Before we had bags in Japan, we used furoshiki — elegant cloths that come in various colors and decorative patterns that can be used to wrap and carry various items. While you don’t really see them in daily use now, furoshiki are quite useful in their own way, as they can be folded and tied in different ways and be used to wrap items of varying shapes and sizes, in addition to being eco-friendly.

But it turns out that the traditional cloths have recently served as the inspiration for a completely new and unexpected product — Furoshiki Shoes that wrap around your feet!

Created by Japanese designer Masaya Hashimoto, the Furoshiki Shoes were released earlier this year from Italian footwear company Vibram, known for their FiveFingers line of shoes that have a “barefoot” look and feel. As the name suggests, the Furoshiki Shoes are designed to be wrapped around the feet, much like you would wrap an item with a furoshiki cloth.

▼ This is an example of what a furoshiki looks like:

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▼ The Furoshiki Shoes can be worn in three simple steps, as demonstrated in these pictures:

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As you can see, the Furoshiki Shoes have a highly unique design, with no shoelaces but a velcro patch at the heel to keep your feet snuggly wrapped up, regardless of your foot type and shape. Vibram is calling it the first ever “wrapping sole“.

▼ The shoes come in a variety of colors, making them a fashion statement as well

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▼ And here’s Vibram’s promotional video of the shoes:

The Furoshiki Shoes are available in Japan from Vibram’s Japanese online shopping site for 17,064 yen (US$140). Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find them for sale on Vibram’s other European and American online sites, but as they do have an introduction on the shoes on their European site,  you may want to check on the availability of the shoes with Vibram stores nearby  if you’re interested. 

Vibram will also be setting up a temporary pop-up store from August 26-30 at the Snack Cafe Kaho in Harajuku, if you’re going to be in the Tokyo area.

Well, we think the shoes certainly look light, and based on their design, they definitely don’t seem like they’ll pinch either. In this case, it appears modern footwear technology combined extremely well with a bit of Japanese tradition. Plus, the shoes look like a lot of fun, which in our opinion counts for a great deal. Just because you want comfortable shoes, you shouldn’t have to give up adding a bit of color and style to your footwear after all, right?

Source: Furoshiki Shoes website via Japaaan Magazine
Photos: Furoshiki Shoes website