There’s a new religion brewing in the athletic milieu that requisites fitting foot condoms around the phalanges. You know what I’m talking about: the Five Fingers phenomenon. Not dissimilar to the once popular Crocs, Vibram banks on being different as a means of selling shoes. What’s different about Five Fingers is nothing entirely new, in fact, it dates back to thousands of years ago: perambulating barefoot. While it makes sense to use your natural foot articulation to cushion the blow from today’s hard surfaces, Vibram may have taken it a bit too far with this year’s Five Fingers, with what they are calling “Casual Shoes”.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing better than running/weight lifting in Five Fingers, but frankly the style is daft. Tony Post, the company’s CEO says, “Our new casual footwear introductions [offer] dedicated consumers more alternatives for all aspects of their daily lives.” Their customers can now have winter boots, club shoes and tennis shoes. Next year, I hope they don’t come out with the business shoe.
The TrekLS is $140 and is made with kangaroo leather, complete with shoe laces and a loop, swoop and pull. They look really good, right up ’til about the toes.
Next they have the Bormio: an ankle-high, black zip-up boot also made of kangaroo, priced at $160.
Women get their own winter boot (pictured above), or “cold-weather lifestyle boot.” It runs all the way up the calf and has a thicker midsole for cushioning and warmth. Not sure if the 5.5mm midsole detracts from the original minimalistic goals.
Last but not least, there is the $100 Speed model. It looks like a classic running shoe, including colored mesh in white, black or blue.
It’s not like these can’t catch on, we’ve seen worse in the past. It’s just that I think the company has gone beyond their original goal of healthy excercise and into the realm of “let’s make profits.” Hopefully, it doesn’t compromise the original mission. And, it just might if sorority girls begin to trade in their UGGs for these uglies.