For a long time, I thought webbed toes were limited to Labradors and Kevin Costner’s better-forgotten movie Waterworld. Then I heard would-be VFFers lamenting their webbed toes making it impossible to use Vibram fivefingers. What a bummer*!
For a primer on webbed toes, allow me to quote from wikipedia:
If I do the math right (using 1/2000), that means that only about 150,000 people in the United States have webbed toes, which is almost certainly too small a number to make it worthwhile to make a four-toed version of Vibram fivefingers.
So what’s a webbed toe individual to do?
Modify your fivefingers to make them into Vibram fourfingers!
One webbed-toe individual named Philip saw fivefingers and had an idea on how he could modify them to work with his webbed feet. First, below is what Philip was working with:
Philip’s idea was to cut a U-shaped slit between the two toe pockets that matched up to his pair of webbed toes. The cut needed to go slightly higher than the actual webbing between the two toes were webbed. From there, all that was left to do was to sew together the cut fabric across the toe gap. For this, Philip had help from his significant other who used monofilament nylon thread to join the two toe pockets.
Do that and here is what you get:
In Philip’s own words: “I snip the fabric from the inside using sharp scissors, cutting slightly further than the webbing of my toes. We use nylon monofilament thread to sew the edges back together.”
Philip has had such success with this modification that he’s also made KSO fourfingers:
As you can see, there is a solution for those of you out there who want to wear Vibram fivefingers but have some amount of webbing between your toes! Mind, it’s probably a tough pill to swallow to have to slice into your Vibrams, and your mileage may very in performing this mod.
To conclude, Philip’s “Vibram Four Fingers” mod is very workable solution—the only solution I’ve seen—to wearing fivefingers with webbed toes. I want to thank Philip for allowing me to share this on birthday shoes**!
* A “bummer” only because it overtly eliminates the ability to wear Vibram fivefingers, of course. Webbed toes are actually kinda cool as they are a fascinating reminder of the diversity that frequently lurks unseen within our DNA.
** Philip originally posted this solution to the minimalist runner google group. I asked him if I could share this “at large” on birthdayshoes.com and he graciously accepted.