People have toes for a reason: Grip. Whenever someone climbs, their feet, by nature, are supposed to act like a second set of hands. Unfortunately, most boots undermine this primal advantage by covering both toes and the contours of an individual’s feet with soles that cannot be flexed. Vibram Fivefingers, however, have revolutionized both the climbing and sports footwear industries by developing a line of shoes that can best be described as gloves for feet.
Because the extremely flexible lines of Vibram Fivefingers are designed to allow toes to retain the independent motion they have when not in regular shoes, they allow for climbers to use the natural grasping and traction abilities feet have when repelling, scrambling, or clawing their way across vertical or sharply uneven terrain. Beyond allowing for a sudden boost in climbing ability and versatility, these shoes also enhance the safety factor involved in scaling a mountain or sheer cliff because they enable climbers to shift their weight on to tactile and responsive feet.
This commitment to providing adaptive athletic gear has been a hallmark of Vibram products since the company began manufacturing mountaineering boots in 1935. It is this versatility that has also made their line of Fivefinger shoes a common sight among non-climbers, as well. Because they allow for a degree of tactile feedback that is noticeably superior to anything else on the market, their shoes have become the footwear of choice for many athletes, joggers, and individuals who work in environments with uneven surfaces. It’s not uncommon, even, to hear runners wearing Fivefingers remark that they feel like they’re not wearing shoes at all.
Design isn’t the only revolutionary aspect of Vibram shoes, however, as their line is also known for embracing cutting edge materials and manufacturing methods. These materials include, but are not limited to, Dri-Lex coverings, Coconut Active Carbon, and abrasion-resistant Stretch Polyamide. When combined in form-fitting designs, these materials help to keep things like rocks, dirt, and wood chips outside of the shoe while ensuring that the feet within stay dry and cool. These features, in particular, have made Vibram Fivefingers the footwear of choice for a multitude of outdoor adventurers, including kayakers, fishermen, surfers, photographers, and a variety of other individuals who choose to walk away from the beaten path.