Vibram Sole Guide: Sole Searching

Anyone who has experienced walking in extreme conditions will readily testify as to how important having the appropriate equipment is and how investing in high-quality gear can improve your experience as well as keep you safe. It is this factor that first inspired Vitali Bramani to create his Vibram sole.

Most Iconic Sole on Earth

Vibram’s Carramato sole has been dubbed “the most iconic sole on earth” as it is the first shoe sole ever created with rubber lug soles. Taking its name from the Italian word for “tank tread” it works on a similar premise that through its firm indentations, grip is created. These soles are known for being versatile with their all-in-one sole technology and are designed to give excellent traction across a range of surfaces – from hard-packed snow and forest floors to bare rock and loose rubble terrains. They come with a high degree of abrasion resistance, as shoes are no good if they damage your feet.


In 1954, Vibram equipped the first successful climbing team to conquer K2 (the world’s second-highest mountain) with their walking boots. These specialist shoes and soles were designed to tackle each leg of the expedition with their separate needs, cementing Vibram’s place as an industry frontrunner for activewear shoe soles of the highest quality.

Are Vibram Soles Slip Resistant

Vibram soles are world-famous for being of the highest quality. Creating durable, versatile and comfortable soles is their main focus and they have a long history of making them.

One quick glance at Vibram features compared to any other rubber-soled competitor and you will see the unique variation and complexity of Vibram soles. Lightweight, super gripping and super longlasting, the water-resistant soles will prevent your feet from getting wet and sore, and the shoes from becoming damaged so quickly.

Can you Resole Vibram Shoes?

Vibram Shoes can be re-soled but it might be a little trickier than re-soling your average shoe.

To obtain an authentic and legitimate Vibram sole, Vibram now have a list of Vibram certified cobblers on their website that allows customers to find their nearest approved cobbler to resole their shoes and make them as good as new.

How Long will Vibram Soles Last?

The durability of any product varies from person to person, depending on how often you use the item, in what contexts and in what conditions.

Vibram soles, however, are hailed for their durability, as we have already mentioned, and have lasted for as long as 15 years for some customers. If you are a frequent hiker and explore every weekend in your shoes then they will absolutely last longer than one year, meaning you won’t need to buy a new pair for a good few years. A worthy investment.

Vibram have a global Tester Team that put their products to the… well, test, in the most extreme conditions. This group of athletes and enthusiasts provide truthful and valuable insight into how performance can benefit from different sole techniques, keeping Vibram up-to-date and in the lead when it comes to sole development.

In comparison to leather walking boots, Vibram has the upper hand in regards to durability. Leather absorbs water while Vibram’s rubber soles are water-resistant, which will keep your feet from getting wet and prevent water damage. Rubber is more flexible than leather, meaning your Vibram soles will take less time to break in and prevent the need for blister plasters.


Vibram footwear is specifically created to repel water in order to keep your feet and socks dry while tackling the elements. There are a variety of characteristics that Vibram employ to achieve this goal, depending on what products you look at.

Vibrams boots can also come with a HydroGuard waterproof system, which paired with a durable mudguard and protection around the top of the shoe, makes them perfect for regular outdoor use. The HydroGuard waterproof membrane allows the body’s water vapour to pass freely, reducing the condensation inside the shoe, while preventing rain and snow from penetrating the boot.

What Are Vibram Shoes Best For?

Walking and Hiking

Vibram soles are all designed to prepare your feet for a range of terrain whether you are out for a stroll, hike or a ramble. Many features contribute to their effectiveness including ankle supports that will protect you from injury and debris, reinforced toe protection and metal shanks to keep your boot’s shape on uneven ground and to provide effective protection and comfort.

Vibram walking boots have sturdy soles made from varying materials to balance robust grip and comfort allowing you to keep moving throughout the day. Their cushioned sole ensures comfort after hours of walking and the softshell fabric keeps the boots lightweight and flexible.

Featuring gusseted tongues and waterproof membranes, Vibram walking boots will keep moisture locked out while encouraging breathability, meaning your feet will stay fresh come rain or shine. The strong and durable materials used in the upper section of the boots means the boots are long-lasting, fit for purpose and are a must-have addition to your walking equipment.

Visit our website and check out our extensive Vibram boot range.


A selection of our running shoes come with a Vibram rubber sole, and are great at allowing you to maintain grip and stability on tough terrain whilst maintaining its durability.

Their linings are waterproof and breathable, which keep your feet feeling fresh, dry and prevented from overheating. The lightweight material allows you to get the most out of your run and improve upon your times without feeling the strain of a heavier and bulkier shoe.


Many weightlifters recommend using a flat sole to prevent any power being lost through the cushion of a shoe. Others recommend going completely barefoot – but in a gym environment, this option can be rather unhygienic. Vibram’s FiveFingers footwear creates the best of both worlds, allowing you to get as flat to the ground as possible, as well as giving you a more fine-tuned control over your balance. You can push down through your toes and feel out any instabilities that would contribute towards bad form. The FiveFingers shoe can also help you to recognise and activate the proper muscles for each exercise which optimises your performance and can prevent injuries in the long run.


Vibram offer a range of climbing boots with special features to provide maximum sensitivity, allowing your feet to function naturally and allow for complete freedom of movement. The materials used are designed to help maintain the shoe’s original shape whilst guaranteeing maximum grip and abrasion resistance. The downward sole reduces the distance between your feet and the rock’s surface, to help increase the sensitivity of your foot and keep you in control. Vibram seek to create equipment that provides a more natural experience for climbers and their climbing footwear range is designed to achieve just that.

Yoga and Pilates

Vibram has developed a variation of their FiveFingers footwear specifically for yoga and pilates. The sole used is thinner than usual to keep your feet protected whilst allowing for optimum flexibility and a range of motion. The flat sole also helps to align your posture and puts less stress on your body. Your muscles are stimulated, your body awareness enhanced and your senses are aroused allowing for a safer, more intense workout experience.

Fitness studios experience a lot of intensity throughout the day so Vibram looks to give your feet a hygienic alternative to going barefoot without affecting your performance. These soles also create their own traction on a variety of surfaces which is perfect for busy days when you may have forgotten, or can’t be bothering collecting, your yoga mat. This way you always have the option of practising, no matter where you happen to be.

Can you wash Vibram shoes?

Though Vibram soles come with mud clearing channels as well as mudguards, we recommend giving your soles a clean after any outdoor activity to ensure your grip doesn’t become hindered by excessive dirt in the creases.

Luckily for you, Vibram soles are machine washable! Use a gentle warm cycle with any liquid or powdered detergent you have. However, with heavier walking boots you may not want to risk damaging your machine – or you may not even have one – so we would recommend using warm water with liquid detergent and give them a gentle scrub. Toothbrushes are a great tool for getting into those cracks!

Once clean you can simply hang them out to air dry but make sure to keep any leather boots out of direct sunlight and away from any heat source while drying as leather can shrink. To speed up the drying process of your boots you can stuff newspaper inside to absorb any excess moisture.

You may want to consider applying conditioning or waterproofing treatments to your boots after excessive washes. You can read guides on how to use Dubbin for boots and shoes and waterproofing fabric walking boots, and put this insider knowledge to good use.

What Are Vibram FiveFingers?

Vibram’s FiveFingers are a barefoot-style running shoe in a variety of designs to suit other activities, including yoga, weightlifting and outdoor swimming.

FiveFingers enable athletes to experience the sensation and freedom of going barefoot with the added protection, traction, dexterity, and control of a Vibram sole. They allow the wearer to feel more connected to the earth and more in tune with their bodies whilst experiencing other benefits such as improved form, posture, increased balance and greater agility.

Born Through Tragedy

Two years before the launch of his innovation, Bramani lost six of his companions in a tragic accident during a mountain climb. It is said that he lay much of the blame for this tragedy on their poor equipment – particularly their footwear – and its inability to adapt to and protect them from the changing and challenging weather on the mountain. Taking the first few letters from his first and surname, Vitali Bramani launched his first Vibram sole in 1937. These soles were created for suitable use on a variety of surfaces while remaining functional, long-lasting and protective of feet. Since then, Vibram has continued to grow in size as a brand and its reputation has risen with it.