Timberland has sold its moribund GoLite trail running business to a new footwear company fronted by Doug Clark, the man who created its Invention Factory NPD team.

The US company had signalled its intention to close down its GoLite footwear operations only two years after the outdoor wear spin-off was launched.

But now Clark, through start-up New England Footwear, has purchased the brand licence.

Financial details were not revealed, but the deal covers GoLite's existing designs and excess inventory.

However, Timberland is retaining ownership of the GoLite trademark and licensing the footwear rights to Clark.

While at Timberland, Clark created the company's Invention Factory, an autonomous design and development team, and was responsible for the technology behind the original GoLite trail running range.

"My heart and passion is in invention and innovation, and rethinking everything we thought we once knew about creating footwear," said Clark, now CEO of New England Footwear.

"Our first goal is to bring GoLite Footwear to its full potential as a true outdoor athletic brand."

Clark added that the New Hampshire-based company was poised to move beyond trail running, unveiling a full range of trail shoes based on the GoLite platform at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market event.

Pricing will be mostly in the US$85-120 range.

Clark will be joined in his new venture by Tom Montgomery, formerly of StrideRite, Kenneth Cole and Timberland, who will handle sourcing; Matt King, previously with Peregrine Outfitters, who will be responsible for national sales; and Steve Opie, who has worked with Nike, Converse and StrideRite, as designer.

Timberland president and CEO Jeff Swartz gave his backing to the deal. "I am glad that Doug will have the opportunity to continue to grow GoLite Footwear from its inception here in the Invention Factory," he said.