Bob Lange (deceased)
Year Inducted: 2000
In 1948, Bob Lange reinforced a pair of boots custom-made by Peter Limmer, internationally known bootmaker, with some fiberglass-reinforced polyester resin left over from a boat hull project. It was the first recorded use of plastic in a ski boot. He started the Lange Corporation and manufactured various products from fiberglass and then, in the late 1950s decided to create a plastic ski boot.
He started by using a vacuum-molded ABS sheet and made 750 pairs the first year. Many discouragements and months later, he switched to polyurethane and finally a successful Lange boot was made. That black boot became a benchmark in ski history. Closures, stiffness, height were constantly adjusted and enhanced. The boot sold by the thousands. In the ensuing years, other boot companies were successful in manufacturing and marketing their versions but it was Lange’s black boot that marked the historic jump from leather to plastic.