After nearly two decades in the business, Mary Steinebrunner is still in love with the protective footwear industry. And she’s always thinking about what might come next for her company, which shoes workers worldwide in food processing plants, on oil rigs and in the wild for weekend warriors and dairy farmers alike.
As the general manager of Dunlop Protective Footwear in Havre de Grace, MD, Steinebrunner readily admits she’s witnessed vast advancements over the last five years at both her Netherlands-based employer and the protective footwear industry overall. “Our innovation pipeline is what’s most exciting about this business,” Steinebrunner, who started out as a marketing assistant at the firm, says. “We’ve transformed from just a basic PVC, down and dirty, mud-and-water boot to having the most sophisticated products.”
This fall, Dunlop is taking another giant step forward with the launch of the Snug Boot. The style, which was two years in development, uses the brand’s proprietary Purofort material, and will be sold into the retail market and direct-to-consumers. There will be three versions of the Snug, ranging from $150 retail for the Pioneer to $169 for the puncture-resistant Work Pro featuring a composite toe cap and fiberglass mid plate and the $179 retail Mossy Oak version that will be sold by both Bass Pro and Cabela’s.
“This is all about making that next-generational-type boot,” says Colin Clark, director of marketing for Dunlop and a former executive for both Under Armour and the MLB’s Chicago Cubs.
Out of the gate, the Snug, with its unique set of molds, will be sourced in Holland. But there is both hope and expectation that products will eventually be made in Havre de Grace along with other styles already produced there.
Steinebrunner is also strategizing how Dunlop can work with its industrial partners to develop more sustainable and/or recyclable products, potentially utilizing recovered plastics, and eventually introduce a “smart boot” that will open doors for wearers and inform them when the outsole tread is worn out and the product needs to be replaced.
Listen to a podcast with Dunlop Protective Footwear’s Mary Steinebrunner below.