Timberland has announced a collaboration with Omni United to create a co-branded line of tires under the Timberland and Radar Tires brands. As part of the collaboration, the rubber tires will be recycled at the end of their lifecycle to make the outsoles of Timberland shoes. The announcement was made by officials from the two companies at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, on Nov. 4.
Omni United is the owner of the Radar, Goodride, Roadlux and Corsa tire brands distributed in the U.S. The company, which currently has products sold in more than 1,000 retail outlets across the U.S., expects to advertise in consumer magazines, hoping the Timberland name will attract more consumers. Timberland tires will be sold initially in the U.S. at national and regional tire retailers, as well as online through an e-commerce platform. The first line of Timberland tires will be available in the spring of 2015, and the first batch for recycling is expected to be ready by late 2017.
Timberland and Omni United first conceived this partnership three years ago, when sustainability executives from both brands came together and realized that the tire and footwear industries were the two largest users of virgin rubber. Considering the major challenge represented by a more sustainable lifecycle for rubber, Timberland and Omni United envisioned a partnership to tackle this issue, which has now taken shape.
The new tires will feature the Timberland name and tree logo. The product line will include three categories - the Timberland Cross tire, for small SUVs and crossover vehicles, the Timberland A/T tire, for trucks and large SUVs, and the Timberland Tout tire, for cars. The tires will be made in the U.S., using both domestic and imported materials, with a rubber formulation that is appropriate for recycling at the end of their life. To make the tire-to-shoe continuum possible, Timberland and Omni United have established an industry-first tire return/chain of custody process, ensuring that tires go directly to dedicated North American recycling facilities, where they will be recycled into crumb rubber. The crumb rubber will be processed into sheet rubber for shipment to Timberland outsole makers, where the rubber will then be mixed into a compound for outsoles, which will ultimately be incorporated into Timberland boots and shoes.
Until a critical mass of supply for recycling comes in, alternative recycled rubber compounds will be used for a special collection of Timberland boots, with outsoles inspired by the treads on Timberland Tires, scheduled for launch in autumn 2016.