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Vibram Inks Deal With Pensole Academy to Fuel Innovation

Vibram’s latest partnership could mean an expansion in rubber outsole innovation for footwear.

A leader in high-performance rubber outsole production, Vibram has signed a new multi-year partnership agreement with Pensole Academy that will see the pair collaborate on projects expected to further footwear design.

As part of the agreement, the two will work together on multiple projects per year in Portland and in other domestic facilities to co-manage the development and design process. The deal will serve to further establish their “longstanding relationship” and help foster industry connections and innovative development.

“At Vibram, we’re leading with platforms, not just products,” Vibram president and global chief brand officer Fabrizio Gamberini said. “Consumers continue to tell us they want innovation to perform better, as well as innovation that defines individuality and their lifestyle product. The collaboration with Pensole and its talented team of designers, will help Vibram to fulfill its promises.”

For Pensole, it means more opportunities to pair its students with high-profile brands and allow them a look into the inner workings of the industry.

“Having Vibram as a partner will provide our students the ability to gain knowledge about rubber soles that some industry veterans don’t even know,” Pensole founder D’Wayne Edwards said of the deal. “This partnership further cements Vibram’s position as an industry leader because together we will be able to continue to push our industry forward with industry-leading creations.”

With the new agreement, the Pensole Academy adds to its list of brand partners.

In November, Foot Locker and New Balance collaborated with Pensole for a design competition that rewards potential winners with internships at both organizations. A month later, Pensole also announced it would be adding online courses to its curriculum, opening up the pipeline to more remote candidates and increasing the reach of the footwear design academy’s recruitment arm.