Tech and traditional make an odd sort of fusion with these new Furoshiki shoes by Vibram, which may be one of the weirdest or coolest things you’ve seen today, depending on your taste.

As the name suggests, the Furoshiki shoes are inspired by old-time wraparound Japanese shoewear. And yes, they are designed to wrap around your foot with stretchy “outsoles” that fold together with Velcro and wrap your foot in a big fabric huge.

The sole itself is made of tougher, rubberized components. That wraparound feature means that there only needs to be several Furoshiki sizes to fit many different shapes and sizes of feet. The result is a very lightweight rubberized shoe that folds on and off quickly. It also looks kind of weird, and despite the variety of colors available for these new shoes, it’s going to be hard for wearers to pass them off as anything but unusual.


That brings use to another important point. If you recognize the name Vibram, you probably know it from the FiveFingers shoe line a number of years ago, made for the “barefoot running” crowd and others. You don’t see those shoe-gloves around much anymore, possibly because they were pricey and quickly gained a reputation for falling apart almost as fast as you could use them.

The Furoshiki is trying to buck that particular issue with a new market focus: These shoes may be made from similar materials, but they now have a tougher sole and are not designed for the fitness crowd. Instead, these shows are made more for casual wear: Treat them like slippers, social shoes, or shoes you wear when feeling crappy or sore…just don’t expect to take them out for a pounding. It seems like a smarter move by the company.

Currently the new shoes almost ready to hit the U.S. online market. Over in Japan they are selling for aorund $110. We’ll see what the prices look like here, but for that much you could get some serviceable hiking shoes, so the price doesn’t sound entirely competitive to us.

Tyler Lacoma

When he isn't enjoying the beautiful Northwest outdoors, you can find Tyler on business and tech sites, writing about the latest news, analyzing trends, and generally making the Internet a more interesting place.

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  1. While five fingers have their detractors, mainly from people who don’t like the way they look, they have never been known for falling apart. That comment just shows the writer’s vias against something he clearly knows nothing about.

    What a tool. Just trying to get clicks.

    1. I did a quick google search and found a dozen different threads of people complaining how easy the fivefingers shoe tear and split – usually about 1-2 months after the 90 day warranty runs out. You may not agree with this reviewer, but clearly he did some research on this.

  2. This is a review? You didn’t actually evaluate anything other than the (biased) company’s history and the Japanese price. If you can’t review the product, don’t call it a review.

      1. @Christen Costa – Try the title….you do know this is ‘, right? “Gadget Review was founded on one simple premise: top expert reviews that will help any consumer, savvy or not, make the right purchase decision.” Quoted directly from their homepage. You’re welcome.

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