What's So Special About Vibram® Soles?
Shoe Care Tips

What's So Special About Vibram® Soles?

Vibram® shoe soles are widely used in the shoe industry because of their reputation for quality, durability, comfort and traction. The majority of Samuel Hubbard shoes are constructed with Vibram® soles to make them as comfortable as possible. So you can chase your goals all day long, every day.

dressfast dress shoe vibram sole

DressFast is one of Samuel Hubbard's many styles that features a Vibram® sole. Get your pair here.

What Is A Vibram® Sole?

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 that time typically had felt soles which did a poor job of insulating the hikers’ feet, and provided very little traction or warmth in freezing conditions. Bramani set out to create soles that would save and transform lives, soles that could survive the elements.

Working with Leopoldo Pirelli (of the Pirelli tire company), Bramani developed boots that had two key advantages:

  • The soles were made from vulcanized rubber, which is a much better insulator than felt.
  • The boots had much better traction due to a lugged tread pattern called “Carrarmato” (loosely translated from Italian: “tank tread”).

The combination of better insulation and better traction led to safer hiking expeditions and fewer cases of frostbite, hypothermia and exposure. Vitale Bramani founded the Vibram® sole company, the name a combination of his first and last names (Vi-Bram).

Vibram® Benefits

Today, Vibram® offers many varieties of soles, known for their consistent quality of traction, durability and comfort. The majority of Samuel Hubbard shoes use Vibram® soles, and we carefully select which Vibram® sole to use based on the design and intended use of each shoe. We know that Hubbards need to be able to withstand tough terrain and intense use, so we design them to be ready for the elements.

Tread & Traction

Despite being more than 80 years old, the original Carrarmato lugged tread pattern is still one of the best tread patterns for hiking and use in slippery conditions. You can find it on the majority of Samuel Hubbard’s boots including the Snow Lodge, Mt. Tam and Uptown Maverick.

Recognizing that the Carrarmato design is overkill for non-hiking use, Vibram® offers other tread patterns to work in less demanding conditions, like the EVA outsole used on the majority of Samuel Hubbard’s casual and dress shoes. These soles still provide incredible traction, support, and comfort. Even when you are sailing for the weekend or leading a business meeting, we know that you want to be ready for anything that the day could throw at you.

The tread and rubber compound used on each type of sole is customized to provide the right combination of grip and longevity. We never look for the cheapest or easiest way to do something, we only look for the best way. This standard also applies to the soles of our shoes.


Samuel Hubbard’s first priority has always been to make comfortable shoes. It’s an area where we refuse to compromise, and a shoe’s outsole is directly tied to how comfortable the shoe will be on your feet. Samuel Hubbard chooses Vibram® soles for the majority of our shoes because they offer a light and springy outsole that pairs well with our comfort-first philosophy. When you’re comfortable you can go further on every adventure.

In technical terms, Samuel Hubbard shoes use an EVA-based rubber sole. EVA stands for ethylene-vinyl acetate, which is a type of foam. Vibram’s® unique compound blends foam and rubber to create an outsole that has the best traits of both materials — the softness and springiness of foam, and the durability and traction of rubber.


Traction and durability typically work against each other. A softer rubber will offer better traction, but wear faster, while a harder rubber will last longer, but have less traction. It’s a trade-off that sole manufacturers are often forced to make.

Vibram’s® unique compounds blend rubber and other materials (like the aforementioned EVA) to strike a great balance between durability and traction. As a manufacturer of premium shoes, we not only want our shoes to be comfortable, we want them to last a long time.


When Vibram® soles do eventually wear out, they’re readily available to resolers, who can replace the outsole and add more years to the shoes. The majority of Samuel Hubbard shoes can be resoled with a new Vibram® outsole through our partner, Tony's Shoe Service. Give your favorite pair of shoes new life for all of the steps ahead.

Shop Vibram® Sole Shoes From Samuel Hubbard

Browse our selection of shoes with Vibram® soles to find the right pair of shoes to fit your unique style and needs.