Where Did It All Start?
In 1889, the brothers Edouard and Andre Michelin ran a rubber factory in France. One day, a cyclist whose pneumatic tyre needed repair came to the factory. It took them over three hours to fix because the tyre was glued to the rim and the next day when they tested it, the tyre failed. It was then that the Michelin brothers got the idea to create a removable tyre that didn’t need to be glued to the rim.
Today, Michelin is the second largest tyre manufacturer in the world and bigger than both Goodyear and Continental.
Michelin’s mission is to achieve the ultimate in durability, traction and safety.
Stepping into Footwear
Michelin sees shoes as the tyres of people: the one connection between man and terrain. Since Michelin has an incredible rubber know-how, they decided to create the next generation of technical soles for outdoor footwear.
Michelin has partnerships with Under Armour, Mizuno, Shimano, Babolat and Northwave to name a few and the designers at Michelin have co-created some of the most advanced technical footwear on the market.
The Sole Manufacturing Process
The manufacturing process of soles is very similar to the manufacturing process of tyres.
The Finished Product
Whether it’s mountain bikers, trail runners or snowboarders, each set of footwear has its own unique design and is tailored for superior performance.
Michelin and Etnies
The Etnies Marana is one of the most popular and durable skateboarding shoes on the market. It has a midsole made of STI Evolution Foam and a Pro Foam polyurethane insole for impact protection. On the upper is a rubber toe cap and a padded tongue and collar.
The problem with the original Marana was that the upper and midsole were so long-lasting that they outlived the outsole. Etnies decided to team up with Michelin to create the most durable skateboarding shoe. They wanted to translate the performance and durability of Michelin tyres onto the outsole of a shoe.
Michelin and Under Armour
Michelin joined forces with Under Armour to create the HOVR Reactor, part of its ColdGear Reactor collection. Under Armour’s ColdGear fabric helps to regulate the temperature of your feet, warming them when you’re going slowly and cooling them when you’re going fast.
The HOVR Reactor also uses Storm technology to repel water without sacrificing breathability so that you stay warm and dry. In the midsole, you find Under Armour’s HOVR foam which provides efficient energy return and impact reduction.
On the outsole of the HOVR Reactor, you find Michelin’s all-weather outsole. This is the first road running shoe to feature a Michelin outsole and it has superior grip on wet and icy surfaces. The outsole takes inspiration from the Michelin S1 motorbike tyre which has widely-spaced knobs to increase ground contact and to penetrate mud easily.
Michelin and Mizuno
The Wave Mujin, now in its 6th incarnation is a trail shoe for technical runners. It was designed to have maximum cushioning and maximum durability and features Mizuno’s famous wave plate. The wave plate launches the foot forward when the wave plate stretches out upon impact and then returns back to its regular wave shape. It also provides arch support for a stable and sturdy ride.
The outsole of the Wave Mujin 6 features Mizuno’s XtaGrip which helps with durability and total grip. XtaGrip technology uses a durable Michelin rubber compound which results in extreme traction that can handle tightly packed, dusty trails, muddy tracks or rocky inclines.
“We’ve developed technical soles for sheer rock faces, hard-hitting motorsports, rugged mountain trails, sweaty boxing rings, fiery kitchens, backcountry peaks, wild highlands and even icy airplane-wings during wintertime. There really are no limits. The technology, the precision design, the product performance. It’s extraordinary.”
DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT & INNOVATION AT JV INTERNATIONAL