As the anti-shoe movement continues to gain steam, there’s been a corresponding flood of minimalist, barely-there footwear hitting the market lately. Those dorky Vibram toe shoes are everywhere these days, Nike’s new running shoes weigh practically nothing anymore, and there are dozens of other brands with their own take on the idea.
The latest entry into this burgeoning category is FYF — a unique new kind of footwear from Swiss Barefoot Company. Rather than lightweight shoes, FYF socks (short for Free Your Feet) are more like space-age wool socks with toughened soles. You know those cut-proof gloves that have stretchy sock-like material on the back, but texturized rubber dots on the palm? FYFs are almost the exactly same thing, but made for your feet instead of your hands.
Just like those aforementioned cut-proof gloves, FYFs are made from a specially-engineered type of wool that makes them much tougher than your average sock. The fibers of the sock are spun with a material called Dyneema (which you’ve likely used before whether or not you were aware of it). In addition to boasting a higher tensile strength than braided steel, it’s also abrasion-resistant, hydrophobic, flexible, and incredibly lightweight. This makes it ideal for use on your feet, as it can bend and flex like a sock, but still provide protection from things like sticks, thorns, and sharp rocks.
This isn’t the first sock that Swiss Barefoot company has made, either. FYFs are actually an evolution of the Swiss Protection Sock — the company’s inaugural product, made from a blend of Kevlar, polyester, and laminated PVC soles. The new models improve on this original idea with the addition of Dyneema, which has properties that are better suited for footwear applications.