Starting with the 2012-13 fall/winter season, Genfoot, the marketer of the Canadian Kamik brand, has decided to use Gore-Tex in parts of its collection of winter boots. Richard Cook, Genfoot's president, told this publication that 5 to 10 percent of Kamik's adult shoes may feature the membrane, while the proportion could be as high as 40 percent for its children's collection.
There are two highly significant reasons for the new cooperation: First, Kamik uses a great deal of rubber to make its rugged, highly waterproof footwear. That raised the question of whether it made sense to work with Gore, since rubber is not breathable. Cook pointed out that, in its collaboration with Gore-Tex, the company is pioneering an innovative construction with a new rubber shell in which the membrane does work.
The second interesting aspect of the new alliance is the timing. Asked why he did not start cooperating with the well-known membrane manufacturer before, Cook said that this was partially a result of Kamik's strategic alliance with Aku, the Italian footwear brand: In 2009, the Cook family, which owns Genfoot, set up a 50-50 joint venture with the Bordins, who own Aku, to run Aku jointly under the management in place. Besides various synergies such as joint distribution in some markets, both brands take advantage of each other's know-how.
Cook said that Aku's knowledge in working with Gore-Tex prompted Kamik to develop shells using the membrane. As a result, the Gore models of Kamik will not be produced in Canada, but in Aku's manufacturing facilities in Romania. Currently, all Gore products will be only made there, but the topic is on the table to make them eventually at the group's factory in Canada as well.