‘Naked’ feel is in works for shoes
December 30, 2007 / ChicagoTribune.com—
…James Stoxen, a chiropractic physician at Team Doctors Treatment and Training Center in Chicago…. is working with Converse Footwear Co. in Japan to develop a shoe that allows the feet to flex. The company plans to launch it in Japan next spring. We may never see it here, but who knows how much that “naked” feel could catch on?…more...
Nike has given up promoting their popular niche-market “Air Rift” toe shoes and companies like Converse see an opportunity to the void. There’s even an underground market for Air Rifts on e-Bay. In addition, Vibram Corporation is selling their “FiveFingers” footwear (see right) for those who want to going barefoot with some protection and grip.
It’s no wonder that Converse is going to launch their ‘Naked’ shoes product in Japan where there is PRIOR ART for …
“Jikatabi“—often referred to as ‘Ninja Shoes’— the type worn by the ninja of long ago, and are still used today by Japanese workers who need more agility, safety and grip than regular construction boots. Japanese prefer Jikatabi [地下足袋] for their split toes and softness of their soles that gives tactile contact with the ground, as well as their gripping ability that allows workman to use their feet more agilely than rigid-soled shoes allow.
For example, Japanese iron workers who traverse steel girders on construction sites like to know what is under their feet, and Japanese craftsmen such as carpenters and gardeners additionally use their feet as if they were an extra pair of hands to hold objects in place.
(Jikatabi are available via our sponsor J-List.com.)