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Grassroots Outdoor Alliance (Grassroots) is pleased to announce that Vibram USA, Inc. has joined our organization as a Vendor Partner.
Vibram is a well-known brand in the outdoor industry setting the standard in performance footwear for more than 75 years. FiveFingers is a new chapter in the Vibram story, bringing their expertise in product design, testing and market research to sportspeople and adventurers around the world.
In 1930’s Italy, Vitale Bramani owned a mountain sports supplies shop in Milan. In 1935, he lost six of his friends in a climbing expedition. Weather changes and their inadequate â€œhemp shoesâ€ were partly to blame for the tragedy and Vitale was determined to find a way of making climbing safer through improved footwear design.
Just two years later, Vitale joined forces with Leopoldo Pirelli (of the famed car tires) to launch the first shoe sole made of vulcanized rubber. The Vibram company and rubber soled shoes were born.
In the spirit of â€œsafeâ€ adventure that inspired his grandfather, sailing enthusiast Marco Bramani teamed up with designer Robert Fliri to create the Vibram FivefingersÂ®. Fliri’s glove-like footwear design immediately appealed to Bramani. He saw the perfect solution for protecting his feet from sharp objects on deck while giving him a responsive grip in unstable conditions. The pair worked together to create the original FivefingersÂ® Classic. Since then, the line has grown to include other models and reflect the company’s desire to constantly innovate.
Mike Plante, owner of Travel Country Outdoors and longtime member of Grassroots recognizes the similarities between Vibram and the independent outdoor specialty retailer: â€œThe Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is very excited that Vibram has chosen to join our group. After many discussions it was apparent that the synergy of this family owned company and their long term history in the outdoor industry was in step with the independent owners of The Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. Vibram was the catalyst of the minimalist movement and all of our members have enjoyed great success with the brand. We feel confident that as partners we can keep exposing the Vibram brand and Grassroots Outdoor Alliance together as innovators in the outdoor community and beyond!â€
Michael Martin, General Manager for Vibram North America, explains the decision to become a vendor partner with Grassroots, â€œVibram is excited to become a vendor partner of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. While doing a brisk Vibram FiveFingers business with many of the retail members for several years, Vibram recognizes that it has been represented in the stores on other vendor’s footwear for far longer. We are excited about the future that this partnership can bring to Vibram.â€
With obvious mutual goals, the partnership brings forward many opportunities for the Vibram brand and retail members of Grassroots.
According to Dawson Wheeler Chairmen of the Grassroots Vendor Committee and co-owner of Rock/Creek, â€œWe are extremely excited to begin a working partnership with Vibram. They clearly are a company of free thinkers who design technical minimalist footwear. This company fits directly into Specialty retail and our partnership with further our education and support best practices with use and fitting. â€œ
Grassroots Outdoor Alliance has 40 members with nearly 80 retail locations across the United States. Grassroots unites independent outdoor retailers as a strong voice to protect and promote the experience of outdoor enthusiasts across the United States. To learn more about Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, visit our website at www.grassrootsoutdoors.com