Upcoming Vibram Furoshiki a Minimalist Shoe Inspired by Japanese Knotting

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…

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 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.

By Justin

Justin Owings is a deadlifting dad of three, working from Atlanta. When he's not chasing his three kids around, you'll find him trying to understand systems, risk, and human behavior.

17 replies on “Upcoming Vibram Furoshiki a Minimalist Shoe Inspired by Japanese Knotting”

That outsole is intriguing…could we finally be seeing a softening in Vibrams strong commitment to only toe shoes? That would be exciting!

I saw it on a vibram facebook page, i noticed it’s not being positioned as part of the FF line (obviously) so i’m wondering if this will be a new big thing entirely or just 1 model outside of the VFF range.

Now, could they get that wrap closure method on a pair of VFFs? That would truly be intriguing! Like start with a pair of classics or something that is ballet-shoe looking to get your foot in the toe pockets and then have the cool closure burrito wrap. Good thing they called it “Furoshiki” rather than “the New Vibram BURRITO Shoe!” that wouldn’t have been nearly as cool (although i LOVE burritos more than almost any other food)

Very intriguing! Would love to try these and I hope they will be available to the public. A stretchy fold over upper like that will allow for more of a custom fit than laces or velcro can manage and maybe some nice unimpeded natural foot flex.

Even though we all love our toe’d Vibrams I think its important to note that technically Vibram has not been solely 😉 committed to toe only shoes, they’ve simply let other companies do it for them. For example both Merrill and New Balance have very successful minimalist shoe models that use Vibram soles based of the VFF platform, just with linked toes. Sometimes its better to partner up than to try and compete with everyone.

That being said I hope they do offer their own unique non-toed models, like the Furoshiki here. I wonder if you could make a boot version of this out of Soft Shell material that would keep wrapping up the leg, like the old Tom’s Wrap Boot?

I am very excited at the prospect of Vibram putting out a non-split-toed minimalist shoe!

The only thing that worries me, and it could just be the perspective, is that from these photos, the toe box doesn’t appear to be as wide/freeing as many other minimalist shoes on the market. They seem to be more pointed like most typical running shoes, and that scares me.
Again, I recognize that it could simply be the perspective of the taken photo, and the fact that they might still change the design before final release.
That one thing just seemed to stick out to me.

I agree with Ben. The tow box looks way too small for my VFF-accustomed feet. I would love something casual like this for those situations where my FF just don’t look right (church, weddings, etc.). However, I also need it to be super thin since I love my Classics. I may be asking for too much. 🙂

I feel the same as Ben about this. That toebox looks as badly-shaped as any conventional shoe. If they go with the VFF toebox but just do away with the separations between the toes, then I’ll be interested.

When do the boots come out? I’m not really a fan of the current style, but I loved some of the other shoe styles and definitely the boots, but I can’t find anything other than the basic version with the webbing on the side and the square toe…

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