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Alternatives to Vibram Boot Soles?

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Alternatives to Vibram Boot Soles?

Postby Big Benn » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:14 am

This must have come up here before, but I am hopeless with the search function. :oops: :oops:

I have just three pairs of Scarpa Manta boots for all my walking. They give fabulous support and when worn in become incredibly comfortable.

But they only seem to come with Vibram Soles. Great on dry rocks, and on ice when wearing crampons! But very slippery on wet rock and ice. Especially as my walking style is best described as like an out of control elephant.

One of my pairs of Mantas is due for repair and re-soling.

Can anyone suggest a sole that I can try and get fitted that will handle wet rock etc a lot better than Vibram? With three pairs I can cope with less of a sole life: more security underfoot would be a decent trade off against longevity of the sole on just one out of my three pairs of Mantas.
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Postby MoapaPk » Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:54 pm

Vibram does make stickier rubber soles -- not as sticky as stealth rubber, but better than the simple high-C rubber.

Even sticky rubber gets fairly inert when cold.

I can't really interpret the vibram site lingo, but look here to start:
http://www.vibram.com/index.php/us/B2B/ ... /Compounds
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Postby MoapaPk » Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:28 pm

One new Vibram sticky rubber is called IdroGrip, at least at one level of PR:

http://www.snewsnet.com/cgi-bin/snews/12717.html
I had some shoes with this stuff in the sole, and it just wasn't as sticky as stealth rubber, but was better than plain old vanilla Vibram.

Also check
http://www.spadout.com/r/climbing-rubber-test/

Most really sticky rubbers are available only in thin soles as would be on approach or rock shoes; but I've seen Vibram XSV on alpine-type boots. I guess it depends on whether your cobbler can get and work with those soles.
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Postby nhluhr » Tue Jan 12, 2010 6:53 pm

Grip on wet surfaces is as much a question of tread geometry as it is compound... And Vibram offers huge numbers of both.
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Postby MoapaPk » Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:15 pm

Beating a dead horse: One can get replacement IdroGrip soles:
http://www.trailspace.com/blog/2009/02/ ... twear.html

...but they don't seem to have a very deep pattern. These soles are used to resole waders (for traveling on slippery rocks in streams).
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Postby sneakyracer » Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:48 am

I have had mixed results with vibram. Like someone said, some vibram soles have soft/grippy rubber and others hard and slick rubber. Most boots designed for backpacking and mountaineering have the hard variety designed to be stiff and last a long time but are slick and some are downright dangerous on smooth surfaces. Basically some rely on the tread pattern to hold but if you step on a large smooth and wet / humid surface say bye bye since the tread edges dont have anything to hold. Some boos have Vibram soles that kind of fall in the middle.

As an example my Vasque Zephyr II backpacking boots have a really nice tread on the Vibram soles but the rubber is somewhat hard but I guess not too bad. In contrast my Scarpa Zen approach shoes have Vibram soles also, but the rubber is much much stickier even though the tread is simpler / less aggressive and even smooth in the toe area for climbing. I can feel the difference when walking about on smooth surfaces, the Zen just stick a LOT more and feel more secure.

I guess hard rubber and more aggressive treads are better for soft trails, the soft rubber IMHO is great for rock (but still has to be durable or the rock will chew it up in no time), add a decent tread to a med/soft rubber sole and you have a great shoe for a wide variety of conditions.
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Postby Big Benn » Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:26 am

Do keep the thoughts coming in guys and girls if you can. I'm a bit busy today doing some work for a club, but I will follow up those links later on today.

I use a top quality company in the UK to resole and repair my Mantas already, and I feel reasonably confident that if I can give them a route to follow with my next re-sole, they will go down it for me.

Funny thing today though. It's snowing again here in SE UK. I shall walk out later up to the "Village". And unless the snow is deep enough to be firm and crunchy, (Mantas are fine in that), I'll be wearing my day to day normal shoes as they have far better grip on the thin lying snow and patchy ice around here!
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