The idea behind them is that is essentially a sole, that proceeds to wrap around your foot. Furoshiki is a type of Japanese wrapping cloth, traditionally used to wrap clothes, gifts etc. and is the inspiration behind this new shoe.
Vibram market these as a casual shoe, ideal for travel, day to day use, that kind of thing. While some may expect them to be a sport/active shoe, they aren’t, and I’m not sure how these would hold up to such activities. But that’s not a bad thing, as these are a great looking shoe (some might argue a little easier on the eye than FiveFingers), they are a great design, and they are extremely comfortable.
On first opening, they are presented in a handy carry bag, perfect for travelling, as they are compact, and stops your shoes trampling over your clean clothes! The shoes themselves are wrapped up, but it doesn’t feel like it is forced. You would usually feel like your were going to split something if you bent a shoe in half, but it feels like a normal state with the Furoshikis, a very well made shoe.
The design itself is very innovative. The shoe opens up, as you may have seen in the pictures, and you simply slide your foot in, and strap the ‘wings’ around and Velcro them on. The heel feels very secure, and the material used on the pouch for your toes is very comfortable. They are perfect for any foot size and type; wide, narrow, funny shaped toes, everything. The way they are designed, if you suffer from bunions, the material simply fits around it, you no longer have to squeeze them into an uncomfortable shoe.
The first thing I noticed when walking around, is that you don’t get the usual crimp in the shoe where your toes bend. My toes were free to do as they please, and felt like I was walking around barefoot. There is enough give in the material to allow for natural movement, but not so much that it would feel like you were going to slip out of them.
For those with wide feet, there is a feature on the shoe which I think is great, the material of the soles on the shoe come up around the sides, so if you have a wide foot, the shoe simply flexes wider. No normally this would mean the material hitting the floor, and eventually tearing. But with the Furoshikis, the grip coming up the sides simply becomes part of the sole for people with wider feet. Great design work.
Now, for the colours, as you can see by the pictures, I tried the black, but, as you may expect with Vibram, there are plenty of colour options. The Black, Gru and Murble are all pretty standard colours, but then we have some of the more ‘out there’ colours, which can be seen here; Hmong, Carribean, Phulkari and Shipibo, with more to follow.
To summarise, I think the Furoshiki are exactly what they were designed to be. A comfortable, natural and compact shoe which is ideal for travel and casual use. They are one of the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn, and think they would be a great companion on holiday!
We’ll be doing a write up on some of the new FiveFinger range soon, so make sure you check back!