Saturday, July 11, 2009

Vibram FiveFingers Running Shoes? Gloves? or "Plastic Gorilla Feet"

"Plastic Gorilla Feet Give You Twinkle Toes"
Wired Product Reviews (July 10, 2009)

"Minutes after wiggling my feet into these five-toed monstrosities I was creeping across a coworker's desk like Spider-man. Sadly, Vibram FiveFingers don't actually let you stick to walls and ceilings, but they are wickedly fun to wear.

"Vibram FiveFingers are little more than flexible plastic soles with just enough cloth to hold them snugly on your feet. They have little individual pockets for each toe, making the FiveFingers into a sort of foot glove. The resulting footwear feel less like shoes and more like tougher, more invulnerable versions of your feet.

"Traction is incredibly good, due to the grippy material, the separation of the toes, and the addition of siping, or tiny zigzag cuts etched into the soles that expand into little treads as the sole flexes...."

There's some of the compulsory 'don't act stupid' advice in this article, but for the most part it's a pretty good review of some of the strangest footwear I've seen.

A point I appreciated in the article was what the writer said about being able to feel what you're standing on: "...Your toes, freed from their typical leather prisons, act like a tiny topography sensor array...."

It's been a very long time since I've worn shoes inside - partly because I prefer being able to feel the surfaces I'm on.

The bottom line is that the new running shoes (gloves?) look funny, are really good for running, and take a bit more time to put on than conventional shoes.

The price - between $75 and $85 - doesn't seem so bad, for a specialty item with that much detail required during manufacture.


Martin said...

Those Five-Fingers shoes look like alien SPACE feet.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Martin /,

Agreed - but that Deal Rocker retail footwear page you link to has distinctly Earthling footwear. Still, the comment is on-topic.

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