In the beginning, Alfa mainly produced children's shoes. For a short period, women's shoes were offered as well. However, in 1956, the decision was made to enter the ski boot market. Initially, Alfa's production method for making lighter footwear, the welt seam, was adapted to ski boots. This proved to be a poor method of developing a future-oriented ski boot and Alfa decided to try rubber vulcanization. At that point in time, no one else in the world used this method for making ski boots.
The first challenge was to find a type of leather to which the rubber would stick, since vegetable tanned greased leather would not attach. A new type of leather based on chromium plating was developed. This development process required a large number of resources, but it would prove to be worth the cost. Alfa continued to be alone in the world in producing boots with a rubber-vulcanized sole, and success followed.
When Alfa started its production of ski boots there were no standard widths and thicknesses of soles and bindings. Therefore, bindings and boots had to be individually adapted to each other. For consumers, it was a great innovation when Alfa launched direct vulcanized rubber soles with standard dimensions. The standard came to be called the Nordic Norm 75 mm, and it is the predecessor to what we know today as the NNN binding.
In the beginning of the 1980's, the French company Salomon arrived with a new solution to the binding problem. This system binding (SNS) required a small metal loop embedded in front of the sole. Alfa made their first racing boots with this loop in 1982, but Sigmund Hamar from Alfa had an idea that he showed to Rottefella in 1985. Soon after, they came up with the first NNN binding system. Up to the 2003/2004 season, Alfa changed from NNN to SNS on all of their boots.
TOWARDS RACING BOOTS
There have been tremendous innovations in racing boots since the first versions with stitched 75mm leather or a vulcanized sole were used. After 1974, wooden skis quickly were replaced by fiberglass versions for competition use and soon the rest of the market followed. Lighter, more agile solutions for equipment became available and consumer demand grew. The first prototype of racing boots were made for the 1976 Olympics in Seefeld / Innsbruck. These boots had a "snout" in front of the sole that matched a gap in the binding. Since then, Alfa has provided ski boots with a wide range of applications. In the 1990's, the best selling tour boots came from Alfa, and Alfa is still the first choice for backcountry and expedition enthusiasts.
IMPORTANT EVENTS IN ALFA'S HISTORY
1956 The management of Alfa decides to invest in ski boots.
1968 Alfa develops and introduces Nordic Norm 75 mm vulcanized soles, which are still the international standard for this type of ski boot.
1977 Now, the emphasis is solely on ski boots and heavier footwear.
Witco / Rottefella soles (Racing Norm 50 mm) on racing boots.
1979 First production abroad. Alfa Skofabrik Inc. in Canada opens in March with a license to produce Alfa ski boots.
1980 Alfa introduces Gore-Tex® linings in ski boots.
1982 Alfa starts producing ski boots with a Salomon sole.
1984 Alfa starts production of ski boots with the Witco New Nordic Norm - NNN.
1993 Alfa wins the contract to supply boots to officials at the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer.
2006 Ski boots are taken out of Alfa and placed into a new company, A-Sport AS, which grows quickly.
2011 A-Sport and Alfa merges and ski boots are back in Alfa.
2014 Alfa launches the first collection of boots with the innovative Alfa Air ™ technology and a completely new visual identity.