Lontreau: Skin care for people who love to sweat
Exercise can wreak havoc on your skin. Whether you’re running, biking, swimming or skiing – sweat from your fitness routine creates the perfect environment for bacteria, dirt and oil buildup that leads to clogged pores and breakouts, not to mention the added effects of air pollution, sun, wind, cold and chemicals that come with daily exposure to the elements. And sometimes traditional skin-care products don’t suit athletic training, says Vancouver-based Angie Buonassisi, an avid athlete with more than 10 years of experience in medical aesthetics and skin care at 8 West Clinic. “For example, I loved the idea of using retinol but found it so photo-sensitizing that my skin would sting and burn whenever I sweat.”
Buonassisi wasn’t about to miss a run because of her skin-care routine, so she set out to create a product that offered similar benefits without the retinol. This inspired her four-step skin-care line Lontreau, which she launched this year. The clinical-grade products are specifically geared toward people who live heavily active and outdoor lifestyles year-round. Lontreau avoids more than 2,700 specific ingredients and types of ingredients that are used in mainstream beauty products, and instead uses uniquely selected and blended natural ingredients, such as vegetal glycogen, squalane, vegan collagen, or dragon fruit extract, to “mimic the skin’s biochemical structure,” according to the brand’s website. This helps protect the skin without causing irritation or discomfort, which Buonassisi calls “a true win-win for our community.” Products range from $40 to $160, on lontreau.com.
alder: Outdoor gear that fits up to size 6X
From moisture-wicking fabrics to reinforced seams and convenient pockets, alder prioritizes performance and style in an inclusive size range from XS to 6X. The brand noticed outdoor and athletic apparel is generally cut for a straight body line and as a result, recalculated its design process. “If you think about traditional grading (e.g. adding 1-2 inches per size), you’ll end up dramatically changing the intended shape of a garment if you don’t make adjustments to how and where the garment is graded, especially with a broader size range,” explains co-founder and National Geographic explorer Mikayla Wujec. “Often women in our community would note that they bought our take a hike shorts or surf’s up shorts because it’s the first time they’ve found shorts that actually fit them in their waist while leaving enough room for their hips and thighs,” adds co-founder Naomi Blackman, who brings her background in fashion marketing to the duo’s passion project, which also values sustainability.
Recently the UN asked fashion marketers to move beyond greenwashing and take meaningful actions beyond brand messaging, and for alder that means a focus on products and fabric with longevity and an eco-friendly lifecycle. “We do look to certifications like Bluesign, Oeko-Tex and GRS as well as SA8000 and Better Work, as they’re helpful identifiers, both for environmental impact and ethical workplaces, however, we see sustainability as more than certifications,” says Blackman. “We have to balance production impacts with product longevity.” Products include a lifetime guarantee and a repair credit “to encourage our customers to keep, love, repair and wear our products again and again,” says Wujec. They also introduced the Recreate Market this year in which they buy back gear, repair and refresh it for a new consumer.
norda: Performance shoes tailor-made for Canadian trails
Since founding the trail-running shoe brand norda in 2021, Willa and Nick Martire say they have never had a pair returned with a tear in the upper material – “It would take a chainsaw,” says Nick Martire. “We have seen runners surpass 1,000 km with our shoes when the industry says that shoes should only last to 500 km.”
As lifelong shoemakers and endurance athletes who “live and breathe trail life” on their farm outside in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, the Martires always felt trail-running shoes were an afterthought of the big running companies. “They were often just a heavy shoe with a lugged sole in dark grey or something boring like that,” says Martire. “Willa and I have been discussing for over 20 years what is today ‘norda,’” says Martire, describing their idea of a perfect shoe as providing protection of the foot, stability and high traction, being ultralight (for higher performance) and highly durable.
Norda’s durability has been tested by the likes of Ben Pobjoy, who just completed 50+ marathons in one pair, or on rugged mountains by Jason Hardrath, who attempted 13 14,000-foot summits in the Sierra-Nevada range over three consecutive non-stops days, or Kelsey Hogan, who broke her own course record this summer on Quebec Mega Trail by more than 3.5 hours. The design’s secret is bio-based Dyneema Fiber, the world’s strongest and lightest fibre, and high quality foams in its midsole. This spring, norda released an even lighter trail shoe, 002, which is designed for shorter distance and vertical attempts. Prices range from $285 to $355 on nordarun.com.