Oct 24, 2023
by Karl Smith
norda and Reigning Champ Combine Progressive Design with Vintage Aesthetics
by Karl Smith
Oct 24, 2023

Having previously worked with the likes of Paris-based running label Satisfy and Italian fashion house Zegna, norda’s latest joint effort brings the Canadian brand’s focus a little closer to home. Linking with athletic compatriots Reigning Champ, this latest collaboration is about connection: titled “City to Summit,” the collection ties not only East and West coast Canada together, but also bridges the gap between Canada’s urban environments and its wilder terrains.

The co-designed capsule expertly mixes aesthetic nostalgia and forward-thinking design, leaning on a sleek Black, White and Heather Gray color palette that invokes classic athletic wear, while the construction makes solid use of Reigning Champ’s cut-and-sew production techniques for performance purposes. All four pieces of apparel in the capsule – comprising the RC-1442 T-shirt, the RC-3941 Half-Zip, the RC-3942 Crewneck, and the RC-5482 Running Tight – are handmade in Canada.

As well as local production, the pieces also benefit from a selection of Earth-friendlier materials – most notably the use of Polartec® Power Stretch® Pro™, which features in the half-zip and the running tights, and which is made from at least 50% recycled P.E.T. plastic.

The capsule also features a 16oz water bottle – the co-branded, RC-7422 Nalgene Water Bottle, to be precise – which, of course, is an outdoor essential regardless of where you happen to be running. It isn’t made in Canada with the apparel, but it is manufactured in the U.S.A. and is – it’s worth noting – constructed from the BPA/BPS-free recycled resin, Sustain®. (It’s also leak-proof, dishwasher-safe and, according to norda, “designed with a narrow mouth lid” – which, we have to assume, is so you don’t get yourself soaked when you’re sipping on the move or waste precious water when you need it most.)

And then, of course, there’s the pièce de résistance of any norda collaboration: the footwear. Here, it’s officially known as the Reigning Champ x norda 001 – or, affectionately, RC-7423 for short – and, if you’re familiar with the brand, which you ought to be by now, you’ll know it as one of the most impressive trail-running shoes out there.

More than just performance, however, the norda 001 is a world-leading piece of progressive engineering – with an upper crafted from Seamless Bio-Dyneema® (“a sustainable fibre that is 15x stronger than steel by weight”), laces from Bio-Dyneema® and recycled polyester, an exclusive Vibram Litebase Megagrip Soleplate, and a custom-designed insole made from eTPU (which is not only more environmentally sound than regular PU, but also more so than EVA foam).

In terms of changes to the shoe – well – there really aren’t meany to speak of. And that isn’t a bad thing at all. As with the Zegna and Satisfy collaborations, it’s really just a matter of color – the Reigning Champ x norda 001 comes in the same vintage-feeling Heather Gray as the capsule’s crewneck – because, beyond that, there’s really no need to mess around with the inner workings of a product that’s already been tested and refined to the level of the 001.

The limited edition Reigning Champ x norda collaboration releases today, October 24th, in both Reigning Champ stores and select stockists, as well as via the norda and Reigning Champ websites.