Space & Innovation

Futuristic Wrap-Around Sneakers Stretch To Fit

Vibram's laceless Furoshiki Shoes take a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth to the next level.

<p>Vibram</p>

Shoelaces are so old school now. Futuristic laceless shoes from Italian footwear company Vibram and Japanese designer Masaya Hashimoto take a unique wrapping technique to the next level, reports ZME Science.

The Furoshiki Shoes were inspired by a traditional Japanese cloth of the same name used to wrap everything from apples and bottles to baskets and hangers. Now these slipper-like sneakers can wrap up your little piggies, too.

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The lightweight, flat-packing shoes are made from polyamide and nylon with Elastane for stretch. Treads on the bottom provide grip. Once they've been wrapped around the foot, the two fabric ends attach to the heel, where a Velcro tab holds them in place, according to GearJunkie's Stephen Regenold's review.

"Because the upper is constructed with stretch fabric, it will anatomically fit nicely on any foot type and the hook and loop closure system allows for a quick, easy fit," Vibram's online description reads. "The tightness of the wrapping technology is a matter of personal preference." In case you forgot, Vibram was the company that introduced us to shoes with toes.

The Furoshiki Shoes debuted in the United States last fall and currently retail for $110 on Vibram's U.S. site. They come in five different colors and have unisex base sizes ranging from extra small (European size 36/37) to extra large (European size 44/45).

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Living in Boulder, I'm expecting them to take over out here. Residents often look like they're fresh from the yoga studio, about to hit the trail, or training for a marathon. These shoes look like something climbers might throw on after a full day at the cliffs, and I wonder if they could work for triathletes given how they wrap to fit.

As much as I appreciate the clever design, they're not my style. My initial response was, oh hey, pretty diapers for your feet. However, my colleague Glenn McDonald's reaction was way more enthusiastic. "I would absolutely buy those shoes," he told me. "No lacing has been a priority for me since third grade."

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