Shoe and apparel maker Rocky Brands has signed a licensing deal with Sole Matters to make, market and distribute a line of footwear.

The Zumfoot line will include men's and women's casual footwear. As well as having distribution agreements with the Zumfoot network of stores, Rocky Brands will seek to sell the brand through the department store and independent shoe store channels. The first product is expected to be available for shipment to stores in the first quarter of 2007.

Rocky chairman and CEO Mike Brooks said: "We are very excited to introduce this new product line, which will help further diversify our business and allow Rocky to target a market segment much broader than any we currently operate in.

"The casual footwear category has grown significantly over the past several years and we are confident that with our worldwide sourcing infrastructure, sales and marketing capabilities, and first-class design team we will be able to deliver new and unique styles at compelling price points and quickly gain key market share."

Sole Matters president Michael Mooney said: "Our remodelling program is proceeding ahead of plan and we are extremely excited with the fresh image we have created for our store base.

"Our association with Rocky Brands will significantly broaden exposure of the Zumfoot brand name throughout North America and will assist us in our efforts to further expand this innovative retail concept."

Sole Matters operates nine lifestyle footwear locations which are currently being remodelled and re-branded under the Zumfoot nameplate.