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.