Compass: Charting the Evolution of Outdoor Gear

EB Super Gratton History

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Pierre Allain, renowned French climber who frequents Fontainbleau Forest boulders, outside of Paris, experiments with lightweight kletterschuhe


PA teams up with Emile Bourdonneau, a fellow climber, whose family own a shoe factory


First commercial slipper-style rubber rockclimbing shoe is produced under the joint collaboration.

Shoe has the appearance of high-top basketball shoe with lacing to the toe, and a fully randed sole

Colour was navy blue cotton canvas with white suede leather reinforcing.

The initials "PA" are stamped in a circular leather inner ankle pad.


Pierre Allain takes his name to the French mountain boot company, Galibier, who produce the PA with black canvas and red suede leather

Emile Bourdonneau retains rights to produce the original shoe,which is technically superior to the new Galibier PA, but now brands it “EB.”

[Super Gratton refers to an exceedingly fine edge that almost required scratch the rock surface to find]


90% of EB production is exported from the Paris production plant

company is awarded a French Oscar for export sales

[Aside the PA (Pierre Allain), Galibier also produce RD (Rene Desmaison), and Yosemite RR (Royal Robbins),]

[There was also the Galibier BB, designed with Australian climber, Rick White, presumably after his 1968 grade 19 first ascent Beau Brummel)

but none of these Galibier boots dominate the market quite like EBs


The demand for EBs outstrips supply, so to increase production rates, the construction method is revised to a moulded rubber sole

However new method provides diminished performance (less feel, edging power & stickiness) and poor durability

This results in the EB brand name becoming tarnished


release the Super Maestria, (with 7mm thick sole,) after route pioneered by new technical advisor, Jean-Claude Droyer


EB reverts to original production methods

But its too late, competition shoes like Galibier’s Contact, Asolo’s Canyon, & Hanwag’s Crack Special erode market share


Spanish brand, Boreal, release the Firé, whose super sticky rubber, from recovered aircraft tyres, finally eclipses EBs


The EB brandmark all but disappears in the wake of the Boreal Firé


Jean-Claude Delubriac acquires use of the EB name and moves factory to near Périgueux, in South West France


EB began to sell internationally again, with 30% of sales coming from the United States


Brand positions itself well within of climbing in French schools.  Company doubles in size in the next 5 years.


Working with sport chiropodists, EB launches the Synthesis and Proto models.


Century-old company, the French shoe manufacturer, Raoul Lalet, makers of ballerinas dance slippers and evening shoes, buys the EB brand


Raoul LALET invests several tens of thousands of Euros in an injection rubber manufacturing process

Frédéric Tuscan, joins the EB team and designs the Wolverine model


Jean-Claude Delubriac retires from climbing industry, taking up new passion: horseriding. Passes torch to Frédéric Tuscan


The range is almost entirely renewed.


Raoul Lalet, of Limoges (Haute-Vienne), placed in liquidation. 50 staff unemployed.

The company had a liability of several million euros, despite a turnover of almost € 8 million in 2007

9A Climbing Company created by Frédéric Tuscan to continue design, manufacture and distribution of EB products.

EBs Today

NB: This information culled from numerous sources. As with the entire Compass website, if anyone has more accurate details please advise me. Thanks.