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Toe-shoes are divisive, to begin with, but Japanese label Midorikawa’s anatomical take on the Vibram silhouette is sure to polarize runners even further.
The 2021 LVHM Prize-shortlisted brand has won legions of fans with its eye-catching contemporary garments composed from “unfashionable apparel” and inspired by bygone eras. Now, designer Tadu Midorikawa is leaning further into the unconventional, bringing a nightmarish touch to the five-toe shoe.
Teaming up with fellow Japanese brand, Suicoke, Midorikawa has crafted the offending shoe in three color schemes — Ivory, Snow, and Mocha, with creamy and red nail polish to boot. The shoe combines the Suicoke aesthetic with Vibram’s technology. And while arguable offering a versatile minimalist footwear solution if you’re that way inclined, it’s hard to get past the elephant in the room. It’s going to look pretty odd on foot.
Sure, individual toe pockets for flexibility might replicate the barefoot experience, but Midorikawa takes us too deep into the uncanny valley. We can handle a bit of foot via a transparent upper, but making the toe the visual focus has rarely faired well. Unless you’re really passionate about achieving natural foot motion on your run.
Love it or hate it, Vibram’s most controversial toe-shoe will arrive at end of this summer, as part of Midorikawa’s Fall/Winter 2021 collection. That’s plenty of time to figure out what to wear it with.