Two cobblers in a custom-fitted RV are touring the West Coast, resoling shoes with any of Vibram’s 30-plus sole designs.
Gino Conti and Refugio Contreras-Dominguez are Vibram’s veteran cobblers. Send in your broken shoes, and they wind up in the hands of these two. They fix tears, replace soles, and polish any shoe that crosses their path. Now, their reach spreads further with the Sole Factor Tour.
This summer, the cobblers leave the confines of their shoe-repair shops in Warwick, N.Y., for the road. On the Sole Factor Tour, the two will operate in a mobile-cobbler factory.
Vibram picked up an RV and customized it with all the equipment needed to perform repairs. Sanding booths, glue stations, and inventory of all available Vibram soles fit inside.
Service takes about four hours and your first two sole upgrades are free! While free, Vibram asks for a $20 donation to Big City Mountaineers. Any soles after are $50.
So upgrade your high heels, dirty work boots, or street running shoes, it does not matter: Vibram won’t discriminate with repairs.
I got a hands-on experience with the RV, and put the cobblers to work. Vibram outfitted my Keens with a new camo Carrarmato sole.
Shoe Repair: Vibram ‘Sole Factor’ Tour
While in Portland for the Struktur Design conference, I toured the RV, met the cobblers, and got my shoes repaired.
The process is simple: Bring your shoes to the RV, pick out a sole from Vibram’s catalog, and let the cobblers do the rest.
In addition to fixing up shoes, the tour wants to spread the message of shoe repair. Frequently, when shoes wear down, tear, or break, they’re thrown in the trash. Vibram sees repair as an option people need to know about.
Through repair, people consume less and increase the lifespan of their shoes. Plus, you can trick out your kicks with some colorful, and functional soles!
Vibram And Big City Mountaineers
Along with the event series, Vibram introduced the Blue Carrarmato sole. It celebrates two things: the 80th anniversary of its proprietary and still popular sole, and its partnership with Big City Mountaineers (BCM). The two brands will help promote BCM’s mission to get more at-risk and low-income youth into the outdoors by sponsoring guided summit tours for adults throughout the year.
For the 2017/2018 expeditions, Vibram will resole all of BCM’s guides’ shoes for free, converting the troop into a blue-footed team. Also, the BCM Blue Carrarmato sole is free for anyone to get on their shoes.
Why the color? First, it is consistent with BCM’s branding. But the color also acts as a conversation starter. The eye-catching blue is sure to draw attention from trail-goers and open room for people to learn more about the urban, underprivileged youth engagement BCM promotes.
Vibram Sole Factor Tour Dates
The next tour stops for the resole RV are the Filmed By Bike festival in Portland, May 5-7, the Outfound festival in Hood River Ore., June 9-11, the SSIA Shoe Repair convention in Long Beach, CA., July 22-23.
Vibram is still setting up a full schedule for the Sole Factor Tour, so check the program page for updates. We’ll add more tour stops as they become available.
If you can’t make a tour date, you can still send in your shoes to Vibram. Don’t worry, Gino and Refugio will give you the same love and care as they will in the RV.