Vail Today: Tread confidently on ice with Vibram’s Arctic Grip soles (video)
Editor’s note: This is part one of a six-part series on the latest and greatest finds at the Outdoor Retailer and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show held in Denver in January. This trade show represents suppliers of consumer outdoor sports with constituents in the retailer, rep and resort communities.
Outdoor Retailer teamed up with the Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show to bring in over 1,000 brands and 11,000 retailers to see the latest and greatest for getting outdoors in the winter. I’ve been to many of these trade shows and I have to say the Arctic Grip, the most advanced cold weather gripping system ever created by Vibram, was the show stopper.
Arctic Grip, or AG, utilizes innovative technology specifically engineered and designed to perform on wet ice. A unique polymer blend coupled with an advanced filler system and a new processing technique, allows this sole to be engineered for low temperature use. “A thermochromatic lug on each sole which turns white to blue as the temperature nears zero degrees Celsius serves as an indicator to let the wearer know the temperature is low enough for ice formulation”, said Allon Cohne, chief marketing officer for Vibram corporation, which has been making soles and shoes since 1937.
But enough of the technical stuff, seeing is believing, or should I say walking is believing. Vibram had an ice ramp where you could put on a pair of shoes with their Arctic Grip sole and try it for yourself. It turned doubters into believers. “People love this product,” Cohne said. “We actually made two videos at two different demo locations where they all say the same thing: ‘it’s amazing!’, ‘wow!’, ‘no way!’ I was great to see people’s reactions after trying them out on the ice ramp,” Cohne said.
This technology is gaining the attention of various big-name brands, like L.L. Bean, Ugg and Sperry, to name a few. “Most brands are saying they should have bought more because it’s sells really well. All the brands who’ve adopted AG end up planning major marketing stories around the product since the consumer interaction is so compelling,” said Cohne.
Although Vibram is not new to the Outdoor Retailer show, this was the first time Vibram was involved with SIA. Now they are talking to ski and snowboard boot companies to possibly add Arctic Grip to their soles.
“We like to say Vibram Acrtic Grip is for winter, and anyone who’s ever slipped on ice. It’s not an absolute technology that will prevent people from slipping, but it’s ideal for treading with confidence in the winter, and not having to use interchangeable components when traveling inside and out,” Cohne said. “It’s a great technology for everyone who wants extra, added support for winter walking, hiking or running.”
They best way to experience the AG difference is to find them on their 2018 sole factor tour in 2018. Also, if you google “Vibram Arctic Grip” or search on Youtube you’ll see many reviews and videos that speak for themselves.
The acquisition extends a strategy of buying ski areas near big cities, with the hopes that local skiers will buy Epic Passes and visit the company’s owned and partner resorts across the country and world.