No laces, no tongue, a shearling wool interior, and an innovative wrap-on design… the Winter Furoshiki footwear from Vibram stands out as perhaps the most innovative “boots” of the year.
As the cold-weather cousin of the Furoshiki shoes (see “Wrap On Minimalist Furoshiki Footwear”) these leg-hugging kicks appear to be the lovechild of cozy house slippers and polar mukluks.
Vibram Winter Furoshiki Review
The fit is certifiably luxurious — a thick ply of fuzzy wool ensconces the foot and lower leg. Swaths of synthetic leather wrap snugly on, cinching to tabs of Velcro to close feet off from the cold.
We got a pair of Winter Furoshiki boots to review. Made for walking in snow, après-ski, and as an alternative to booties you might haul on a Colorado hut tour, the Vibrams are not a technical design.
They are indeed the opposite, a wear-anyplace cold weather option or a casual wintertime alternative to bulky boots.
Like the warm-weather Furoshikis, the winter versions were modeled after the Japanese art form of furoshiki, which is an old craft that includes packaging up items by thoughtfully (and often beautifully) wrapping them in silk or other fabrics.
To wear the Vibram boots you scoot your foot into a slippers-like toe piece. The shearling wool interior splays open. Grab a swath and fold, wrap, and secure to the Velcro tab near the heel.
On the foot, the fit is snug and cozy. The soles, made of Vibram’s EcoStep rubber compound, are flexible and flat. There is grip from a contoured outsole but no pronounced lugs. Traction is minimal on steep snow, as the footwear was not made to replace technical boots or winterized trail-running shoes.
New Kind Of Winter Boot
Though not waterproof the upper material is made to be wearable in winter weather outdoors. The shearling wool adds enough insulation for temps below freezing, including into the snow.
I wore the size XL Winter Furoshikis, which fit men’s feet of around size 11 – 13. At about 13 ounces a foot, the boots are light and nimble.
The Winter Furoshikis come to market this month for $120 (mid cut) and $135 (high cut). They are unisex footwear and made in sizes from XS – XL.
Where To Buy: Winter Furoshikis
Anyone registered to receive email from Vibram USA will get a link by November 20th (one week in advance of Black Friday weekend sales) to view info and have the option to purchase the Winter Furoshikis. (Interested readers can register here.)
The boots will be available to the public on us.vibram.com and hanigs.com at 8pm on Thanksgiving night (11/26/15), just in time for lounging around a fire or taking an early winter walk, feet wrapped in warmth as you trek into the snow.