“This collaboration is authentic down to its roots”: Merrell’s Ian Cobb on designing the Moab 3 Mid x Jeep hiking boot

Ian Cobb – Senior Design Director at Merrell – on packing the firm’s Jeep hiking boot with plenty of surprising design details.

Ian, it’s great to connect! IMG has brought Merrell and Jeep together for a collaboration that’s resulted in the Merrell Moab 3 Mid x Jeep hiking boot. What appealed about working with the Jeep brand?
The Jeep brand’s heritage has so much synergy to Merrell’s own legacy on the trail. Merrell’s mission is to share the simple power of being outside, and Jeep brings capability, craftsmanship and versatility to people who seek extraordinary journeys. These boots were made for adventure and help navigate any journey with confidence. This collaboration is authentic down to its roots.

“We selected the upper mesh to resemble the Wrangler’s grill.”

We upgraded the world’s best-selling hiking boot – the Moab – with trail-rated designs inspired by Jeep. With an increase in outdoor as a lifestyle, our historical knowledge of merging performance, style and comfort empower all people to confidently explore the outdoors. We welcome the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts to explore on-and-off-road adventures in both Merrell and Jeep. We hope this collaboration inspires more people to discover the simple power and joy of being outside.

Ian Cobb, Merrell, Jeep, Fashion

What kickstarted the design process? How did you get to grips with the Jeep IP?
All you had to say was Jeep! We’re have big fans of the brand – especially the Wrangler – on the team so it was easy to take our favorite design details and reimagine them through the Moab. We practically had the whole idea designed in minutes!

Minutes! Wow! Can you talk us through some of those design details?
At first glance, you’ll see the custom molded Rubicon badging, red “tow” lace hooks representing the hooks on the front of the Wrangler, and metal lace hardware representing the hatches on the Jeep hood. Looking closely at the boot, we selected the upper mesh to resemble the Wrangler’s grill with a hexagon pattern and larger heel webbing hook to mimic a seat belt. There is even a seven-slot grill embossed in the backstay! Surprise and delights are important to us – the unique footbed inserts feature a topographical map of Hell’s Revenge, a popular off-road trail in Moab, Utah.

Ian Cobb, Merrell, Jeep, Fashion

Lots of lovely touches! What do you feel is the key to crafting great footwear based on brands?
Comfort, fit, and traction are just as important as knowing your consumer base and taking their feedback into consideration as you build and enhance new product.

Ian, this has been great. I have one last question: How do you fuel your creativity? What helps you have ideas?
Anything and everything fuels our creativity, so ideas can come from anywhere. Constantly listening and observing and then knowing when to apply the ideas and learnings is key. There’s always room for improvement to fuel the next generation of creativity.

Thanks again!

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