Vulcanization, as it applies to making shoes, is a process of chemically bonding materials together using high heat. If done right, this creates very strong bonds. Skateboarders prize vulcanized sneakers not only for their inherent strength but also for their unique “board feel”. At Ridgemont, we wanted to tap into these characteristics and utilize this type of construction in some of our styles. We improved upon normal vulcanized construction for use in the outdoors, by utilizing a harder 70 A rubber along with 3mm thick foxing to improve lateral and torsional stiffness. We believe that feeling the earth beneath your feet is a benefit and something that has been all but eliminated from most hiking boots.
We use cement or traditional glue construction in other styles as it is more appropriate especially when using EVA or CMEVA midsoles as in the Monty or Heritage styles. It creates an excellent bond between the rubber outsole and the midsole and the midsole and the upper to make sure that no delamination occurs and you don’t have to ever worry about your soles flapping about!
WAXED AND OILED FULL GRAIN LEATHER
We use only the best full grain cow leather from European hides dyed in tanneries that are gold rated for their environmentally responsible processes. We use 2.0-2.2mm thick leather which provides just the right balance between durability and comfort. We treat our leather with various oils and waxes to ensure that the leather itself is waterproof as verified by the shoe authorities at SATRA. Of course, we stitch our shoes together (poke holes in them) so we don’t claim our shoes are 100% waterproof, but they are more water resistant than most light hikers on the market.
Much like our full grain leather, our suede is hand-selected from only the best European cow hides in similar thicknesses. Suede is naturally very abrasion resistant, but it’s not very water resistant, So we impregnate ours with oil to make a waterproof barrier and ensure it is ready for whatever you throw at it.
SYMPATEX™ WATERPROOF/BREATHABLE LINER
Sympatex is one of the foremost waterproof/breathable materials that is used by many leading brands in the apparel and footwear markets. As it says, it keeps water from coming in, whilst allowing for body moisture to pass out, thereby keeping your skin cool and dry. It comes at a price but we think it’s worth it! We insert Sympatex booties into some of our top end styles for the ultimate in comfort along with durability for your outdoor lifestyle. If you don’t mind spending a bit more on your footwear then we highly recommend choosing one of these styles.
Even though we use waterproofed leathers and suedes, a small amount of water can still get in through the stitching holes and seams which can cause discomfort. In some of our styles, we use Hydroguard waterproof bootie liners which means that even if some water does penetrate the outer bootie it can’t get through to your feet, making sure they stay nice and water free.
VARI-FLEX LASTING BOARD
Where most shoes use a card or fabric lasting board, Ridgemont uses a custom composite lasting board to provide variable flex characteristics along the length of the shoe. We wanted a shoe that would be very flexible at the ball of the foot (since that’s pretty important for walking..!) but more rigid from the arch to the heel so the shoe is more rugged over uneven terrain. This is also one of the main reasons our shoes are super comfortable right out of the box. It also provides excellent protection for the sole of your foot on uneven terrain to stop sharp pressure appoints from hurting your feet.
We worked directly with the factory to formulate an Open Cell Foam for our insole that would be extremely comfortable, yet not completely isolate you from your environment. Additionally, and we feel super important, we designed real arch support to help abate fatigue and keep your arches well formed and not flat as a board. The foam in our insoles is anti-microbial, non-absorbing, and it will never compress more than 5%.
While we like to feel the earth beneath our feet, we don’t want to feel rocks penetrating our shoes. We worked hard to find the ideal outsole thickness which allows us to maintain our connection to the terrain, while still providing protection from rocks, or the dreaded Lego block your kid left on the wood floors! In addition to paying close attention to our outsoles' thickness, we were very mindful of providing as much grip as possible in a variety of terrains. The softness of the rubber (70 asker) combined with the thickness and slightly lugged tread pattern provides a comfortable and confidence inspiring experience.
Gusseted tongues are designed to keep dust and debris from getting into your shoe through the throat opening. We didn’t invent them, but we’re one of the few outdoor lifestyle brands that use them, and the next time you walk through a field without getting a briar, thorn or annoying little stone in your shoe, you’ll be glad we do.