You’ve Been Walking on These Outsoles for 80 Years

Chippewa Whirlwind PT boot Vibram Carrarmato
The men's Chippewa Whirlwind PT boot with Vibram Carrarmato outsole.
Peter Verry.

You may not be aware of this, or even think of the bottom of your shoes when you lace up, but some of your boots have used the same outsole for 80 years.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Vibram Carrarmato sole. The component was developed, according to the brand, after six friends of company founder Vitale Bramani died in an accident in the Italian Alps in 1935. The mountaineers’ poor footwear was problematic on the trek, resulting in Bramani’s development of the Carrarmato climbing sole (which, translated to English, means tank tread). It was built with vulcanized rubber lugs and a new tread design.

That tread pattern, if you flip your Carrarmato-assisted boots over to take a look, is instantly recognizable; not only is it still used for functional purposes in the work and outdoor spaces, but it’s also a staple in fashion.

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Chippewa Whirlwind PT boot Vibram Carrarmato The Vibram Carrarmato outsole-assisted Chippewa Whirlwind PT boot for men. Peter Verry.

For 2017, brands such as Chippewa, Danner, Eddie Bauer, Frye, Red Wing, Timberland and more will incorporate the iconic Carrarmato outsole for several releases.

Also to celebrate its 80th year with the outsole, Vibram will sell select Carrarmato-featured footwear styles at its store on Newbury Street in Boston, and online at vibram.com. Boots available via vibram.com now include the Eddie Bauer Classic K-6 for men ($180) and women ($180), the Chippewa Whirlwind PT ($299.95), the Danner Rain Forrest 8-Inch ($380) and the Danner Mountain Light II 5-Inch ($380).

Vibram will also offer Carrarmato designs through its Sole Factor program and Footwear Customization Lab throughout the year.