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Vibram Fivefingers

Filed under: Innovations,Products,Sports — Tags: , , , , — Positronic Dave @ 11:54 pm August 19, 2010

Vibram FiveFingers KSO

Vibram Fivefingers” is neither a porn name, nor the Dick Tracy villain the name would suggest (if you don’t get the “Dick Tracy” reference… google it) but it is a great object lesson in knowing how and when to follow-through on a good idea, before greedy people steal your design out from under your genius fingers.

Let’s not much about here: the Vibram Fivefingers is one ugly shoe. Really ugly… like it should’ve been just a horrifying mistake, but instead its an actual innovative design for ergonomic running shoes. Looking like beefed-up (and heavily rubber-soled) pair of toe-socks, the Vibram Five-fingers was praised in both popular books and actual scientific studies. Throw is some tributes and testimonials from professional athletes and soon the demand for your product far outstrips your ability to supply it.

This is the predicament of the Italian company Vibram. Known for almost 100 years for their expensive, but top-of-the-line hiking boots. Then a few years ago one of their designers, having heard of the benefits of barefoot running, came up with the idea for the Vibram Fivefingers “shoe.” As I said before, it looks more like toe-socks with rubber soles, but these barefoot running shoes have the running sports world all a-tither over it.

While Vibram tries to keep up with other companies (like the Nike Free, as well as designs by New Balance and others) competing designs as they try to expand their factories making the Vibram Fiverfingers shoe, the worst damage is being done by counterfeiters