For Austin Sedlbauer (above), the Cougar Shoes technical designer with a passion for cars, a partnership with Michelin is a dream collaboration. It’s also an exciting way to celebrate 75 years of Cougar.
Here, Austin gives us the inside scoop on this design collab!
Cougar is a Canadian icon and Michelin a tire icon. Tell us about this meeting of influential brands.
This was a long time coming!
Since we are a force in the winter boot market, it made sense to introduce an approach with new technologies to take our boots to the next level of performance.
There’s a lot of value in what Michelin brings to the table and, coupled with our styling and careful detailing, I think we’ve delivered something truly special.
Well, these boots aren’t just another offering with a different look.
We wanted to offer women winter-performance boots that didn’t look like they were men’s or made for shovelling the driveway. From the last (the shape that forms the silhouette) to the patterns, colours and materials, we’ve created something very functional, but also tastefully stylish.
There’s also a whole lot of new technology in the way these are detailed and assembled, so they’re quite innovative too. These boots are at the crossroads where fashion meets function, and that makes them unique.
Tell us more about that.
These boots needed to be functional but uniquely fashionable.
We brought on a partner with a heavily engrained technology and performance background and we married that with the style we’re known for. From assembly technology typically reserved for athletic wear (like fusing materials together or rubberizing prints) to the rich molded components, these boots are a foray into a lot of new technologies.
We also dug into our arsenal and threw everything we had at them. From the luxe faux-furs and premium leathers on Union to our waterproofing technologies, comfort technologies and Primaloft® insulation. We selected materials and colours that were unquestionably feminine so we could deliver the ultimate winter boot for women.
Tell us about Michelin’s winter technology.
As a brand that makes one of the best winter tires on the market, Michelin knows a thing or two about cold-weather traction.
From the unique lug designs that strategically trap or shed snow to their signature rubber compounds that perform optimally in the harsh winter climate, Michelin has essentially found a way to translate their years of experience in winter tires to the bottom of your feet!
Yes! That’s why Michelin says, “Shoes are to people what tires are to a vehicle – the only thing connecting the user to the ground.”
The Michelin sole was a collaborative effort between both of our design teams. However, when it comes to the final tread design, you’re getting the full Michelin experience. We created looks that feel fresh, new and tasteful and Michelin went to work implementing their technology on them – this collection is the final result!
The exclusive sole design is pretty exciting.
Yes, both in that it’s exclusive to us and that it’s undoubtedly functional. I learned a lot from Michelin’s approach to tread design and will carry that forward in what I do. I appreciate the high degree of technical knowledge that goes into how and why they approach things the way that they do, and they have the data to back it up too. The result is a sole with a high degree of performance, so it’s hard not to get excited about that.
And these boots are super toasty and warm.
Since we were building a boot with all the fixings, warmth was obviously not something we ignored. From the use of Primaloft® Gold insulation, to the foams and the way the soles were constructed, we were able to put together something that far exceeds our typical standard in laboratory testing.
So, who will these boots appeal to?
There’s more than one flavour here so I wouldn’t pigeonhole this collection as being for just one type of customer.
These boots are for women who want something very functional, but also appreciate something stylish. From the outdoor enthusiast who gravitates to the functional aspect, to the woman who is navigating the city and showing off her style. I would argue that the long list of features and performance attributes will appeal to a lot of customers.
Best compliment you could receive about them?
For a customer to say, “I’ve never owned anything like this before!” Full stop. I want people to get excited about these boots and the effort that went into making them unique and packed full of features. I know these boots will look fantastic as soon as they’re pulled out of the box, but there will also be a lot of pleasant surprises as people get them on their feet and get outside!
Union Leather and Suede Waterproof Winter Boot with PrimaLoft® and soles by Michelin in Denim
"Union Leather and Suede Waterproof Winter Boot with PrimaLoft® and soles by Michelin in Black
Union Leather and Suede Waterproof Winter Boot with PrimaLoft® and soles by Michelin in Almond