People who don’t often venture outdoors during Winter often fear two primary things. First is getting cold, a fear I to which I can certianly relate. The second is the threat of slipping and falling on ice, a fear that a new sole technology called Vibram Arctic Grip hopes to tackle in its own right.
We certainly get snow here in the Pacific Northwest, but it seems like every cold snap ends in inches-thick freezing rain. If you’ve not experienced that in your neck of the woods, imagine walking on an ice cube whose top is bumpy and irregular rather than nice and flat. In a word, it can be both scary and dangerous to walk on.
So naturally my ears perked up when the new Vibram Arctic Grip was announced as coming to several shoe brands in Fall 2016.
Vibram Arctic Grip is billed as “the most advanced cold-weather gripping system Vibram has ever created.” For a company that’s done this for a few years, that’s saying something. Not every shoe or boot company will get Vibram Arctic Grip this year; it will launch on six Wolverine brands only. After 2016 we’ll hope to see it on more hiking boots and cold-weather shoes, but for this upcoming year you can find it on shoes from Merrell, Sperry, Hush Puppies, Wolverine, Saucony, Wolverine and Cat Footwear.
The specific boots with Vibram Arctic Grip next fall will be: Merrell Moab FST Ice+ Thermo Waterproof (the big one shown above), Sperry Cold Bay Ice+, Hush Puppies Parkview Ice+, Saucony Razor Ice+, Wolverine Crossbuck FX Ice+ (shown top right above), and the CAT Footwear Stiction HI WP Ice+ (shown bottom right above).
So what’s the secret sauce? Vibram Arctic Grip gets sticker/grippier as the temperature drops, meaning it actually increases your boots’ traction in icy conditions. I don’t know how exactly it works, but surely there’s an ice castle and fairies with pixie dust involved.
The Vibram Arctic Grip doesn’t cover the entire bottom of each boot. Rather, the boots listed above will each feature designated lugs with Arctic Grip technology for improved grip, as well as lugs that change color when the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The latter feature is primarily a visual cue alerting you to be careful — and rest assured that your boots are entering superhero mode.