Split toe shoes just might be to 2012 what Velcro sneakers were to 1983.
If you own a pair of split toe shoes, you know that you will turn some heads. This footwear is anything but average. A split toe shoe, well, splits your toes. Some have just one split - between the big toe and the four small ones; others have five individual splits, hugging your foot like a glove.
Split toe shoes, like Vibram's FiveFingers running sneakers, are most popular amongst athletes. FiveFingers sneakers are designed for optimal free running and cover the foot like a glove. The $90 shoe allows runners to feel the freedom of running barefoot without any damage to the feet, as each toe is wrapped. When Vibram first developed the shoe, the Italian company was targeting sailors, yogis and kayakers.
Howver, the shoe has gained popularity outside sporting arenas. It has been seen on the feet of Hollywood stars like Scarlett Johansson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Hudson, according to The Daily Mail.
Some have even worn it on (gasp!) the red carpet. Actress Shailene Woodley just attended a 2012 Golden Globes after-party wearing the split toe shoes on the Warner Bros./InStyle red carpet.
Afterwards, critics took to Twitter to critique Shailene Woodley's fashion choice. Fashion Disasters: Shailene Woodley Wore Those Creepy 'Five Fingers' Shoes To The Golden Globes After ... tweeted @Beauty_ndmakeup. Others were happy with her bold choice. Omg. I am now a #shailenewoodley fan for wearing #vibrams at the golden globes after party wrote another user.
Brands other than Vibram have come out with split toe shoes, which they dub barefoot shoes. New Balance, Merrell and Fila all have the split toe shoes. Merrell even claims its will strengthen, realign and stimulate your feet.
Mr. Christian Louboutin even dabbled with the split-toe look with his Lion Paw heel. The red-soled master had Hollywood fashionistas from Blake Lively to Sarah Jessica Parker clamoring for a pair from his Fall/Winter 2011 collection. Though this shoe clearly mimics an animal appendage, it is similar to the split toe shoe look (for the haute couture crowd) of individual fingers.
Of course animal paw slippers have been very popular recently. The oversize, fluffy footers look adorable on young children; but some adults have taken a liking to them as well. Trendsetters in the most fashion-forward city in the world, Tokyo, have been seen wearing these animals paws on the street. Fierce.
Other split toe shoes on the market are for more specialized use. One such brand is the Ninja High Top Tabi Boots (Amazon, $32.99-$49.99) are worn during sparring matches.
Will New York Fashion Week's Fall 2012 runways have models dressed in split toe shoes? We will have to wait and see. Do you like the split toe shoe trend?