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Cat Footwear’s New Collection is Workwear for the Gig Economy

Cat Footwear thinks its time to update the meaning of workwear.

With the launch of its new collection, CODE, the lifestyle and apparel offshoot of Caterpillar Inc.—which also makes world-renowned construction machinery—wants to capitalize on the rise of the gig economy by targeting the youthful, hardworking consumers who work and live within it.

Although many workers may not rejoice in the fact that their personal lives are becoming indistinguishable from their work lives, Cat Footwear has just the shoe for the occasion.

“We know that our consumer’s work and lives are blending. You can work wherever you are, you can work wherever your computer or phone will take you,” Lindsey Lindemulder, Cat Footwear’s senior lifestyle brand marketing manager told Sourcing Journal. “We wanted to bring this modern, minimalist, athletic-inspired—but still definitely casual enough to wear for your daily activities—product to market because we know our consumers care about how they show up in the pursuit of their dreams.”

The collection contains two styles, the Hex, featuring a sloping, slip-on heel, and the Hex Hi, a style resembling a traditional high-top sneaker. Each is available in black, white and a Caterpillar-referencing construction yellow, while the Hex comes with an additional grey colorway. But there’s a reason Cat isn’t calling the shoes “sneakers,” despite them looking the part. Both styles are decidedly more mature than a great many modern sneakers and the brand describes the collection as a merger between a casual weekend sneaker and smarter, more grown-up footwear.

“There is a flourishing sneaker market in the country and all around the world, that’s no secret at all,” Lindemulder continued. “But, we didn’t feel that there was the quite right sneaker that offered the casual all-day comfort that’s cool and youthful—but a bit more grown-up. [CODE] is for those 25-to-35-year-olds who are getting out there in the world.”

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To promote CODE in the United States and throughout the world, Cat Footwear is launching the collection alongside its “Keep Going” campaign, the brand’s largest such campaign in more than a decade. The campaign will be a synchronized effort across the brands various digital, social and retail channels and focuses on a positive, affirming message for the world’s up-and-coming business leaders.

In fact, the brand is pairing the launch of the campaign with a “venture capital” competition in which young influencers and entrepreneurs can vie for a prize of $5,000 to be awarded to participants through Cat Footwear’s various social media platforms.

“The world doesn’t need another shoe store,” Lindemulder explained, referencing an article she had read on the topic. “But what consumers today want are real connections with brands, with companies. They want to understand the story and motivations behind it. I think CODE does a really good job of launching us into this new space. We exist and the reason for this product is beyond ‘just another shoe.’ We  can connect with consumers on a deeper level and encourage them as they go about their journey.”

The CODE collection, with its combination of high-quality product and work-inspired messaging, has the potential to be a game-changer in the United States for a brand that’s looking to update and expand its working-class appeal for a new generation of entrepreneurs, especially considering the Caterpillar logo can be found anywhere a city-dwelling go-getter might be.

“Caterpillar is inherently a city-based brand,” Lindemulder said. “Caterpillar machinery, in every city around the world, is known for building everything from the roads that connect us to cities, skylines and skyscrapers. There’s something very urban and metropolitan that consumers really connect with.”

The CODE collection is already available through Cat Footwear’s digital channels and in Cat-branded stores around the world.