New shoes are toe-tally natural

You look down and see a gym shoe, maybe a foot – it’s toe shoes. The new footwear that is becoming popular amongst fitness- and outdoor-lovers.

Otherwise known as “FiveFingers,” toe shoes were created by Vibram. When founder Vitale Bramani invented the first rubber soles for mountaineering boots in 1935, it was the beginning of a footwear revolution.

75 years later, Vibram manufactures more than 34 million soles annually for more than 1,000 premium footwear brands worldwide.
In 2001, Vibram opened its first commercial headquarters in the U.S. in Concord, Mass. Since 2005, Vibram USA has been responsible for the North American distribution of FiveFingers.

FiveFingers is designed to give a more natural experience while running, hiking, and fitness activities, such as water sports.

Ben Baxter, a graduate student at Northern Kentucky University, has done research on FiveFingers and thought that it was a different and interesting product.

“I grew up down by the river in New Richmond, so in researching toe shoes, I found that they would come in handy for me when I go fishing and boating,” he said.

Baxter said that he would use water shoes when fishing and boating, but that they always ended up giving him blisters.
Baxter said that at first he was reluctant to buy the shoes; but when he put them on for the first time, he was in disbelief of their quality. “These shoes are awesome,” he said.

Made with weather-resistant material, the sole of FiveFingers is developed from a compound that is ideal for high performance and enhances grip on both wet and dry surfaces. The shoe’s elasticity stretches to follow the shape of your foot and secures it in place.

Tom Sweeney, who sells FiveFingers at Benchmark Outfitters in Blue Ash, Ky., said people buy them mainly for their health benefits.

“FiveFingers has no arch support, so it gets the foot back to normal,” he said. “It also strengthens the core of your body.” He also added that, although FiveFingers is developed for outdoor use, some people buy them just for their novelty.

Sweeney said that it’s unbelievable how high in-demand FiveFingers are and that the product’s popularity continues to increase.

FiveFingers has become the latest fitness craze, especially in the outdoor world –but the shoe is slowly gaining interest on campus.