Celebrating 75 years of excellence, Cougar is marking a major milestone this year. The company has crafted quality shoes for generations and embraces innovation and design as its hallmark. Known for being miraculously warm and waterproof, Cougar makes our winters quite cozy and comfortable with its innovations year after year.
Libby Roach- 75 years is a massive achievement. That’s longer than Newfoundland has been in Canada! What do you attribute to your brand’s success?
Steve Sedlbauer– It’s such an achievement! I believe our success is centered around the integrity of our
product and everything we do. We always think of our customers first and strive to make a product that over-delivers value to our consumers. We make waterproof boots that are guaranteed to be waterproof and we mean it. Shoemaking is a more complex process than the consumer may appreciate and if there’s ever a problem, we make sure, whenever possible, that we make our customers happy with their Cougar brand experience.
Steve Sedlbauer, Co-Owner and President of Cougar
LR- Cougar is iconic for fashion-forward looks. Merging function with fashion is your trademark. What looks from the archives are your favourite?
SS- Naturally, the Pillow Boot! Created in 1976, it was a runaway hit and put the Cougar brand on the map. It really represents the DNA of the brand. We refer to it as our “iconic puff” and it’s something we continually look back to when drawing inspiration for future designs. You will see hints of the “puff” design reinterpreted in a modern way both in our boot and sandal designs today.
LR- You’re stepping into big shoes as the founder’s son. How do you channel your legacy into each new season’s offerings?
SS– I’ve actually been in these shoes for many years. My first summer job was working in the Cougar factory when I was just 13 years old before I joined full-time when I was 18. Being experts in waterproof and cold-weather footwear, we draw upon our years of experience to excel at combining fashion and function – something few, if any, can do. It’s a continuous process and an exciting challenge to understand how to execute fashion while building in the hidden benefits of warmth and waterproofing. Historically, functional footwear has been bulky and utilitarian in look.
We strive to keep the footwear as feminine as possible while incorporating the functionality. The input of the female members of our in-house design team is critical. We rely on their point of view and trust their experience with the design process. Like my father, the founder of Cougar, I am always listening to our team and our customers and learning from them – it’s the best way to create footwear that’s designed for today and that women actually want to wear.