Now this is new.
Vibram has cooked up a new form of minimalist shoe they are calling the "Furoshiki" that is inspired by by the Japanese tradition of wrapping cloth to transport goods. As fans know, Vibram is Italy-based and as such, they are showcasing the Furoshiki at Pitti Uomo in Florence, Italy this week. Check it out via these photos from a Vibram Press Release (PDF) (text on down the page) and Deluxu.it:
The design could be described as a Vibram rubber sole on a cut piece of fabric that crisscrosses over your instep and attaches at the heel. And while Furoshiki doesn't seem to be used for wrapping your feet, the Vibram's use of the word here seems to make sense (to someone who knows very little about Japanese culture).
Wikipedia has a page on Furoshiki that defines it as:
Furoshiki (風呂敷) are a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth traditionally used to transport clothes, gifts, or other goods. Furoshiki began to be used in the mid-Nara Era, in traditional Japanese baths. To prevent a mix up of the bathers' clothes, the removed clothing was tied up in Furoshiki. Later the system of folding spread and was used by traders to protect their goods or gifts.
While I can't quite tell if this is a womens-only design, per Vibram's press release, the Furoshiki are being marketed as a minimalist shoe for everyday wear that be carried around comfortably. I imagine they are pretty lightweight and I bet you could do some interesting knotting when you aren't wearing them for ease of transport.
Looks like a fun shoe. Anyone else want to try it?
Press release below:
At Pitti Uomo Vibram tells a new story of design and technology
Vibram launches Furoshiki, the new outsole that envelops your foot in total safety and comfort
Tradition and innovation. The Furoshiki shoes will be introduced by Vibram to the fashion system during the 86th edition of Pitti Uomo in Florence, from Tuesday 17th to Friday 20th June. Vibram will offer the fair the wide tradition of research, quality and design that has always distinguished the company from the yellow octagon, global leader in the production and marketing of high-performance rubber soles.
In the Japanese culture, the term Furoshiki refers to the custom of wrapping, holding and carrying the most varied objects, bending and knotting a cloth that is transformed into a bag. Inspired by this Asiatic habit, Vibram has created the first wraparound outsole that fits comfortably on the foot thanks to special ergonomic bands that adhere to the ankle, ensuring maximum comfort and freedom of movement. The easy fit — guaranteed by the absence of strings — and the flexibility of this shoe, make it an extremely versatile footwear.
Light, sophisticated and colorful, the new Furoshiki by Vibram are comfortable to carry around and they adapt easily to any surface thanks to the innovative design of the sole, which guarantees comfort and durability.
Perfect for your free time, the Furoshiki shoes by Vibram represent a new turning point in the footwear sector: minimalist shoes for everyday use, with a unique and original look, provided with Vibram technology that has been the synonym of quality for more than seventy-five years.