Select Sole inks first production deal

In a multi-million dollar deal, Vancouver-based Select Sole has chosen Chinook Trading Co. to be the first manufacturer and wholesaler of shoes with its On Demand Traction System.

Lake Oswego-based Chinook will bring Select Sole's product to Canadian boot retailers under the Chinook brand in the fall of 2009.

"Chinook in Canada is a much broader name than in the United States," said Select Sole President Tim Hawkins. "Their market share in Canada is significant."

He added that Canada's cold weather provides an ideal market for shoes with Select Sole's technology. The traction system lets a person activate or retract cleats in footwear when terrain calls for a change. It all happens with the push of a button on the shoe's tongue.

Hawkins said shoes with Select Sole technology could hit U.S. stores by the spring or fall of 2010. The company is targeting partners that make athletic products as well as military, industrial, golf, casual and dress shoes.

Chinook has an exclusive agreement with Select Sole for at least four years, Hawkins said, and will assist Select Sole in building relationships with brands and manufacturers in the United States.

Select Sole was founded in 2007 by Michael O'Brien, who invented the ODTS technology and has nearly 100 inventions under patent attorney protection. Hawkins, Select Sole's president, is a former president of Vancouver-based Nautilus.

Chinook Trading Co. helps North American companies facilitate footwear manufacturing in Asia and has multiple offices in China and Vietnam. Robert Scofield founded the company in 1988.

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