Salt Lake City, Utah. In the middle of Outdoor Retailer’s crowded convention center floor, bricks of ice slowly melt. The main attraction in sole purveyor Vibram’s booth: a slick catwalk of sloping ice, straddled by handrails just in case passersby decide to try out their own shoes before slipping into a shoe outfitted with Vibram’s Arctic Grip soles (new for September, 2016).
Specks of recycled yellow rubber distinguish Arctic Grip from the rest of the Vibram perambulatory portfolio. According to today’s Vibram Press Release, new shoes will sport “designated lugs with Arctic Grip sole technology that grips slick wet ice, as well as thermochromatic lugs, which sense when the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and change color in cold conditions.” By utilizing Arctic Grip along with other proven compounds, Vibram can tailor soles to match different activities—from running shoes to casual winter boots.
Does all this sound like a gimmick? Well, it’s far from it. Spend some time in the Vibram booth watching the icy demonstration and the difference is painfully palpable. Those who take to the ice without Vibram’s Arctic Grip flail and falter, while Vibram employees and those brave souls ready to test the new product scamper across the slick, wet ice as though it were a sandpaper sidewalk.
This breakthrough will be seen across six brands in September: Merrell, Sperry, Hush Puppies, Saucony, Wolverine and Cat Footwear. Whether you’re looking for more traction on your way to work or tired of relying on metal studded winter running shoes, Vibram’s Arctic Grip soles are worth testing in 2016.