You might be familiar with the FRIO cold shoe. In fact, if you dig around a bit amidst the gear in your camera bag, you may just find one of the steel blue cold shoes which was first introduced almost ten years ago as the Best. Cold shoe. Ever. That claim was corroborated by at least one reviewer at the time and the product built up quite a following in the industry. If you haven’t heard of Frio, chances are, if you ask one of your peers or pro collaborators, you’ll see a slight smile and get a response of “Oh yeah, I remember Frio.”

So What Is The Difference Between A Cold Shoe And A Hot Shoe?

If you’re unfamiliar with the Frio Cold Shoe (Frio Hold) or haven’t heard of the term, “cold shoe” or “hot shoe”, the difference is simple. A hot shoe is referred to as “hot” because it uses electrical contacts on the shoe that trigger devices such as speedlights. A cold shoe is referred to as “cold” because it lacks the same electrical contacts, but that’s not to say it’s not as useful. In fact, cold shoes can be much more useful and are considered a must-pack in most camera bags.

The versatility of a cold shoe lies in its ability to be free from the camera and the hot shoe. Being free from the hot shoe allows photographers to use the cold shoe mount in a variety of different applications. Now, the same speedlight can be mounted away from the camera, on mirrors, windows, chairs, stands, poles, trees, tables, etc. Once placed, the speedlight or lights can be triggered remotely by a flash trigger mounted on the hot shoe. This setup gives the photographer multiple lighting options, providing the much-needed versatility on wedding, event, product, portrait, architectural, and other hard-to-light photo shoots.

How does a cold shoe become so memorable?

As talked about above, the function of a cold shoe is simple. It is a means to mount flash somewhere other than the top of your mirrorless or DSLR camera. This enables you to keep your hot shoe free during shoots. It’s got a lot of other uses too, such as for mounting mics, light panels or any other piece of gear with a shoe. They come in many shapes and sizes, but a couple key design features allow Frio to boast that it’s the best.

  1. There is a QuickClick Tab which allows users to quickly secure their gear. That same feature also allows you to break down your setup quickly by simply pushing the tab down and sliding out the flash or other device.
  2. The other design element that makes Frio a go-to tool for any camera bag is it’s DualThread which allows the user to mount the cold shoe to both 1/4″-20 and 3/8″-16 gear.

Where’s Frio been the last decade?

The answer to this one is both everywhere and nowhere. Everywhere in the sense that many photographers have continued to use their Frio cold shoe over the last ten years. And, while it wasn’t being proactively marketed, several retailers serving the photo and video industries were still offering it. Over the last decade, Frio changed hands a couple of times in that “Now Under New Management” kind of way.

Not long ago, Frio found its way into Imaging Brands, the parent company of Tether Tools where it’s been being nurtured and revitalized. As you can imagine, ten years by yourself can get pretty lonely. While the cold shoe itself has stood the test of time, professional photographers and videographers have many different types of needs for mounting flash and other gear with a shoe. To address that need, the Best. Cold shoe. Ever. has been complemented by a line of mounting gear that allows imagemakers to tackle lighting challenges in the toughest, tightest spaces.

Say hello to Frio’s little friends!

Moving forward, the original cold shoe will be more recognizable as the Frio Hold. It’s the same best product with the best design features that still have us describing it as the Best. Cold shoe. Now photographers and video pros can add even more versatility, portability and value to their kit with this expanded line-up:

  • Frio Arch – A fully articulating ballhead helps you position light exactly where you need it.
  • Frio Grasp Mini – A reliable, quick-acting clamp with a grip much bigger than its name implies.
  • Frio Grasp Bigi – All the benefits of the Gasp Mini, only Bigier.
  • Frio Cling – A vacuum mount that lets you secure off camera lighting to a mirror, glass or other non-porous surface.
  • Frio Stand – A simple piece of hardware that lets you turn anything with a baby pin into a light stand.
  • Frio Reach Kit – Need proof of what the Frio Stand can do? We took a couple great pieces of Tether Tools grip gear and made a sturdy light stand, but with a much smaller footprint.

The best thing about each of the products in the line up? They all come with the Best. Cold shoe. Ever. When it comes to using Frio, there is no guesswork and no assembly. Find the setup or setups that have the best place in your camera bag and they will be ready to go right out of the box.

The entire Frio line was created with portability and versatility in mind.

Let’s light this place up!

The entire line of Frio products is ready to be put to work. Weddings, events, newborns, interiors, fitness shoots and more. If you’re in a fast-paced, dynamic shoot environment that has you scratching your head about how you’ll light it, there is Frio for that!