Call it an international effort: Japanese footwear designer Masaya Hashimoto partnered with Italian shoe maker Vibram – famous for their FiveFingers minimalist athletic footwear – to create minimalist footwear with an innovative and anatomical sole that literally wraps the foot in place.

Integrating the traditional art of cloth wrapping technique of Furoshiki – still used in Japan today for transporting goods – the Vibram of the same name offers a design with a minimalist “wrapping sole” feature which hugs the feet without laces. Designed for all varieties of activity, but particularly adept at preventing slippage thanks to its grippy compound sole, the Vibram WaveGrip material is less dense and 10% lighter than a typical rubber material bottom.

Aesthetically, the shoes look like the offspring of a Nike Free footwear through the filter of H.R. Giger, an aggressive overlay of Wavegrip material and stretchy fabric covering the foot without the need for socks. We’ll have to wait until we can get a pair of our own to report back whether these feel as weird – yet enticing – as they look.

Text by Gregory Han @ Design Milk