Western & English Today

SUM 2015

W&E Today provides retailers and manufacturers with education and ideas that provoke innovation in the Western and English markets.

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12 Western & English Today SUMMER 2015 MANUFACTURER profile Success by Design Ariat introduced comfort to the world of riding footwear, establishing its reputation for function with style. T he success story of Ariat is a saga that began with a great idea and the courage to seize the moment. It was born of the realization that in spite of what "some people" thought, a void existed in the English and Western footwear markets and Ariat should f ll it — literally from the ground up. The mission today remains the same as it was then, says company co-founder and CEO Beth Cross: to make the world's most innovative products for the world's top equestrian athletes. It all began in 1990, when Cross collaborated post-graduation with Pam Parker, a fellow student at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. T e rest is equestrian footwear, apparel and accessories history. As Cross and Parker served as consultants for athletic shoe manufacturers Reebok and Avia, the pair realized riding boots hadn't been updated in more than 100 years. "T ey were more like a men's dress shoe, with leather outside and no cushioning," Cross says. And they were uncomfortable. T at lef the boot-manufacturing door wide open for something completely dif erent to come through — comfort and performance, courtesy of technology. If timing is everything, it was certainly right for Ariat. The company's first Western and English boot with athletic foot-bed technology debuted in 1993, and "riding boots" were never the same. "We took technology that was available for either running or hiking boots and put it into traditional English and Western boots," says Cross. "Even though the disciplines [English and Western] are very dif erent, they have similar needs in terms of footwear," she says. "T ey need stability in the stirrup and on the ground, as well as cushioning and durability at any time. We always approach footwear from the standpoint of rider biomechanics." It works. T e success of Ariat footwear has made way for additional apparel for men, women and children by Stephanie Stephens Ariat co-founder and CEO Beth Cross

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