On the heels of the Fall 2010 Five Fingers Sport Trek announced at Outdoor Retailer a few weeks back, and last week's news regarding the Five Fingers Sprint and the Smartwool Classic Five Fingers, comes news straight from the mothership — that is, Vibram.com, by way of a PDF press release published in conjunction with the 2010 Winter ISPO in Munich.
The release (It is multilingual; see page 51 for English) talks about proposed new 2010 and 2011 (winter) models of Vibram Five Fingers. I'll save you the suspense — below are thumbnails from the document of the new models. Take a gander while I tell you a bit more on what you're looking at:
So what do we have here? First off, let me note what isn't mentioned: the Five Fingers Sport Trek. We know the Sport Trek is coming out (The Sport Trek was seen at IPSO), so I don't know why it wasn't mentioned on this page.
What is mentioned is a proposed Vibram Five Fingers KSO Trek that uses coconut fiber. I'll save you the trouble — here's a Google Search for coconut fabric. If you're familiar with the properties of coconut, you'd not be surprised to learn that fabric or cloth made from coconuts is anti-microbial. A bit more searching and I learned about Cocona Fabrics, a manufacturer of coconut-based cloth. I don't know if this is the exact brand of material Vibram will be using, but my hunch is that brand aside, the properties probably transpose. And those properties include natural moisture-wicking behavior, odor-resistance, and the material is natural, using no harsh chemicals in its manufacturing. Exciting, right? This proposed coconut fabric KSO Trek will be available in blue, green, red, and black*.
Well, to add to the excitement of using coconut fabric, the release talks about two new iterations of the Sprint Vibram Five Fingers! These new versions both use a revamped sole that has grooves to "enhance the skiproof grip of the sole." One version will use the coconut fabric upper (in blue or black) and the other will use a well-ventilated kangaroo leather upper (blue detailing, greyish upper). Unfortunately, the Vibram release doesn't include a photo of the refined FiveFingers Sprint, extra grooved sole, so we'll just have to sit on that one for now.
Finally, we get one more look at Smartwool Classic Five Fingers — this time in a nice grassy green. Interestingly, we get a note about the insole of the Smartwool Classic — it's felt. This Classic reload a la Smartwool is apparently intended for activities such as weight lifting/training, yoga, pilates, martial arts, and casual wear (what I'd personally be interested in them for).
All in all, it looks like Vibram is stepping up their game. I say this because one of the biggest complaints among Five Fingers fans is that Five Fingers stink after long periods of wear. There are a number of ways to deal with this, but it'd be awesome if VFFs naturally resisted odor build-up. For that matter, KSO Trek wearers are already noticing that their kangaroo leather foot gloves seem more odor resistant than the nylon Vibram KSOs. Add to it all that these reloaded models are all using natural materials — well, I think this could be good.
I'll end with one note about a word used in the press release: "proposed". Though all these winter 2010/2011 models seem a step in the right direction for Vibram, next is a long ways off, so if you're like me, you'll relegate this announcement to far off lands for the next six months or so. We've got much more exciting stuff in the near future: like the Five Fingers Bikila!
What do you think about coconut fiber KSO Treks and Sprints? How about leather Sprints with new, more skidproof soles? Join the discussion by leaving your thoughts below with a comment!
* I have to wonder if the Five Fingers Sport Treks and VFF Sprints photoed at ISPO aren't using the coconut fabric. On a closer inspection of those photos, the fabric does look a bit different from the nylon synthetic we're used to!