9 Best Vibram Boots: Oh Sweet Rubber Sole

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William Barton Avatar by  William Barton | Last Updated:  Feb 01, 2021

All this hoopla for a rubber sole? What’s so special? We break down the best Vibram soled boots so you can pick one up for yourself and learn why Vibram has become synonymous with quality.

Our Top Pick
  • Vibram 430 mini lug sole
  • 270-degree Goodyear welted boot
  • Full grain leather with triple-stitched construction
Best Vibram Arctic Grip
  • Full Vibram Arctic Grip sole
  • Shearling lined for extra warmth and comfort through the cold seasons
  • Best grip of any boot we’ve tried
Best Vibram Heavy Lug Sole
  • Vibram Carrarmato sole
  • Beautiful Horween Chromexcel leather
  • Excellent durability and easy break-in
Best Vibram Combat Boot
  • Vibram All Terrain sole
  • Boot of choice for the US Marine Corps
  • Fully waterproof
Best Vibram Christy Wedge
  • Vibram Christy sole
  • Iconic silhouette available in six color options
  • Super comfortable on concrete
Best Vibram Non-Slip
  • Vibram Supersafety (hard) sole
  • Goodyear welt with a steel shank
  • Composite toe available
Best Vibram Hiking
  • Vibram 460 Megagrip sole
  • Our top hiking boots
  • Excellent for folks with plantar fasciitis
Best Vibram Cowboy
  • Custom Vibram sole similar to 1276 Sierra
  • 11-inch shaft pull on boot
  • Ultra-lightweight padded insole for extra comfort
Best Vibram Ripple Sole
  • Vibram Gloxi Cut Ripple sole
  • 360-degree Goodyear welt
  • EEE widths available

Since 1937, Vibram has built a reputation for some of the best soles in the boot industry. 

How many other outsole brands can you name? Maybe one or two others—and that’s if you know your way around a pair of boots. 

To celebrate the soles that many of our favorite boots in the world are made with, we put together a list of the best Vibram boots on the market today. 

How Did We Come Up With Our List?

Either we’ve worn them ourselves, or we’ve heard nothing but good things: that’s how we determine what makes it to our list. 

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We depend on personal experience first and foremost, extensive research through forums, and hours of digging through reviews through the web. 

9 Best Vibram Boots

Our Favorite Vibram Sole Boot: Red Wing Iron Ranger

The Red Wing Iron Ranger is decked out with Vibram’s 430 mini-lug oil resistant sole, and this boot is a beast. 

Red Wing Iron Ranger vibram sole walking down stairs

It’s an excellent balance between rugged workwear and street style, and the Iron Ranger is beloved by construction workers and hipsters alike because of its iconic silhouette. 

Red Wing Iron Ranger on model walking down rusted steps

When I reviewed the Red Wing Iron Ranger, I was impressed at how sturdy the construction is. The sole is durable and the 270-degree Goodyear welt keeps this bad boy water resistant and easy to maintain.

What I Like

  • The 430 mini lug sole offers a lot of grip, but keeps a low profile. 

  • 270-degree Goodyear welt has a lot of water resistance and is easy to resole.

  • The full grain leather is beautiful and patinas well.

What I Don’t Like

  • It has a difficult break in period. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers on Amazon rate the Iron Ranger at around a 4.5 out of 5 with over 1,000 reviews. If you take a look through the YouTube comments we get on the BootSpy channel, you’ll see dozens of people who own three or four pairs of Iron Rangers—that’s how much of a following these boots have.

The Verdict

For the best blend of value, durability, traction, and style, check out the Red Wing Iron Ranger. It quickly became my favorite boot after picking up my first pair six months ago. 

The Vibram 430 mini lug sole offers a lot of stability and grip, but has a nice, low profile. As a bonus, because this sole is two separate parts (the heel and the sole), it’s cheaper to replace.


Best Vibram Arctic Grip: Ross & Snow Kenneth

2.
Ross & Snow Kenneth

The Ross & Snow Kenneth is my favorite Vibram Arctic Grip sole boot. It has the look of a classic pull-on boot, but the sole is a beast and the shearling lining keeps your foot warm, even in negative temperatures.

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Ross & Snow isn’t a huge brand, but they make one of the most stylish winter boots I’ve seen. The Kenneth is decked out with a Vibram Arctic Grip sole, which has enough traction to sprint across an ice skating rink. 

Seriously, the Arctic Grip sole is amazing. If you’re in a cold, often icy area, this Vibram outsole can save you from painful tumbles. 

The Kenneth is lined with Irish shearling, so it’s also really well insulated against the cold. Either leave the Italian leather insoles as they are, or add Ross & Snow’s complementary shearling insoles for the full insulated experience.

What I Like

  • It’s one of the few boots that are built for heavy snow and ice, but still look classic and stylish.

  • The shearling lining offers tremendous insulation and warmth when the temperature is below freezing.

  • It’s storm-welted and weather resistant—the leather is treated with a coat water-repellant already.

What I Don’t Like

  • The Kenneth only comes in brown—it’s a handsome look, but you’re out of luck if you want black.

What Other Reviewers Say

There aren’t many reviews online for the Kenneth, but the few that are on the Ross & Snow site mention how much they love the Vibram Arctic Grip sole. Even in snow storms, the Kenneth stands up, takes a beating, and doesn’t get water-logged so you can wear it the next day, too.

The Verdict

Most boots featuring the Vibram Arctic Grip sole look very technical, which is great for hikers and mountaineers. But for people like me who prefer more stylish boots, there aren’t many options. 

That’s why the Ross & Snow Kenneth is my favorite Vibram Arctic Grip sole boot. It has the look of a classic pull-on boot, but the sole is a beast and the shearling lining keeps your foot warm, even in negative temperatures.

Best Vibram Arctic Grip
Ross & Snow Kenneth

The Ross & Snow Kenneth is my favorite Vibram Arctic Grip sole boot. It has the look of a classic pull-on boot, but the sole is a beast and the shearling lining keeps your foot warm, even in negative temperatures.

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Best Vibram Heavy Lug: Wolverine 1000 Mile Axel

3.
Wolverine 1000 Mile Axel

One of the biggest drawbacks for the Wolverine 1000 Mile is that it has a leather sole, which doesn’t help at all in the winter. With the Axel, they decked out their iconic boot with a heavy Vibram lug sole for those who want a boost in traction. 

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Vibram heavy lug soles are perfect for uneven and inconsistent terrain. If you want an all-rounder boot that works on the trail and has enough refinement to fly in the city, check out the Wolverine 1000 Mile Axel

I picked up the standard Wolverine 1000 Mile, and I love it. But the only downside is that it only features a Vibram heel cap. Well, Wolverine made a heavy-duty version called the Axel. 

It has the same silhouette and quality construction, but the brand slaps on a Goodyear welted heavy lug Vibram sole.

What I Like

  • The 1000 Mile Axel uses Horween Chromexcel leather, which ages and patinas beautifully.

  • It’s a Goodyear welted boot, which is excellent for water resistance and easy maintenance.

  • This boot straddles the line between work and style, so it’s perfect if you want an “all-rounder.”

What I Don’t Like

  • Because Wolverine uses the most well-known, well-respected American-made materials, the cost is about $50-$75 more than comparable quality boots like the Red Wing Iron Ranger.

What Other Reviewers Say

Scanning through the reviews, most people love their new Wolverine 1000 Mile Axel boots. There were a few complaints on the QC, but I didn’t have the same experience. 

If you have a bit of an OCD streak, and slightly imprecise stitching bothers you, you may want to shop another brand. Still, my 1000 Mile boots don’t seem to have any issues, so I’m taking those reviews with a grain of salt.

The Verdict

One of the biggest drawbacks for the Wolverine 1000 Mile is that it has a leather sole, which doesn’t help at all in the winter. With the Axel, they decked out their iconic boot with a heavy Vibram lug sole for those who want a boost in traction. 

If you like the look, you’ll be rewarded with a tough boot that transitions easily between the job site, city sidewalk, and hiking trail.

Best Vibram Heavy Lug
Wolverine 1000 Mile Axel

One of the biggest drawbacks for the Wolverine 1000 Mile is that it has a leather sole, which doesn’t help at all in the winter. With the Axel, they decked out their iconic boot with a heavy Vibram lug sole for those who want a boost in traction. 

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Best Vibram Combat Boot: Danner Reckoning

4.
Danner Reckoning

If you want a combat boot that’s all about function, you’ll love the versatility of the Danner Reckoning. The Vibram All Terrain sole provides traction across loose sand, gravel, leaves, and snow, so these easily become your go-to beater boot.

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The Danner Reckoning is the preferred boot of the US Marine Corps. It’s outfitted with Vibram’s rugged All Terrain sole, which like the name suggests, makes it a go-to for hiking, camping, and working. 

The tall shaft offers a ton of ankle support and the construction of the boot makes it excellent for anyone with plantar fasciitis or flat feet.

What I Like

  • In a world of cheap combat boots, the Danner Reckoning truly stands out for its quality.

  • The Vibram All Terrain sole has excellent traction across snow, loose sand, scattered rocks, and mushy leaves. 

  • The tall shaft and meticulous insole construction means this boot has a ton of support for your ankles and feet. 

What I Don’t Like

  • The Danner Reckoning is about twice the price as other lookalike boots (though the quality is leaps and bounds better).

What Other Reviewers Say

Being the preferred boot of the US Marine Corps has to count for something. Fun fact: some reviewers give the hot tip of buying these on-base if you have access. 

The Danner Reckoning costs about 1/10th the price if you can buy from a Marine Corps base, so start scrolling through your Facebook friends to see who can get you the hookup.

The Verdict

If you want a combat boot that’s all about function, you’ll love the versatility of the Danner Reckoning

The Vibram All Terrain sole provides traction across loose sand, gravel, leaves, and snow, so these easily become your go-to beater boot. If you’re a hunter, hiker, or outdoor enthusiast, don’t skimp on your boots. Get something solid like the Danner Reckoning.

Best Vibram Combat
Danner Reckoning

If you want a combat boot that’s all about function, you’ll love the versatility of the Danner Reckoning. The Vibram All Terrain sole provides traction across loose sand, gravel, leaves, and snow, so these easily become your go-to beater boot.

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Best Vibram Christy Wedge: Red Wing Moc Toe

5.
Red Wing Moc Toe

It’s hard to beat American heritage brands---they’ve earned their reputation for a reason. The Red Wing Moc Toe is an excellent, hard working boot that offers all the support, cushion, and balance of a Vibram Christy wedge sole.

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Few boots have as stellar a reputation as the Red Wing Moc Toe. Loaded up with a Vibram Christy wedge sole, this classic boot is a top pick for anyone standing and walking on concrete all day. 

Because the Red Wing Moc Toe has some extra room along the instep, you’re free to add custom insoles to help with arch support. 

The Vibram Christy sole has an easily recognizable cream color and makes the Moc Toe stand out in a crowd.

What I Like

  • Many wedge sole boots aren’t Goodyear welted, but the Red Wing/Vibram combo is, so you can easily resole and have all the water-resistant benefits. 

  • Because there’s more room in the instep, it’s easy to add a custom insole so you can have the level of support you need. 

  • There are several different color options and leather textures available. 

What I Don’t Like

  • The Moc Toe silhouette is beefy—it doesn’t look great with skinny jeans, so it’s best to try these on and see if they work for your style before buying them. 

What Other Reviewers Say

These Red Wings score around a 4.6-star average with over 800 reviews on Amazon. A lot of reviewers reported some stiffness out of the box, which is to be expected with boots this substantial. However, after a few weeks of wear, the Moc Toe breaks in nicely.

The Verdict

It’s hard to beat American heritage brands—they’ve earned their reputation for a reason. The Red Wing Moc Toe is an excellent, hard working boot that offers all the support, cushion, and balance of a Vibram Christy wedge sole. 

If you’re in the market for something that’ll last five to ten years, no problem, check out the Red Wing Moc Toe.

Best Vibram Christy Wedge
Red Wing Moc Toe

It’s hard to beat American heritage brands---they’ve earned their reputation for a reason. The Red Wing Moc Toe is an excellent, hard working boot that offers all the support, cushion, and balance of a Vibram Christy wedge sole.

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Best Vibram Non-Slip: Ariat Powerline

6.
ARIAT Powerline Composite Toe

The Ariat Powerline is an excellent choice if you’re looking for logger boots to slip in and out of easily. It's incredibly comfortable, reliably stable for climbing, and offer superb weather protection---although not much insulation. Oh, and like most Ariat boots, it's also a real compliment magnet on the style front, at least as much as work boots can be.

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The Ariat Powerline is a heavy duty workhorse. When it comes to workplace safety, it’s hard to beat the Vibram Non-Slip Supersafety sole. I mean, just look at the name.

The Powerline is available with a composite toe or a standard toe, and the external heel protector offers extra shielding in hectic work environments. This boot also features a Cuban heel, similar to what you’d find on a logger boot, which is excellent for anyone climbing electrical towers or doing roof work.

What I Like

  • Ariat’s ATS Comfort Insole technology is soft, comfortable, has tons of arch support, and stays cool. It’s ideal for hard working people. 

  • The composite toe and heel guard make this boot almost like a piece of armor. 

  • The Vibram Non-Slip Supersafety sole will give you firm footing when you need it most (like when you’re on a roof). 

What I Don’t Like

  • They’re a bit hard to get on. You may need a shoehorn. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Over 50 reviewers on Amazon rate the Ariat Powerline around 4.3 stars. There are a lot of mentions of “foot armor,” which is exactly what you want in rugged work situations. Many reviewers praise the thick non-slip Vibram sole, and people who often work on ladders love the Cuban heel.

The Verdict

When you’re standing on a pitched roof, you don’t want to be caught wearing a pair of slick-soled Nikes. You need a non-slip sole. 

The Ariat Powerline is like armor for your feet, and the heavy-duty Vibram Non-Slip Supersafety sole performs well when the pressure is on.

Best Vibram Non-Slip
ARIAT Powerline Composite Toe

The Ariat Powerline is an excellent choice if you’re looking for logger boots to slip in and out of easily. It's incredibly comfortable, reliably stable for climbing, and offer superb weather protection---although not much insulation. Oh, and like most Ariat boots, it's also a real compliment magnet on the style front, at least as much as work boots can be.

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Best Vibram Hiking: Danner Trail 2650

7.
Danner Trail 2650

This boot is loaded with features like an external heel counter, 100% waterproof Gore Tex lining, and Vibram’s irregular tread soles, which can tackle any terrain with ease. Plus, it's super light. If hiking is your hobby, you’ll love the Danner Trail 2650.

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Vibram revolutionized the hiking world with their irregular tread patterns. And Danner was one of the first companies to see the benefit. 

If you love hitting the trails, do yourself a favor and pick up the Danner Trail 2650. The Vibram hiking sole performs incredibly well across diverse terrain, including slippery rocks, loose dirt inclines, pine-needle strewn declines, and anything else that comes across your path. 

It’s a waterproof boot, and it’s super light, so you can put on serious mileage. I’ve linked up the 4” ankle boot because I prefer the extra stability, but there’s a more breathable 3” version available if you live in a hot climate.

What I Like

  • The Vibram hiking irregular tread sole has a ton of traction in a wide variety of terrain. 

  • The heel counter is on the outside of the boot, which makes it more comfortable and stable.

  • It’s fully waterproof and has a breathable Gore Tex liner.

What I Don’t Like

  • It’s a technical looking boot and some aesthetics are sacrificed for better performance. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Over 100 reviewers on Amazon give these puppies around a 4.4-star average. A lot of positive comments came from folks who aren’t necessarily hikers, but just spend a lot of time on their feet. The key takeaway after reading dozens of reviews: the arch support is fantastic on these Danners.

The Verdict

The trail is no place for a slippery sole. If you want the best of the best, try the Danner Trail 2650. It’s outfitted with Vibram’s irregular tread soles, which can tackle any terrain with ease. 

This boot is loaded with features like an external heel counter and 100% waterproof Gore Tex lining. Plus, it’s super light. If hiking is your hobby, you’ll love the Danner Trail 2650.

Best Vibram Hiking
Danner Trail 2650

This boot is loaded with features like an external heel counter, 100% waterproof Gore Tex lining, and Vibram’s irregular tread soles, which can tackle any terrain with ease. Plus, it's super light. If hiking is your hobby, you’ll love the Danner Trail 2650.

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Best Vibram Cowboy Boot: Rocky Legacy 32

8.
Rocky Legacy 32

The Rocky Legacy 32 is tricked-out with modern technologies like EVA comfort midsoles and breathable and waterproof mesh lining. If you’re looking for solid value on a pair of Vibram soled cowboy boots, these are well worth a look.

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It’s not easy finding a western boot with a Vibram sole, but Rocky Boots know what they’re doing. They created a custom sole for their Legacy 32 cowboy boot and the result is a tough looking western silhouette with an oil and slip resistant workhorse tread. 

The Rocky Legacy 32 is made with waterproofed full grain leather and has a cushioned EVA midsole, so you won’t have any trouble standing on your feet for hours or walking through muddy worksites.

What I Like

  • The EVA cushioned midsole and breathable mesh lining are both modern technologies that make this boot super comfortable. 

  • The custom Vibram hardened sole is oil and slip resistant. 

  • It’s one of the few true western boot styles with a Vibram sole. 

What I Don’t Like

  • There’s no color variety—only brown. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Rocky Boots has a following, with reviewers saying the Legacy 32 is their third or fourth boot over the years. A lot of folks enjoy the pull-on loops and cut outs at the top. These boots are easy to put on, which is excellent for people with sore backs.

The Verdict

If you’re looking for solid value on a pair of Vibram soled cowboy boots, check out the Rocky Legacy 32. It’s tricked-out with modern technologies like EVA comfort midsoles and breathable and waterproof mesh lining. But just because it’s modern doesn’t mean it’s not classic. It still has all the hallmarks of a classic cowboy boot.

Best Vibram Cowboy Boot
Rocky Legacy 32

The Rocky Legacy 32 is tricked-out with modern technologies like EVA comfort midsoles and breathable and waterproof mesh lining. If you’re looking for solid value on a pair of Vibram soled cowboy boots, these are well worth a look.

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Best Vibram Ripple Sole: Allen Edmonds Park City

9.
Allen Edmonds Park City

The Vibram Gloxi sole marries a lot of features people love: flexibility, support, cushion. Pair the unusual modern look with a classic cap toe and you get the Allen Edmonds Park City. This waterproof boot is an excellent commuter boot in rainy climates and shows off the best of what the Vibram Gloxi sole can offer.

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The Allen Edmonds Park City has a Vibram Gloxi-Cut sole, which is fun and unique looking. It definitely helps this cap toe boot stand out in a crowd. 

Allen Edmonds might not be the first brand you think of when talking about sturdy boots that can brave the elements, but the Park City has a 360-degree storm welt, waterproof membrane lining, and waterproofed Horween Chromexcel leather. 

The Vibram Gloxi sole has all the traction you’d find in a ripple sole, the stability of a wedge sole, and the flexibility of a rubber sole with 1/10th the width. Vibram Gloxi soles are innovative and bring a lot of benefits, though they’re far from “classic” looking.

What I Like

  • The Park City is a surprisingly rugged boot for how stylish it is, and it performs very well in wet weather. 

  • The Vibram Gloxi sole is distinctive, flexible, and supportive.

  • Allen Edmonds has a huge variety of sizes available, from 7-14 in D and EEE widths. 

What I Don’t Like

  • There aren’t any other color choices besides the Horween Chromexcel brown. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers report being caught off guard with how lightweight and flexible these boots are, especially considering their 360-degree storm welt and full grain uppers. One reviewer recommends you buy a 1/2-size smaller than your normal size, which is a good common practice for boots unless the brand states otherwise.

The Verdict

Vibram didn’t just stop with their classic rubber lug soles. No, they’ve earned their reputation through innovation. The Vibram Gloxi sole marries a lot of features people love: flexibility, support, cushion.

Pair the unusual modern look with a classic cap toe and you get the Allen Edmonds Park City. This waterproof boot is an excellent commuter boot in rainy climates and shows off the best of what the Vibram Gloxi sole can offer.

Best Vibram Ripple Sole
Allen Edmonds Park City

The Vibram Gloxi sole marries a lot of features people love: flexibility, support, cushion. Pair the unusual modern look with a classic cap toe and you get the Allen Edmonds Park City. This waterproof boot is an excellent commuter boot in rainy climates and shows off the best of what the Vibram Gloxi sole can offer.

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How to Get a Vibram Replacement Sole

If it’s time to replace the soles on your boots and you want a Vibram rubber sole, you have a few different options. 

Most cobblers buy from dealers who are set up with Vibram. When you take your boots in, you can specifically request Vibram, and any good shoe-repair shop should be able to get it done. 

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But if you have a specific sole in mind, you can buy it and bring it with you to the shoe-repair shop, which will cut down on the cost of reconstruction. 

Amazon has a surprising variety of soles available. For instance, when my Red Wing Iron Ranger heel wears down, I can just pick up this Vibram 430 Washer Heel for under $20 and bring it to my local shoe repair shop. They’ll be able to attach it for something close to $40, so instead of a $90 job, it’s all done for 2/3rds the price. 

Vibram 430 Washer Heel
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Which Sole Will It Be?

There are hundreds of Vibram soles, and that doesn’t include all the custom soles done for specific boot brands. 

Yes, there’s no shortage of options for Vibram boots, but the ones listed above are the best of the best. 

Where do you think Vibram stands out best? Is it the Red Wing Iron Ranger? The Wolverine 1000 Mile Axel? Or are you more city-slicking’ and prefer the Allen Edmonds Park City? 

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Also, you may like to check out our video review of our top Vibram Boot pick, the Iron Ranger on our YouTube channel:

FAQs

What is so special about Vibram soles?

Vibram soles have a reputation for quality. They last longer and offer more traction than many of their competitors. Because most shoes and boots die when their soles wear out, any boot with a Vibram sole will likely have more durability and longevity.

Are Vibram soles slippery?

Vibram soles offer a lot of traction and I wouldn’t say any Vibram boot is “slippery.”

How long should Vibram soles last?

Depending on how often you wear them and the sorts of activities you’ll be doing with these soles, they should last roughly 3 years as a minimum. If you’re wearing them every day in very rough conditions, that number may cut down to one year, but if you’re just wearing your boots casually on the street, you can increase the longevity to five years.

How do you pronounce Vibram?

Vibram is pronounced vee-brum. Because the name is a portmanteau of two Italian words, the i has the accepted Italian pronunciation.

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