key points to make sure no water penetrates through to the foot. However, this leaves a space between the bootie and the upper, where water can gather when it penetrates through the upper material .













Detail of ‘Bootie’ construction

Conversely, OutDry is an innovative technology consisting of a patented lamination process where the waterproof/breathable membrane is directly bonded to the external layer of the shoe (or glove), perfectly sealing any possible water entry point. With OutDry there is no gap in between the upper and the membrane where water can penetrate and stagnate











Detail of OutDry construction

Following the SATRA team to the testing facility we saw a range of tests to show the difference in performance between technologies. The machines were specifically created by SATRA to find any possible areas of weakness that might result in a leak.





















At the conclusion of the tests the bootie construction took on water and gained weight, which would mean the wearer’s feet would not only be damp but they would be exerting extra energy carrying excess weight. The boot would have to be dried out and the standing water would have an effect on the life of the boot.

The OutDry footwear came out comparably dry with minimal water gain. The emphatic visual demonstrations delivered a convincing message that OutDry outperforms others on extreme waterproofness.


Columbia was so impressed with OutDry’s innovation they purchased the company that invented the technology with all related patents and now use it in all their footwear. Their summer range of footwear includes the Conspiracy trail running shoes, which are exclusive to Snow+Rock.