Italian shoe manufacturer Vibram is well known for its minimalist shoe designs. In 2005, the company revolutionized the footwear industry with the introduction of FiveFingers. Designed to replicate being barefoot, the shoes featured thin flexible soles that molded the wearer’s feet. Now, the company has done it again by collaborating with Japanese designer Masaya Hashimoto to create the wrap-around Furoshiki shoes.
The footwear is very similar to its namesake and inspiration – the Furoshiki cloth used in Japan to wrap anything from gifts to groceries, and even as clothing. It comprises just a rubber sole and stretch fabric that wraps around the foot, almost like a garment burrito.The fabric is then secured with Velcro, alleviating the need for pesky laces. While it may not appear so, the manufacturer attests that the unconventional-looking Furoshiki’s are more comfortable than many of the regular shoes and sneakers that are currently in the market.
Also, given the flexible material and the design’s anatomical shape, the shoes can easily adapt to different sizes of feet. And while they appear flimsy, Vibram says that the rubber sole is sturdy enough to absorb every crack or bump in the ground and also handle slippery surfaces. Though not suitable for running, the shoe’s grip makes them perfect for less strenuous activities like Pilates and barre workouts. Thanks to their lightweight and flexibility the shoes can easily be stashed inside a gym bag or even an oversized purse. The best part? Wearing socks with these all-encompassing footwear is entirely optional!
Currently available in five colors, the funky-looking Furoshiki's are a significant departure from the sky-high heels, leather boots, and sturdy athletic shoes we’re accustomed to wearing. It is therefore not surprising that they have garnered a lot of attention since they came to market, earlier this summer. However, whether they are just a short-term fad or “footwear of the future,” remains to be seen!
Resources: refinery29, arch20.com, vibram.com