Meanwhile, Adidas has shaved off fabric bulge — that, says Thomsen, can affect a climber's important view of below — and has employed "body mapping" to put ventilation and insulation where they're needed.
Fits-brand socks are sewn with a tapered circular design that mimics the curve of the muscles in the lower leg, and there's emphasis on removing rubbing and bulk. The knit is uniquely flat to allow maximum contact with the boot.
Schmults says he has seen the interest in customization skyrocket. In response, his company now lets consumers decide where they want their pockets, what kind of cuff they want and what color the zippers will be.
Discerning winterwear customers want to choose if they have pockets and where they want them to be. They make these choices in their broader closet, he says, and they want them for their athletic clothes.
And "athletic clothes" is a broad term, Schmults notes. It's everything from the "jaws-of-death skier" to the "dog walker" and everyone in between. All those people share many of the same concerns: They want to be as warm as possible, as comfortable as possible and as stylish as possible.
"When you live in a cold climate, you're wearing your ski jacket or parka 50 percent of the time or more," says Sarah Perel, sales manager for the Montreal-based brand Pajar. "You want it to work and you want it to look good."
Shoppers can be that demanding because advances in technical fabrics have matched innovative design, including backpack straps and internal belts to cinch the waist and keep out wind, and the increased awareness of fashion trends, she says. Hello, fur-lined hoods.
It seems innate to go for the do-it-all gear, says Munro.
"When mountaineers are going off to the Himalayas to climb a mountain that's never been climbed before, they know no one is going to see them, but they STILL gravitate to what looks best on them and is the most fashionable," he says.