In terms of function, there isn’t a big difference between a pair of shoes and a set of car tires. Each serves a similar basic purpose – getting a person from one place to another – only on a much different scale. Work shoe wearers and drivers also have similar expectations for the products such as grip, performance and durability.
For more than 100 years, iconic tire brand Goodyear has applied many of the qualities and materials of its tires to the soles of shoes. After seeing success with footwear in the international market for the past several years, the company is now looking to expand its shoe licensing efforts to the U.S. market.
“We’ve been very successful licensing Goodyear as a lifestyle brand in Europe, South America and Asia by emphasizing its great appeal and heritage as an American icon that has existed since 1898,” says Fabrice Faurie, vice president of licensing and consumer products for IMG Licensing, Goodyear’s licensing agent. “In the United States, we’re going to focus on the brand’s reputation for safety, durability, reliability, power and performance.”
IMG earlier this year partnered with licensee SCL Footwear NY, USA to produce a line of Goodyear-branded hiking and work related footwear for the U.S. and Canadian market. The footwear line – which will be sold at work specialty retailers across the country – will be formally launched during the MAGIC Marketplace trade show in Las Vegas in August.
The footwear line includes a number of features inspired from Goodyear’s tire technology. Several different styles will be available, including footwear offering genuine Goodyear welts, traction control, slip and oil resistance, insulation, true membrane waterproofing, steel/composite toe, electrical hazard and protective met-guards.
The shoe brand is the first of several licensing efforts IMG is managing for Goodyear this year. The company is also launching eyewear, a headwear line and a line of phone accessories including smartphone cases and Bluetooth headsets exclusively for the U.S. market before the end of the year.
The eyewear line, developed by licensee Icon Eyewear, will tie into Goodyear’s long-established presence on the racing circuit. The line includes sunglasses with lens engineered to increase contrast, absorb glare and boost vibrancy by minimizing color distortion. “With this line, we are combining the Goodyear heritage and NASCAR experience together with strong technology and unique features,” Faurie notes.
The headwear line, from H3 Sportsgear, is also inspired by Goodyear’s racing experience. Several hats featuring current and vintage renderings of the company’s logo – instantly recognizable from not only its tires but also its famous blimps – will also hit stores in 2014.
IMG earlier this year extended its global Goodyear Vintage fashion program to Pull&Bear retail outlets in 62 countries as well as online. The leisurewear program includes vintage shirts and sweatshirts. “We are very pleased that Pull&Bear, a global fast fashion retailer, is selling the latest Goodyear licensed clothing across the globe,” Faurie explains. “This is an exciting development in the ongoing development of Goodyear into a globally recognizable lifestyle brand of choice.“
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