Monday, July 25, 2011

Footgloves as video game fantasy?

Do you know what I mean when I write "footgloves"? I mean those newfangled toe shoes -- like form-fitting rubber socks -- made by Vibram. Some disoriented marketing guy branded them "FiveFingers."

They've become pretty popular in Berkeley. The manufacturer's theory of the shoes' value sounds pretty convincing:

Our revolutionary design makes feet healthier by allowing them to move more naturally and freely. The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised.

People swear by this whatever-you-call-it footwear, especially runners if one judges from reviews like the ones on Amazon. Some find FiveFingers strange-looking, which I suppose they are in relation to the sorts of shoes one is used to seeing. I can't say I'm tempted to try them, they don't fit my usual style ... but it takes all kinds, right?

As I dressed after a swim at the YMCA the other day, a young guy next to me was donning a pair before heading upstairs to his workout. The shoes turned him into an oddly multi-colored lizard below the cuffs of his sweatpants, and it struck me that there's something kind of cartoonish about the things. Especially the brightly colored ones. I think the guy in the gym was wearing the KomodoSport model.

It was then that I realized I'd mostly seen men wearing these shoes in the "wild." I've seen a few rubber-skinned women too, but around Berkeley it's mostly the guys who go for these things. Then the thought crossed my mind that it's also mostly guys who play screen-based games (or at least I imagine that's true).

So, one thought leading to another, I wondered: beneath the health and comfort claims, is the allure of Vibram FiveFingers shoes especially strong for those who might be tempted to fantasize themselves as video game characters?

Conceivable? Far-fetched? What do you think?

Thanks to drazz for the image shared on Flickr.

For the record: There's nothing that really needed to be blogged about today other than the U.S. debt ceiling fiasco playing out in D.C. But the world won't miss me if I sit out this meltdown, at least this week. For prior musings on the topic, see my 7 July post, Economic outrage. Hope you enjoyed the non sequiter....or, as Freud might have diagnosed it, the displacement of focus.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I'm neither a runner nor a video gamer, nor a guy, but I was tempted to try them *despite* their appearance. I walk alot and would really be happier without any shoes at all, but that isn't possible most of the year where I am. I was optimistic that these might be a good compromise. I walked around the store for awhile in them, but found them really more odd feeling than comfortable. I think for most women they would need to be amazingly comfortable to override the weirdness of the look.