This new agreement further establishes the longstanding relationship between the two organizations in fostering strong industry relationships and developing innovations. In this new collaboration, PENSOLE and Vibram will develop multiple projects per year, working across their Portland and domestic infrastructure and managing the development and design process.
“We’re so excited about the renewed collaboration with D’Wayne Edwards and PENSOLE” said Fabrizio Gamberini, President Vibram Corporation and Global Chief Brand Officer. “This collaboration is part of our global brand strategy and it is localized in the West Coast where we have our Portland, OR office, located close to PENSOLE. At Vibram, we’re leading with platforms, not just products. 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.”
“I am honored to be working with the best rubber sole company in the world,” PENSOLE founder D’Wayne Edwards said. “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. Lastly, 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.”
Vibram is the world leader in the development and manufacturing of high-performance rubber soles for outdoor and leisure activities, workwear, fashion, orthopaedics and correction. For more than 80 years the yellow octagon that symbolises Vibram has been synonymous worldwide with quality, performance, safety and innovation in the footwear industry. With its international headquarters in Albizzate (Varese) Italy, Vibram produces over 40 million soles every year, dedicates over one million kilometres to testing, is present in 120 countries and has manufacturing, research and representation bases in the USA, China, Japan, Brazil and Italy.
D’Wayne Edwards, a celebrated member of the global footwear community for the last 30 years, founded PENSOLE in 2010 to give talented young design students—regardless of socioeconomic background—an opportunity to learn from the industry’s best, without financial barriers, and to provide the industry with a farm system for the next generation of footwear designers.
PENSOLE’s “learn by doing” curriculum teaches students the entire footwear design process: inspiration, concept-development, design process, problem solving, materials, business, networking, marketing, and branding. PENSOLE features the most sought-after faculty in footwear, comprising both young professional designers and established footwear design leaders from the top brands, with more than 100 years combined experience to help its students with professional development. Suzette Henry created MLab at PENSOLE in 2010 as a dedicated resource, providing color technology and material innovation in customized educational programs.
In 2017, Angela Medlin joined PENSOLE as founder and director of the educational product creation resource The Functional Apparel and Accessories Studio (FAAS), where students are instructed in “true to industry” processes and sustainable practices.
Since the first PENSOLE class in 2010, more than 475 Academy graduates have been placed professionally, full-time or as interns, for companies worldwide, including Anta, Columbia Sportswear, The North Face, Timberland, Converse, New Balance, Brooks, Cole Haan, Under Armour, Keen, Stride Rite, adidas, JORDAN, Kenneth Cole, ECCO, Mizuno, Reebok, and Nike.