The ribbon cutting ceremony at 292 Newbury Street took place on Saturday, April 14.
“For the first time we will provide our customers with a hands-on brand experience that educates them on the world of Vibram, our partners and our products,” explained Tony Post, president and CEO of Vibram, USA.
Headquartered in northern Italy with U.S. offices based in Concord, Mass., Vibram is globally renowned for their high performance rubber soles which are utilized by the best brands in the outdoor, work, fashion and athletic markets. In 2006, Vibram introduced its first finished product: Vibram FiveFingers, a revolutionary and patented glove-styled shoe.“About 10 years ago, a graduate of industrial design named Robert Fliri came to us with the idea for the shoe and we embraced the cause,” said Giuseppe Grandinetti, International Relations manager for Vibram. “It also helped that the founder of the company, Vitale Bramani, had recorded in his diary that he wished to have the feeling of walking barefoot once having climbed a mountain.”
The Vibram name is an acronym of the founder’s names. Started in 1937, the Italian brand has expanded from its Milan headquarters, with its U.S. offices in Concord and a testing and research facility recently opened in Guangzho, China.
Although the company’s core business remains the production of rubber soles for dozens of shoe companies worldwide, the Boston store will offer customers a wide variety of FiveFingers. The space will offer select models of Vibram FiveFingers as well as a few models only sold in Europe.
“We consider this more of a brand interaction than a store,” explained Post. “We want visitors to experience Vibram in an unconventional way. Every office employee will have the opportunity to work in this space in order to collect valuable feedback from our consumers on a daily basis.”“The idea of having a store here was thought about for quite some time,” said General Manager Adriano Zuccala. “We only have one other store in the world — in Milan, which has been there for about four years. The idea of the store goes beyond just having a place where to buy shoes. It is a sensorial museum, where one can live the Vibram experience.”
In 2007, Time magazine named Vibram FiveFingers one of the best inventions of 2007 in the category of health. Today, the company works with premium brands including Danner, La Sportiva, Lowa, Merrell, Red Wing, Scarpa, The North Face, Timberland, Vasque, Wolverine and many more.
“I love these shoes,” said Jim Carter, a resident of Las Vegas who was in town for the Boston marathon.“I have had 12 pairs, nine of which I have run through.” Carter has run ten marathons over the past year, all with Vibram FiveFingers.
“The concept of running barefoot made a lot of sense to me, so I decided to try them out,” he said. “I have run with them since. I ran the Los Angeles marathon twice, and my time went from 3:34 hours to 3:11 hours with these shoes. My arches have come back and I never feel any pain.”