31 — Vibram
Down side up
The company was founded in 1939 by the mountaineer Vitale Bramante. After a climbing accident, he set about inventing a more reliable boot sole that would guarantee outstanding traction. He named it “Carrarmato” (tank). His intuition was to adopt rubber, an innovative material at the time, as a marked improvement on the traditional hobnailed leather soles of the mountain boots used previously. Vibram today is the internationally acclaimed model for the production of rubber lug soles, by now an essential feature of globally renowned footwear like Merrel, Visvim, ROA and Woolrich. In its more recent history, Vibram reversed the concept of a previously hidden component and turned it instead into an eye-catching part of the shoe, as in the rubber exoskeleton on the multi-award winning Vibram Furoshiki or on the Vibram FiveFingers.