Vibram FiveFingers® - The story behind the legend
For more than 75 years Vibram has maintained its position as the world leader in manufacturing high-performance rubber soles, specifically designed for a host of outdoor activities, as well as in the training and orthopedic markets. The unmistakable yellow octagon, that identifies the brand, is known all around the globe as the symbol of a company, which is synonymous with quality, performance, safety, innovation and design.
Vitale Bramani, a member of the Italian Alpine Club, had the idea of using the same technique as developed by Pirelli, the car-tyre manufacturer, for shoes. Initially applying rubber under his mountaineering boots, Bramani created the first pair of climbing boots with a sole made of vulcanized rubber, which in turn led to the development of a sole, which ultimately revolutionized the world of mountaineering.
By developing this experience and unique know-how, the company became the undisputed leaders of technologically-developed soles for a wide range of shoes, which not only offered durability and high performance, the shoes because of their soles afforded the wearer the maximum level of comfort and quality as well.
This success of the product is firmly fixated around the rigorous product and material testing which, is carried out in the company’s laboratory and the Vibram®Tester Team ground.
The second great innovation for the company, following on from Bramani’s mountaineering boot revolution, the Vibram FiveFingers®, was the direct result of the company’s constant commitment to research and development of innovative solutions.
It was 2001 when industrial designer Robert Fliri first mooted the idea of the Vibram FiveFingers® to Marco Bramani, grandson of Vibram® founder Vitale Bramani.
Marco immediately embraced the concept and in 2004 the first patent was filed. From Fliri’s original concept, a collection of shoes especially developed and created to be worn barefoot, were brought to life. The new product was simply known as Vibram FiveFingers®.
This new minimalist footwear was directly inspired by the pleasure of walking around barefoot
The main characteristic of this extraordinary shoe is its sole, which incorporates five individual fingers, made from Vibram® rubber, which being as flexible as an actual glove, helps the natural articulation of the foot, whilst at the same time stimulating the muscles of the lower limbs.
One of the most innovative areas in Vibram® is their Performance Testing Centre. The Centre occupies a 1,200 square metre area, distributed over two floors in the factory, which is entirely dedicated to just testing.
Here all Vibram® products, including the new Vibram® FiveFingers® are thoroughly and stringently tested to guarantee their quality under both laboratory as well as “live” test conditions.
The equipment within the Performing Test Centre, allows the shoes to be thoroughly tested under all different weather conditions - snow, water, asphalt, smooth terrain, as well as rough, rocky and uneven surfaces. The end result is a product which marries great technological advancements with true innovation which in turn combine to create a truly exclusive product, unique in its genre.