South African footwear brand Olympic International will this year become the first local brand to manufacturer its shoes using the Vibram outsoles, which are known for their excellent traction.
Olympic International falls under the Bolton Footwear umbrella, and was originally inspired by South Africa's two biggest sports, football and rugby. The brand has since expanded into various other sporting disciplines.
Commenting on the news, Bolton Footwear product development manager Gordon Gassert says, "It’s a massive opportunity for Bolton Footwear and Olympic International to show the rest of the country and international players what we’re capable of and that international suppliers such as Vibram are happy to work with us."
Origin of Vibram
Vibram soles were invented in 1935 by Vitale Bramani after six of his friends tragically passed away on a hiking expedition in the Italian Alps. The boots used at the time did not have the technical features or provided hikers with the necessary traction they needed.
“Bramani set out to create soles that would save and transform lives, soles that could survive the elements. Vibram soles are the first ever created with a rubber lug sole. It takes its name from the Italian word ‘tank tread’ as both work on a similar mechanism where, through its firm indentations, the grip is created. The soles are widely used in the shoe industry due to its reputation for quality, durability, comfort and traction,” explains Gassert.
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New outdoor styles
Olympic International will introduce two pairs of outdoor styles to its range, which will boast the locally manufactured Vibram soles. “The soles have a number of chemicals that allow you to add what is needed to suit the conditions in which the product will be worn. The particular compound we’re using is called Mega-Grip, which offers unparalleled grip on wet and dry surfaces, whilst maintaining a high level of durability. We’ll carry this same sole over to our other ranges,” says Gassert.
“Olympic International continues to be a passionate supporter of our sporting culture and believes in local development and growth. We chose to develop and manufacture our own shoes using Vibram soles since all products using these soles are imported. We want to show the local and international market that we’re capable of producing excellent products at affordable prices using a quality product such as Vibram. Olympic International is the perfect vehicle to showcase the product as it’s the original South African sports brand,” he concludes.