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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > VIBRAM Furoshiki shoes > Test Report by Gail StaisilVibram
Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan
February 1, 2019
Name: Gail Staisil
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 160 lb (73 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com
For the last 20 years, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 18 lb (8 kg). I am primarily a Tarptent camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.
Initial Impressions and Product Description
The Vibram Furoshiki Shoes arrived in the requested size of 43 EU (9.95 US) and the color of black. I assume the shoes I received are the Men's version as the Women's version are only available up to 42 EU (10-10.5 US). I ordinarily wear a Women's size 43 (11 US). There is no visible difference that I can tell between the two versions in the color of black. The shoes were folded and encased in a small nylon drawstring bag for storage. There is a key chain attached to the bag with the word "Vibram" on it. Two small tags noted that the fabrics were made in Italy, and that the product had extra comfort, breathability, were wrinkle free and easy care. No imperfections were found on the product.
The Furoshiki are unlike anything I have ever worn on my feet in the past. They kind of remind me of a ballet slipper with more features. The top of the minimalist shoe is made of stretch nylon and has an adjustable fit via two nylon fabric wraps that fasten with hook-and-loop closures to either side. The wraps cross the foot twice in opposite directions in a diagonal pattern. Furoshiki refers to a Japanese folding technique and are the shoes' namesake.
The soles of the Furoshiki Shoes are made out of Vibram and appear to have nice traction or tread. The sole does wrap up on the sides of each shoe especially on the toe and heel areas. The sole heel wrap actually forms the shape of the heel.
The inside of the shoes feature a cushioned non-removable footbed. It has a neat design pattern on it.
To wear the shoes, I first slipped each foot into the toe area and then placed my heels on the footbeds. At this point I wrapped and closed one side and then repeated with the other on each shoe. This closure can be adjusted for comfort and support. As aforementioned I assume that I am testing the Men's version and I have no trouble with fit (the manufacturer does note that a Men's and Women's shoe in the same European size would have a slight difference in length and width). In my opinion, with the adjustments on the shoes being flexible they can fit a variety of foot shapes and widths.
The shoes have a 6-weeks return policy with no questions asked. There is also a 90-day return policy for new or defective footwear.
Care instructions are located on the website. The Furoshikis should be hand or machine washed (gentle cycle) only in cold water with detergent. They should be air dried. The manufacturer warns to never use hot water or dryer machines as it will likely result in the "demise" of the shoes. If the shoes are worn in a pool or ocean; they should be rinsed off. No worries there!
The Vibram Furoshiki Shoes appear to be a nice comfortable minimalist pair of shoes that are easy to place on and off my feet. The small storage bag makes them very packable.
Thanks to Vibram Corporation and BackpackGearTest.org for this opportunity to test the Furoshiki Shoes. My field report will be available in about two months.
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