Ahnu Footwear will partner with Pale Morning Media LLC for national public relations support. REI supported the brand’s development and launch by providing a seed investment to support the company’s start-up costs. A unique requirement of the investment is that any profits REI may realize above its initial investment and related administrative costs will be donated to a mutually agreed upon non-profit that has a clear mission of introducing people into the outdoors and protecting natural lands.

“We are on the cusp of a generational shift in the outdoor world,” said Jim Van Dine, Ahnu president and co-founder. “People are seeking out new brands with a youthful spirit, a technical edge, and some legitimate integrity. We fully believe that the next big trend is the outdoor lifestyle trend, and we’ve created a brand to help fuel that passion.”

“What got me interested in Ahnu was the product. It’s a remarkable convergence of design that finally nailed both the substance and style of the outdoors,” said Drew Simmons, president of Pale Morning Media, LLC, a public relations firm specializing in the outdoor world. “The fact that their product is so strong makes their modern approach to social and environmental responsibility even more inspiring.”

The name Ahnu is derived from Celtic mythology, from the goddess of balance and prosperity. The deity could accurately be described as an ancient version of “Mother Earth.” The choice is both deliberate and appropriate, as Ahnu’s social and environmental commitment is incorporated in every business decision of the nascent brand.

“Life should be balanced, responsible, and fun,” added Van Dine. “That’s the spirit we’ve put into this line, and the way we hope people will live every day.”

The namesake of the brand (“Anu”) was initially researched and discovered by Van Dine’s daughter, Ginny. Convincing the rest of the staff of the legitimacy of a family-inspired name was easy … as a family spirit is a core element of the brand. The Ahnu team, after all, has already proven that the family formula works.

Van Dine and the rest of the Ahnu design and management team worked side by side at Keen Footwear, helping guide the brand from its very first steps to its remarkable three-year peak. Open about their desire to replicate the same friendly, social, and successful environment, the Ahnu staff is going back to the source.

Working out of the same Bay Area office space, the Ahnu team shares the same view of the water, of the city and of the mountains that inspired their previous successes. They’ve got the same assorted guitars, the same photos of friends and family, and even the same deli charge account.

“We want to do well, for sure. But what we really want to do is to work with each other, and to build the type of company that we can all be proud of,” said Van Dine.