Several tool and equipment brands have their own lines of work boots. Dewalt, for example, has quite a few different styles of work boots, work shoes, and other types of safety footwear.
Could Milwaukee Tool come out with their own work boots? Sure. Should they? Would they?
At the time of this posting, Milwaukee Tool does not make any work boots or safety shoes, and I don’t see this changing any time soon.
Milwaukee has come out with new safety gear over the past few months, including work vests and a new line of knee pads. This is all on top of their huge 2019 launch into the safety and PPE product category.
Milwaukee Tool now has hard hats – plus an entire accessory ecosystem – quite a few different styles of work gloves, respirators, safety glasses, ear plugs, and more.
The brand has an astonishingly vast product line of heated gear, as well as non-heated workwear.
But there is one category Milwaukee Tool hasn’t entered yet – safety footwear.
Is this because the market is too crowded? What could Milwaukee Tool being to the work boot industry that other brands aren’t doing or couldn’t do just as well?
Personally, I don’t think this is a tool-related product category that Milwaukee would be eager to touch.
For one, where would the products see exposure? Milwaukee has carved out a nice-sized section of wall space in the PPE and safety gear section at Home Depot stores. Would they have the same breadth and selection of safety gear if not for their widespread availability at Home Depot stores?
While Milwaukee of course has many other high-volume dealers and retailers, nobody can deny the high visibility of their safety products at Home Depot stores. Promotional displays on the sales floor provide visibility boosts at least a couple of times each year.
Sure, Milwaukee could put a boot or two on display in stores and provide ordering details, but stores can’t carry x-number of boxes of y-number of boot sizes.
Looking online, Home Depot’s online store carries a lot of different work boots – there are 1,173 work boot listings – but none of them are available at stores.
On the other hand, Milwaukee’s heated gear and other cool weather workwear tend to sell out each year, and having different color and size options don’t seem to have hindered things. Jackets and shoes aren’t quite the same thing, though.
Milwaukee doesn’t need for tools or accessories to be available in stores in order for the products to be successful.
I am sure that work boots and other footwear products experience a much higher return rate than other types of safety gear, such as work gloves.
There’s also a question about what kind of market share might they expect to compete for. There are a lot of players in this game, and it would take a lot of fierce competition to win over even a tiny piece of the pie.
I think that this is a category that Milwaukee Tool can get into, but not without hurdles, risks, and limited payoff.
With all that said, I’m curious – would you buy Milwaukee work boots? Is this the first time you have ever connected “Milwaukee Tool” and “work boots” in the same thought?
Despite my somewhat pessimistic outlook about this, there’s one nagging question I cannot seem to dismiss. Dewalt is subject to the same market factors and product-specific complexities that Milwaukee would face. Assuming that Dewalt has a consistently profitable presence in the work boot industry, wouldn’t Milwaukee Tool enjoy the same?