The Most Influential Gear of All Time: Vibram Soles

1937

Vibram Sole

Vibram Sole     Photo: Jojo659/Wikimedia

The leather-soled hobnail boots and cleated felt-bottom climbing shoes of his day troubled Italian alpine guide and Milan retailer Vitale Bramani. When mountain weather changed, which it often did, climbers would be unable to descend, or their feet would freeze. Bramani believed that rubber, like that used in car tires, would have better slip resistance as well as improved thermal protection. His first rubber soles mimicked hobnail soles. He sold them exclusively in his shop, using the same Vibram gold label on the bottom of the boots that he used on his clothing.

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