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Thanks to VibramÂ®’s advances in rubber compounding, it is now possible to maneuver in alpine ski boots without constant fear of serious injury. Many alpine ski boot manufacturers including Head, Garmont, Lange, Rossignol, Scarpa, and Tecnica have seen the light, replacing some of their slippery plastic soles with a grippy Vibram rubber product.
â€œTraditionally, plastic was the best solution for ski boots soles because it easily met binding release standards,â€ explained Vibram USA CEO and President Tony Post. â€œBut safety was sacrificed whenever skiers encountered slick conditions underfoot. Vibram met this challenge by designing rubber alpine ski boot soles that met DIN standards.â€
The advantages to rubber are several. First and foremost, it offers far greater slip resistance, reducing the risk of slips and falls that could result in serious injury. Secondly, unlike plastic, rubber does not break in low temperatures. Thirdly, rubber soles can be replaced, greatly extending the potential life of a ski boot. Finally from a marketing standpoint it offers a substantial point of differentiation in an extremely competitive market.
Garmont is featuring Vibram soles in all of its telemark boots â€“ seven in total. The two bestsellers, the Ener-G and the woman-specific Elektra are aggressive four buckle boots ideal for steeps, high speed freeriding, on-and off-piste, racing and ski mountaineering. Garmont is the only manufacturer to use Multi-Injection technology providing a natural flex for touring and telemarking and super torsional control for demanding downhills.
The Head Peak boot is ideal for freeskiers, all-terrain skiers, ski instructors, coaches or rescuers, and any skier seeking comfort and maximum performance on snow. A Vibram sole ensures maximum grip with every single step on any surface. At the same time, the boot works with any step-in binding on the market today.
One of the core features of the boot is the patented Flex Walking Sole: When walking, the front toe section of the boot allows a round and smooth â€œstrollâ€. But as soon as riders step back into the binding, its pressure locks the boot back into place, maintaining full torsional stiffness and thus making it ready to perform.
Bringing race technology to the rest of the best skiers on the hill and those who enjoy hiking to find â€œthe goodsâ€, the Lange Banshee Pro features the Vibram sole for exceptional grip as well as a revolutionary seamless liner system for genuine comfort and performance.
Three Rossignol styles boast a Vibram sole: the B-Squad 130 Carbon freeride boot; the B Pro Women professional women’s freeride boot and the SAS Pro 120 BC Composite, the first true professional backcountry freestyle boot; Vibram rubber soles provide better grip for hiking and smooth out vibrations while skiing. The soles on all are designed to work in both alpine and alpine touring bindings.
Scarpa’s freeride boots will feature the revolutionary VibramRide sole, the first TUV-certified (DIN standard) sole made out of rubber. It provides alpine security with the proven traction of rubber. Sole features include a tough rubber wing between the heel and toe, eliminating snow build-up and offering exceptional grip on any terrain; and an interchangeable lug sole for extra traction available as an accessory. The four models include two new boots for Fall 08: the Domina, a high performance freeride boot for women and the Typhoon, a no compromise freeride boot. Also brought forward for Fall 08 is the Hurricane and Tornado Pro.
Tecnica has also partnered with Vibram, adding a rubber sole to their revolutionary Agent AT boot. The Agent AT offers the perfect balance between alpine performance, and easy, comfortable touring features. Simple to use, lightweight and easy on /off combined with a VibramÂ® rockered sole and fully replaceable toe and heel lugs, the Agent AT enhances touring capabilites.
VibramÂ® is recognized worldwide as the leader in high performance soles for outdoor, recreational, work and fashion footwear and is relied on by the world’ s greatest climbers and athletes. VibramÂ® soles have set the standard since Vitale Bramani created mountaineering’s first rubber lugged sole in the late 1930’s. VibramÂ® soles have gone on to conquer Mt. Everest, K2 and a host of the world’s tallest peaks. Today, the company works with premium brands including Danner, La Sportiva, Lowa, Merrell, Red Wing, Scarpa, The North Face, Timberland, Vasque, Wolverine and many more. Vibram FiveFingers was named one of TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2007. For further information, visit www.vibram.com or www.vibramfivefingers.com.