Interview with David Foster CEO of Grubs boots on the Background to the new Sport Equestri™ range.

Ciletto, Equi-trainer.

Q: We have seen a lot of the GRUBS® brand around the equine market, but are you new to making equestrian boots?

Not at all, we were the first to develop the neoprene boot in the riding market back in 2002 when we put a riding toe and sole on our popular stable boot.  Ten years later after many copies we updated the boot with our Rideline™ and Outline™ series of boots.  We put the much trimmer Outline sole on the boot which featured mid-foot support and a prominent heel for traditional riding and stable work, they are very popular.

Q: That’s interesting, so why have you developed this range of boots? We support a full team of event riders including; Ingrid Klimke, Ben Hobday, Lissa Green and James Sommerville.  They were very happy with our general boots such as Frostline™, for field and stable work, but found our riding boots too hard for performance jumping.   We looked at the range of activities and the likes and dislikes of our riders to put together the outline of a range and then a specific requirements and performance features our professional riders need:   A soft and subtle ankle to allow them to sit with a correct foot position when jumping, heel down heel in with forefoot support and cushioning with a good amount of lower leg feel all without compromising on warmth.  To do this we needed to remove the layers of rubber that protect our other boot uppers.  We searched around and eventually came up with a fantastic material called Keprotec® from Schoeller® textiles: it combines materials such as Kevlar® and ballistic aramid fibres in a stretch matrix that give amazing snag and abrasion resistance while allowing stretch and twist.  Keprotec® has been used for a few years in motorcycle clothing on high wear areas so it is well tested and liked.  In fact it is so tough we had to put a layer of rubber on the inside of the Ramilo™ tall boot to protect the saddle.   We have retained rubber on the toe and heel, the toe rubber is cut ergonomically across the toe so it flexes with the foot at the ball.   A double layer of resin and rubber at the heel on Ramilo™ and moulded spur keeper give a snug heel cup that sits deep in the sidewall of the outsole for maximum heel stability in the jumping cycle.

Q: That’s interesting, so why have you developed this range of boots?

We support a full team of event riders including; Ingrid Klimke, Ben Hobday, Lissa Green and James Sommerville.  They were very happy with our general boots such as Frostline™, for field and stable work, but found our riding boots too hard for performance jumping.

 

We looked at the range of activities and the likes and dislikes of our riders to put together the outline of a range and then a specific requirements and performance features our professional riders need:

 

A soft and subtle ankle to allow them to sit with a correct foot position when jumping, heel down heel in with forefoot support and cushioning with a good amount of lower leg feel all without compromising on warmth.  To do this we needed to remove the layers of rubber that protect our other boot uppers.  We searched around and eventually came up with a fantastic material called Keprotec® from Schoeller® textiles: it combines materials such as Kevlar® and ballistic aramid fibres in a stretch matrix that give amazing snag and abrasion resistance while allowing stretch and twist.  Keprotec® has been used for a few years in motorcycle clothing on high wear areas so it is well tested and liked.  In fact it is so tough we had to put a layer of rubber on the inside of the Ramilo™ tall boot to protect the saddle.

 

We have retained rubber on the toe and heel, the toe rubber is cut ergonomically across the toe so it flexes with the foot at the ball.   A double layer of resin and rubber at the heel on Ramilo™ and moulded spur keeper give a snug heel cup that sits deep in the sidewall of the outsole for maximum heel stability in the jumping cycle.

Vibram sport-Equestri sole.

Q: You mentioned the sole, that’s very dramatic visually, tell us more about it?

Our Riders wanted a much lighter, more cushioned, more athletic feel with more grip.  Grubs® is all about ‘grip’ so we teamed up with our partners at Vibram®.  I have been working with Vibram® for over 30 years and understand their technical performance driven design philosophy very well.  We sat down with their designers and came up with an outsole that is light-years ahead of our competition:

 

We use their amazing XS TREK™ compound that has fantastic grip on all surfaces. The periphery of the whole sole is rounded so it doesn’t catch on the stirrup while the tread pattern is designed to work with high performance competition stirrups that traditional rubber-soled boots struggle to grip to, adding a high arch and prominent heel for a belt and braces approach.

 

The S-line™ cut through the sole allows it to flex with the foot in motion while a high side wall to the outsole is flex-notched to stabilise and support without impairing forefoot flex. 

 

The DURALITE™ midsole wraps up around the ball of the foot for heel support, ball support and protection from the stirrup. DURALITE™ also reduces weight and increases shock absorption for that magic carpet GRUBS® comfort.

Ramilo boot

Q: Sport EQUESTRI? Ramilo, Ciletto?  They are pretty unusual names, where did they come from?

When we approached Vibram® with the idea of an Equine Sport sole they named the project ‘SPORT EQUESTRI™’, its Italian for Equestrian Sport, we liked the sound and that’s why all the styles carry the ‘SE’ suffix.

 

Regarding the product names; Ramilo is our 4* horse and Ciletto is our 3* ridden again by Ben Hobday.  The graphic on the side of the boot is Ben on Ramilo!

Ben Hobday

Q: Wow! I didn’t know that GRUBS® was so involved with the sport?

My Family has been making shoes since 1776, eight generations!  My daughter works in the business, so that will make it nine. We have always been associated with sport, Samuel Foster, made the first studded cricket boot, my great-grandfather track spikes for the Olympic stars such as Abrams and Liddell.  My father and Uncle founded Reebok where I worked for ten years.  My grandfather made riding boots as well and my daughters ride semi-professionally.  So I guess it’s in our blood.

Ciletto Equi-Trainer and Ramilo Trainer boot are available from mid September 2017.