Traverse City Tire Maker, Timberland to Create Footwear from Recycled Tires

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Traverse City-based Omni United USA, which offers a complete line of passenger, truck, and bus tires, is teaming up with Timberland — an outdoor-themed footwear, apparel, and accessories retailer — to create a co-branded line of tires designed to be recycled into footwear outsoles after their journey on the road is complete. 

Timberland Tires will be unveiled today at the Specialty Equipment Market Association automotive trade show in Las Vegas, with company officials expecting the first lot of returned tires to be ready for recycling in late 2017.

“Our partnership with Omni United marks a new day for the tire and footwear industries,” says Stewart Whitney, president of Timberland. “An outdoor lifestyle brand and an automotive industry leader may, at first blush, seem unlikely partners — yet our shared values have given birth to tires that express a lifestyle, deliver performance and safety, and prove that sustainability can be so much more than a theory. It’s this kind of cross-industry collaboration that’s fueling real change and innovation in the marketplace.”

Timberland and Omni United first conceived the partnership three years ago, when sustainability leaders from both brands came together to address the fact that the tire and footwear industries are two of the largest users of virgin rubber, Whitney says. The majority of tires on the market today have a limited life span, and ecologically-sound disposal at the end of that life span presents yet another challenge. 

The two companies have established a process that ensures the used tires will be recycled and repurposed into Timberland products. The used tires will then be shipped to a North American tire recycling facility where they will be recycled into “crumb” rubber that will then be processed into sheet rubber and ultimately incorporated into Timberland boots and shoes.

“Timberland Tires is the first tire brand to embrace a holistic approach, rather than a more traditional approach based on product attributes alone,” says G.S. Sareen, president and CEO of Omni United. “Given the strength of the Timberland brand, and our target consumer’s appreciation for sustainability, we see a huge opportunity to change the way people choose their tires.”

Timberland Tires will be sold initially in the United States at leading national and regional tire retailers, as well as online.

Until a critical mass of supply comes in, Timberland and Omni United are seeking alternative recycled rubber compounds for a special collection of Timberland boots with outsoles inspired by the treads on Timberland Tires. The boots are slated to launch in fall 2016.

For more information about Timberland Tires, visit timberlandtires.com.

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