Ram, Wolverine design truck-inspired boots to honor skilled trades workers

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Designers from two Michigan brands have collaborated to design work boots inspired by trim levels of the Ram 1500 pickup trucks that are meant to honor skilled trades workers.

The five-pair, U.S.-made collection from Rockford-based footwear and clothing brand Wolverine is now available online for pre-orders to ship in mid-October. For each pair pre-ordered, $10 will go to SkillsUSA, a nonprofit organization focused on supporting the next generation of skilled tradespeople. On Labor Day, 100% of the revenue from the shoes will go to SkillsUSA.

The Wolverine x Ram work boot collaboration seeks to honor skilled traders.

"A lot of it is the American worker. ... That’s a big part of obviously our truck customers, and they are the people that have built and will build America," Jeff Summers, head of advertising for Stellantis NV's Ram truck brand, said during a virtual news conference. "If we can use this custom boot collection to kick off that relationship, we’re more than happy to do it."

The shoes built in Arkansas and Tennessee, each with the Ram logo on the tongue, are inspired by three truck trim levels: Tradesman, Rebel and Limited. They retail for $229, $239 and $400, respectively. In addition to Wolverine's website, the boots will be available in October at select Boot Barn locations across California and Texas, as well as BootBarn.com and Amazon.com Inc.'s Ram Truck Store.

The Wolverine x Ram work boot collaboration seeks to honor skilled traders.

After introductions a few years ago, the collaboration became a reality over the past year. The Tradesman boots correspond to Ram's work truck trim. The steel-toed shoes come in a rugged brown and white.

"While you might be surprised to see the white," Norman Gress, Wolverine's design director, said, "it is a trending boot color as well as the best-selling Tradesman truck color."

The Rebel shoes take cues from the active truck's red-and-black interior. The red and black pairs have vice versa accent colors. "Rebel" is printed on their sides. And the Limited boot is based on Wolverine's 1000 Mile premium offering, is handcrafted and features Horween leather from Chicago in nod to the truck's luxury interior.

"It's great that it's not just about slapping a name, slapping a Rebel name on these boots," said Ryan Nagode, Ram's chief interior designer. "The entire lineup was a little bit of a back-and-forth and really creating products that speak well with each other."

Ram will share a new 60-second "Rent We Pay" video across its social media channels to commence the partnership. It is the second installment of its "God Bless the Working Class" series.

"We’ve been on a mission to celebrate the spirit and tenacity of the American blue-collar worker in order to inspire and support a new generation of skilled trades people," said Any Shripka, vice president of global marketing for Wolverine World Wide Inc. "That’s really because as a society we’ve been telling kids for decades now the best path to success in life is college. And now we’re dealing with the implications of that. We’re short of people with the necessary skills to provide society with all the conveniences we enjoy.

"To support our mission of elevating the trades and helping to close that skills gap, we at Wolverine have been seeking out partnerships of like-minded people and organizations and brands."

bnoble@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble