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That’s the question people have asked me when seeing the Vibram Furoshiki’s for the first time. While to some they look bizarre, to others they present the perfect flair that stands apart from the crowd.
The shoes are inspired by the Japanese tradition of wrapping gifts in special square cloths called Furoshiki.
The shoes have two flaps of mesh-fabric extending from the sole to wrap around the foot. These flaps are attached to a heel capsule with velcro.
These shoes check off several boxes that qualify them as a good minimal footwear choice:
The only feature missing is a wide forefoot or toe area. For those with narrow feet this isn’t a problem. But for those with wider feet or prefer splaying the toe, the sole might not provide enough coverage.
While I haven’t owned these for an extended amount of time, they feel quite durable and should hold up well against daily casual use including trail hiking. I don’t plan on running long distances in them - so can’t speak to how well they would last on that front. I wouldn’t recommend for running on pavement unless you are a very experienced minimal/barefoot runner.
Compared to the more prominent Vibram Fivefinger toe-shoes, these are slightly more subtle on the eyes and easier to wash and keep clean. They also have softer plastic and can be wrapped up nicely for portability.
If you’re looking for a new concept in minimal footwear and great design - give the Furoshiki’s a try!