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Vibram Fivefingers

Vibram Fivefingers

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A new kind of shoe is keeping the staff of a local store on their toes.

Vibram FiveFingers shoes, which are athletic footwear with toe slots, are available at Appalachian Outdoors, 123 S.

Allen St.The webbed shoes have been selling fast, requiring frequent restocking.

Dipak Sahoo, sales associate at Appalachian Outdoors, said that in about three months, the store has sold more than 200 pairs of the shoes.

Jen-Watts Matisse, buyer for the store, said that for most shoes, 10 to 20 pairs are ordered when restocking, but for FiveFingers, they have had to order 50 for each restock."We couldn't have predicted the volume of shoes we'd need for the season," Matisse said.Matisse said the store was skeptical about investing in the shoes at first, which range in price from about $75 to $85, and waited to buy its first shipment.

She added that customers were skeptical too, but curiosity about the shoes brought customers in, asking if they had them yet.A customer from Lebanon even took a picture of his foot in the shoe, e-mailed it to his family back in Lebanon and proceeded to purchase eight pairs for them the next day, he said."I think they're fantastic," Sahoo said.

"When we first got them, I'd never be able to tell you that we'd sell that much.

Bottom line, they're not like any other shoe," Sahoo added that they restock the item weekly.Matisse said that after attending Grassroots Early Show, an expo for privately-owned outdoor-product retailers, it was apparent that FiveFingers was selling well across the country.What started out as two styles of shoes has become 14 different colors and styles, Sahoo said.

"That shows how much of a demand we have, through both the Web and in the store," Sahoo said.

The shoes are available in four builds-- Classic, Sprint, KSO (Keep Stuff Out) and Flow -- all weighing less than six ounces.

Each one lends itself to different outdoor activities.Sahoo said that the shoes are used for a wide array of activities, including kayaking, canoeing, running, yoga, fishing, backpacking, surfing and more.

While many people consider the FiveFingers watershoes, they are actually multi-purpose, Sahoo said, adding that a lot of people have bought them for barefoot running."People run barefoot to improve muscle mass and improve stride, but the con is having no support.

Your feet get beat up," he said.

"FiveFingers make you feelbarefoot, so when you race with a regular shoe, you'll have an advantage."Steven Balucha (junior-kinesiology), said he is considering buying the shoes, but holding off for now.

"I was running with someone who mentioned that there are shoes like this, which are supposed to improve your technique and form.

I took a look, and they're cool.

I really like them," he said.Balucha said that up until a few weeks ago, he wasn't aware of barefoot running.

But before he makes the investment in the shoes, he said he wants to do some more independent research."I really like the whole idea and the science behind it.

I'm thinking it over.

I didn't write them off yet," he said.Sierra Basil, 20, of Huntington County, ordered the shoes for her husband from the store because it was sold out of the style he wanted.

"He likes how the toes go through.

They're supposed to be nice, comfortable shoes," she said.

"He kayaks a lot, and he said they're good rock climbing shoes."
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