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Altra Partners With Outdoor Product Design and Development Program at USU

Thursday, Apr. 20, 2017

Utah State University’s Outdoor Product Design and Development (OPDD) program announces a partnership with Altra Footwear, an athletic and outdoor brand known for its unique FootShape™ toe box and Zero Drop™ running shoes.

The current sewing and design lab in the Industrial Science building on the USU campus has been renamed the “Altra Running Lab” as a part of the partnership. The establishment of this state-of-the art lab will bring together industry and education to better train students for competitive design and development jobs in the outdoor industry. USU’s OPDD program provides students specific skills to work in product design positions in the outdoor industry which Altra Footwear values.

“Altra is proud to partner with USU and support a hands-on lab where students can explore, tinker and experiment, while learning employable skills for a job in the outdoor industry,” said Brian Beckstead, Altra co-founder and president. “It really is the perfect opportunity for students who are interested in a career in this great industry.” 

USU’s OPDD program recognizes the need for industry involvement from innovative partners like Altra Footwear to prepare the next generation of outdoor industry leaders.

“Altra’s generous support of the Outdoor Product Design and Development program at USU will make possible the first-class learning environments our students deserve,” said Sean Michael, Director of the OPDD program. “By creating the Altra Running Lab, students in our program will not only have expanded abilities to create tomorrow’s products, but will have the direct support of one of the most innovative and fast-growing brands in the marketplace.”

Altra representatives will also have an advisory role on the OPDD Advancement Board to help advise faculty in the new program to ensure that curriculum is tailored to teach students the needed skills and knowledge to make a strong impact in the outdoor industry. Altra will also create internship opportunities for OPDD students to provide professional outdoor product design experiences. The brand will also play an active role in students’ learning by providing design challenges each year in collaboration with OPDD faculty.

About Outdoor Product Design and Development (OPDD)

The Outdoor Product Design and Development program at USU, based in Logan, Utah, was created in January 2016 in order to better prepare a workforce looking to work in the outdoor industry. Students in the OPDD program learn the principles of apparel design, design principles, materials and textiles and 3D design courses as well in order to fit a growing demand for product designers with an emphasis on the outdoor industry.

About Altra

While working at a running store, Altra founders Golden Harper and Brian Beckstead saw the pain caused by traditional running shoes. Their passion to create a shoe that made running enjoyable inspired Altra’s FootShape™ toe box and Zero Drop™  platform. Since its founding in 2011, Altra has grown from one to 21 shoe styles, winning multiple Editor’s Choice awards and achieving distribution in more than 50 countries. Join the conversation @AltraRunning and #ZeroLimits on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Writer/Contact: Chase Anderson, 385-350-5503,,

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