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Gear UP

Submitted photoWhether in the classroom or running along the riverbank, Crocs are one of the hip items for this years active student.
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Sitting on their deck on a sunny August morning petting dogs, Jessi and Brenden Heitzman arent exactly raring to go back to school.Summer vacation, after all, isnt officially over.But in the next few weeks, the Heitzman siblings will return to class to learn about reading, writing, arithmetic and whats all the rage in back-to-school fashion.Skateboarding is really big around here, said Jessi, who will be a freshman at Colorado Rocky Mountain School this fall. A lot of people shop at Zumiez at the (Glenwood Springs) Mall or Rainbow.Amber Kitchens, an 18-year-old sales associate at Zumiez, said she has noticed skateboarding and snowboardings influence on back-to-school fashion.Kids are really getting into skateboarding, she said. Its becoming a really popular sport.The top-selling shoes at Zumiez this season have been Etnies and DVS skateboarding shoes, said Kitchens. Volcom T-shirts and Free World pants for guys and Empyre capris for girls are also popular.The Etnies are all white and the big E on the side comes in colors red, dark red, blue, baby blue, pink.Although Zumiez doesnt carry Crocs, Kitchens said many customers come in looking for the popular and colorful clogs that are flying off shelves worldwide (Crocs revenue totaled more than $11 million in this years first quarter).The ergonomic boat shoes, available in a variety of colors, are made from an anti-microbial and odor-resistant resin that molds to feet when softened by body heat. Styles range from beach shoes with ventilation holes for sand and water to pass through to strapless, hole-free and street-smart clogs.I think they are kind of ugly but they are really comfortable, Jessi said.Crocs can even be stylized and personalized with decorative buttons placed in the ventilation holes. The owners of Jibbitz, a Boulder company that sells the buttons, have three kids who are all Crocs fans. For $10 a panel, Crocs can be adorned with plastic flowers, soccer balls, happy faces, yin-yangs, and even letters to spell out words. The buttons can be ordered at http://www.jibbitz.com.Brenden, a fifth-grader at Sopris Elementary, said he doesnt own any Crocs but might consider a pair. Unlike his older sisters, Jessi and Peyton, Brenden said hes not all that interested in back-to-school shopping at the mall. He would rather head to Wal-Mart for school supplies such as notebooks, erasers and pencil sharpeners, and add stickers to his backpack.I barely ever go to the mall, but if I do, I go to Old Navy, Brenden said. I like to pick out my clothes, but if my mom thinks theyre really ugly, she makes me put them back.Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. 518aclark@postindependent.com

Glenwood Springs Colorado Canoe & Kayak Co., 910 Grand Ave. Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, 104 River St. Good Health, Inc., 722 Cooper Ave. Summit Canyon Mountaineering, 307 Eighth St. Carbondale Mountain Soles, 60 El Jebel Road #107 Basalt Midland Shoe, 150 Midland Ave. Taylor Creek Fly Fishing, 183 Basalt Center Circle Snowmass Village Aspen Sports-Silvertree Hotel, 105 Elbert Lane Aspen Sports Outlet, 16 Kearns Road Snowmass Mall, 105 Village Mall


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