Cycling outfitter Chrome Industries makes solid gear that's designed to last even the hardest rider for the long haul. To make its super tough new sneakers, it picked up 86 World War II boot making machines from Slovakia. The $85 Forged Rubber shoes they make will kick the crap out of your Chucks.
The 70-year-old machines use 300 degrees of heat and extreme pressure to "forge" a molten rubber sole to the canvas shoe during a 15 minute process. Usually, classic shoes like Converse All Stars or Vans have their soles essentially glued on, which leads to the soles eventually falling apart. If you've ever worn through your Chucks in a season, you know exactly what I'm talking about. The sweat, heat, and friction just kills the work of the cheaper, faster, gluing manufacturing process.
The Forged Rubber process, combined with much higher grade canvas materials, make Chrome's new sneaks a lot tougher. They'll last way longer than your Slip Ons, even if they also they'll take you longer to break in. But like all sneakers, these too will go the way of the dumpster eventually. Even though they're are made using old boot making machines, they're not going to hold up as well as a contemporary stitched sole boot that'll last you years and years.
Generally, these Forged Rubber shoes are made in Thailand, but Chrome is taking one of the machines on the road to promote them. We saw them in person and it's a pretty impressive process to watch, and the results go to show that anything worth doing is worth doing well.
Photos by Nick Stango