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Vibram Heads To China

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Mar. 1, 2011
  • Updated Mar. 1, 2011 at 10:21 AM UTC

The company’s Five Fingers brand now accounts for 30% of its global sales.

Look out China: minimalist running is heading your way. Vibram, the Italian shoe company made famous for its Five Fingers brand of shoe, has just made a foothold in the world’s largest emerging country. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, the company has invested $20 million in a 12,000 square-meter building in Huadu, China.

At the complex, called the Vibram Technological Center, prototype Five Fingers (VFFs) are tested. The actual VFFs are manufactured elsewhere in China.

“It’s a Disney World for shoes,” says sales and marketing director Tom Mendl about the new testing facility.

Five Fingers now account for 30% of the company’s global sales. Over 2.5 million pairs were sold last year.

One Chinese customer, Joseph Ng, a designer and social entrepreneur in Hong Kong, really enjoys his Five Fingers. After a month training in them, he said he was “really blown away by the way my body automatically changed the way I was striking the ground.”

For More: The Wall Street Journal

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at Competitor.com and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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