With no traditional advertising to date, Vibram FiveFingers has grown from about 10,000 pairs sold in 2006 to 1.5 million pairs of shoes sold in the past year. (The original design introduced four years ago has since been tailored for sports ranging from yoga to kayaking.) Vibram USA President-CEO Tony Post projects that the numbers will double in 2011. Not bad for the funniest looking model since the Earth Shoe.
Long before the torrent of barefoot runners, Post stumbled onto the idea for the Vibram toe-glove. A longtime runner, he was training for a marathon in 2005 when he injured his knee and had to have surgery. After doctors recommended he stop running, Post decided to try out a prototype "barefoot" shoe developed by Robert Fliri and Marco Bramani (Vibram founder Vitale Bramani's grandson). The shoe wasn't created for sport, but after Mr. Post found himself running seven miles in them with no knee pain, he knew he was onto something.
Have a look at the company's site YouAreTheTechnology.com for some cool stuff about how the body naturally runs.